Estación de Chamartín (1981) - full transcript

A former party member of the extreme left goes to the Madrid rail station with the intention of taking revenge from a friend who betrayed him.



based on an idea by

the characters are represented
by photos of

narrator's voice

photos of the station by

literary script

director of photography

camera assistant

production assistant


sound technician

film laboratory


editing assistant

directed by

Chamartin Station
Long distance - Commuter Train

Perhaps they were hard times.
I don't know.

In any case, now after such a long time
they don't seem that hard anymore.

They weren't any easier
or harder than nowadays.

Life is made of dreams,
and we make those dreams.

Now I know that as much
as one wants to force reality,

it obeys its own rules,
not according to our wishes.

But I don't want to
regret a thing.

I don't want to talk
about big losses either.

I just want to admit that some times,
more frequently than we suspect,

we sink in mediocrity out of despair
of the beauty we have dreamt.

Nobody told us,
and we couldn't see it in time,

that illusions must be destroyed

to change the circumstances
that require illusions.

That's why I'm only going to
refer to my personal experience.

To my most intimate story.

How and when
a friendship is born

is something that generally
can only be explained afterwards.

The causes are
much easier to determine,

at least the most evident,
that motivate the end of a friendship.

This is what
I'm determined to do.

To explain why I'm here
at Chamartin Station,

ready to see him
show up to kill him.

The first time I saw him
I didn't like him at all.

Not only he was
late to the meeting,

but he also had a peevish smile
the whole time.

Like he didn't care about
anything we talked there.

The matter we came to
discuss in that gathering,

was one that me and my partners
thought was extremely serious.

That afternoon of
an early September '75's day,

we where there
to coordinate some actions

to avoid the last bloodshed
of the dictatorship.

We dreamt of saving the lives of some
anti-Francoists militants

who were very probably
destined to death sentences.

His attitude bothered me so much,
that I almost asked him

as vehemently as possible
what he was laughing at.

As someone educated by the
Jesuist separation of good and evil,

I've always believed that serious
matters should be treated seriously,

and only take
informal matters lightly.

He remained quiet in his chair
with his mischievous smile

He casually watched the scene
while the others:

representatives of political,
citizen and professional parties

along with others,
independent like me,

had tedious discussions full of casuistry
and many historical interpretations.

Yes, I almost asked him
what the hell he was laughing at.

What was so entertaining about that
twitchy meeting full of bad omens.

But I didn't.

Maybe because deep down
I sympathized with his ironic skepticism

or to avoid looking foolish
in front of my colleagues.

We both kept
attending the meetings.

I watched his attitude,

while he simply
smiled the whole time.

He never talked in
any of the meetings.

He didn't take notes, either.

Then, I lost track
of him for a while.

We couldn't or we didn't know
how to avoid the assassination

of the five people that were the reason
why we met in the first place.

Did he already know that what
we were aiming for was impossible?

I don't know.

But that is what I asked myself when I
heard the news about the executions.

I remembered his smile
and I wondered.

From that moment
I wanted to see him again.

To meet him.

The first elections were held.

Franco had died in bed.

The countdown started for what was going
to led many to disenchantment.

When forgetting served as
a therapy against the rebellion

of the memories of a time when we
still thought things could be different

I had just entered a cafeteria where
I was meeting a director

who was preparing his
first film and could employ me,

when I heard a voice from behind
calling my name.

I turned thinking
it was my director,

but surprisingly it was him
calling me while making a fuss.

He made me come over to a
table he was sharing with a girl.

and despite my complaints
he convinced me to sit.

The director hadn't arrived yet,

and I thought there was nothing
to lose by accepting his invitation.

Like so many other times in my life,
I was doing what I didn't want to do.

He introduced me
to the girl as a friend,

and started enumerating my qualities
as an actor very eloquently.

He'd just seen a film in which
I played a very small role,

and he didn't stop
praising my acting.

While the girl left us briefly, he
asked me if I was still into politics.

I answered him that
not as much anymore.

"I left politics forever."

He said it like the
most absolute truth.

After a long silence he said:
"You know why I called you?"

"I've called you because I need you
to lend me some money."

He saw the surprise and
perplexion in my face and said:

"I've met with that girl,
bought her lunch and realized

I didn't have enough money,
until I saw you there."

I was going to excuse myself
when he interrupted me:

"You wouldn't let me down
just for a couple of bucks, right?"

I took all the money I had in my pocket
and gave it to him.

"Thank you kid,
you saved my life."

He said while patting
me on the back and added:

"Give me your phone,
I'll call you to return it."

What made him work
in politics for a while

is something I will
never know for sure.

Every time I asked him,
he gave me a different answer.

No doubt about it.

I was the actor, but he
was the one who was performing.

The director I was waiting for
came into the cafeteria.

I had to say goodbye.

I did it with
a vague gesture of my hand.

"Don't worry, I'll call you."

He shouted, while I was already
next to my possible director.

