The Alava director, who debuted with ‘Errementari’, has been filming ‘Irati’, a mythological adventure film starring Itziar Ituño and Eneko Sagardoy, in the Navarrese Pyrenees.
Up to three ‘euskalkis’ (dialects) of Euskera were heard in ‘Errementari’ (The blacksmith and the devil), Paul Urkijo’s debut feature (Vitoria, 1984) released in cinemas three years ago. Translation of a classic tale of Basque folklore, ‘Patxi Errementeria’, compiled by Aita Barandiaran, Carlists, demons and a blacksmith capable of striking the hot iron in the forge with his hand were mixed in a fable that was sponsored by one of its producers , Álex de la Iglesia. The film received rave reviews and drew more than 33,000 moviegoers to theaters. Now, in his second feature film that starts filming this Friday, Urkijo returns to the subject that fascinates him the most: Basque mythology.
‘Irati’ has uncovered its letters at the San Sebastian Festival. Eneko Sagardoy, who was already in ‘Errementari’ and Itziar Ituño, the very popular Lisbon from ‘La casa de papel’, the most watched Spanish series in the world, star in this new film by the Alava filmmaker, who has been involved in choreographies in recent days of swords before giving the first clapperboard strike in the Ata Valley, a thousand meters above sea level in the Sierra de Aralar. ‘Irati’ is, again, a genre film that has its roots in mythology and fantasy. Set in the 8th century, it narrates the attempts of a group of Christian and Muslim warriors who enter the hidden forests of the pagan Basque Pyrenees to try to recover the mythical treasure of Charlemagne. This is in a deep cave where, according to the locals, inhabits the ancient goddess of those lands, a powerful and terrible fire deity called Mari.
Alava director Paul Urkjo.
The group of warriors is led by a young Christian nobleman (Eneko Sagardoy), whose mission is to find the body of his father, who was buried without respecting Christian rites. They are guided by an enigmatic young woman from the area called Irati (Edurne Azkarate), who takes them into a dark and ancient mythological world governed by a saying in Basque: “Izena duen guztia omen da”, everything that has a name exists. As for the character of Itziar Ituño, the director is reluctant to tell anything. The cast also includes Ramón Agirre and Patxi Bisquert.
“‘Irati’ is an adventure film with fantastic elements that was born from my fascination with Basque mythology,” says the director. «It takes place in the High Middle Ages, with Christianity and Islam at odds, and I have taken into account the medieval imagery of the Battle of Roncesvalles. It is a time when there are still traces of paganism. The film will be shot over eight weeks in different locations in the Navarrese and Huesca Pyrenees, the Irati Forest, Opakua, a few caves in Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa and Loarre Castle, the setting for Ridley Scott’s ‘The Kingdom of the Skies’. That is one of the films that Urkijo has taken into account for ‘Irati’, in addition to titles such as’ Braveheart ‘,’ The Vikings’, ‘The Lord of War’, ‘Robin and Marian’, The name of the rose ‘ , ‘Warrior number 13’, ‘Excalibur’, ‘Pan’s labyrinth’ …