He had made
a couple of short films,

but this was the first feature film
he was trying to make.

The plot was about an old
filmmaker on the verge of death,

that was making his last film and
was being blackmailed by some photos,

that showed that he wasn't
the director he pretended to be,

but an old cinephile who had aspired his
whole life to direct without success,

and after discovering his
resemblance to the real director,

killed him in order to
impersonate him.

That's what I can remember.

And I was, or should
have been, the blackmailer.

The young man who discovered
the fake identity of the old cinephile.

My discovery was not only
motivated by my cinephilia,

but because I wanted to obtain
money by any means necessary.

Even through some photos of
doubtful nature that allowed me

to get my full salary and then
some more, from that old director.

The film was never made.

Like many other times,
the production failed.

Finally, not to pay me
back the money I lent him,

but under the pretext of
going for a walk with him,

he kept his word and he phoned.

I went to the appointment with the hope of
recovering my money and to go for a walk.

But while I didn't
recover my money,

we went in the following
days and weeks for many walks.

We went up and down,
without any apparent motive.

We spoke of many things.

We had some drinks.

We met his girlfriend.

The three of us
went to the cinema.

We stayed up late.

We did this day after day,
in a never-ending sequence.

What did he do for a living?

That was something vague
he didn't like to talk about.

He met many people.
He handled lots of money.

He lived in hotels for short periods of
time and he changed cars frequently.

I started to think
he was into shady business.

Drugs, currency trading...

It was his life and he could do
whatever he wanted.

"Sex and money
is all that matters",

he lectured me incessantly.

I nodded not too convinced.

And he patted me on the back
like I was his disciple.

One day he said to me:

"I have to propose you something."

I asked.

"Yes, something.

But you have to promise me you
won't be shocked or put on a number."

"Do you promise?
Say: I promise."

"Alright. I promise."

"I want to commit a robbery.
I need a partner and I want you."

There are some people that it is said
they could even sell ice to the eskimos.

And he was, and
still is, one of those.

He sold me his robbery.

I saw it as a magical
"all or nothing" way

to either solve my problems forever,
or confirm my failure once and for all.

How did the robbery go?
I better not go into much detail.

I will say I didn't have
any problem to play the role

he assigned to me in his plan.

He gave me a gun, repeated
many times what I had to do,

went to the place and
committed the robbery.

That was all.

The problems came afterwards.

In the stampede after the robbery
he took the money.

We agreed to meet the next day
to share the money.

But the time of the meeting came,
and he didn't show up.

I called his girlfriend and
she didn't know a thing.

I went to the hotel he was
staying at and he had already left.

I had seen the same thing
so many times in films

that I never thought
that could happen to me.

And when it did I tried to convince
myself it hadn't actually happened.

That it was just a bad performance for
a film that would never be released.

His girlfriend and I went to live
together and comforted each other.

But it didn't last.

We got separated and
only met from time to time.

We made love and tried to keep
our anger towards him from getting cold.

In bed, we got horny by thinking,

imagining, representing
how we would kill him.

Now I know that all the pleasure
we obtained from those games

and violent physical
and verbal expressions,

we owed that also to him.

Without his memories or his image,
we wouldn't have enjoyed sex as much.

But that wasn't everything.

I don't know how,
but the police...

used me as a scapegoat
and I spent some time in jail.

While I was rotting inside, I
read the newspapers and thought.

I couldn't do a thing.
Just waiting.

And I waited.

And while I was waiting my thirst
for revenge grew bigger and bigger.

I firmly promised myself that

I was going to make him pay for
everything he was putting me through.

my story allowed me

to find a job as
the lead actor in several films.

So, while he acts in real life,
I emulate him in fiction.

That's why I'm here.

Yesterday, when she phoned
to tell me he had called

and said he was
arriving today by train,

I knew my time had come.

Listen: the public address system is
announcing the arrival of his train.

I get up.

I go down the stairs
to the platform.

I see his train arriving.

I hide behind a column and watch
how the passengers come out.

He is one of the last ones
to get out.

Always with that smile and
his naughty childish expression.

If I've ever been certain of something,
now I'm not.

Each time I look at the past,
I see it in a different color.

I find curious that memories
appear to me without any background.

I only see isolated faces
completely unrelated

and sceneries where nothing
has happened and nothing ever will.

But the past never forsakes us.

Some say that being able to forget
is being able to survive.

I think that the worst part
about forgetting

is that sometimes
it includes memory.

But he is there.
Right in front of me.

I want my armed hand to come
out of my pocket.

He hugs me and tells me
how happy he is to meet me.

I thought killing him was going to
be as easy as killing Jack Palance,

Richard Whitman, Robert Mitchum,
Robert DeNiro, Bruno Ganz or any other.

But it hasn't been that way.

He waves goodbye
and I can see him walking away.

That's when a kid
who has recognized me

points his finger at me
and shouts: "Bang, bang!"

I smile at him and
take my hands to my heart,

as if he had actually
mortally wounded me.