Turning on real-life 1990s trans icon Cristina Ortiz, “Veneno” established Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo as leading LGBTQ directors in Spain.
In “La Mesías,” they bring their hallmark visceral sense of diversity to each and every scene and episode, which lends them their large distinction.
“We’re not very conscious of it, but you can see diversity in how each character reacts differently to trauma, as well as the genre mix and diversity of settings. It’s a bit like how we are; we like a lot of things and modes,” says Calvo.
In the series, protagonist Enric (Roger Casamajor) is eviscerated emotionally by his childhood trauma which involves his fanatically religious mother. In contrast Sister Irene (Macarena García) tries to make a new life. Enric escapes but is triggered into action when he sees his siblings on TV performing as a Christian music group.
Episode 1 blends psychodrama and sci-fi, while Episode 2 has procedural elements; Episode 3 works like a real-life musical and family drama, and “Episode 6 is almost a family-theater drama, set in one house and where text is paramount,” says Calvo.
Genres mix with others such as horror tropes – the isolated house, lashed by rain, inhabited by a monstrous mother lying upstairs – meld with a thriller undertow.
“That’s what life is like,” Calvo said at September’s San Sebastian Film Festival, where the series premiered. “I don’t like something which is just funny, or just dramatic, or just horrifying.”
“We are two [people] and very eclectic, having lots of different references, and we love mixing genres and surprising [audiences],” Ambrossi added.
The series’ soundtrack runs the gamut from classical music to pop hits like “Bette Davis Eyes” to Rocío Durcal’s apocalypse-set love song “Cuando llegue el fin del mundo” to the sisters’ memorably clunky vid clip of Christian pop rap, created by Spanish underground duo Carlos Ballesteros and Genís Segarra. Rosalía producer Raül Refree composed the series’ original soundtrack
Yet, “though it has so many influences, genres and tones, ‘La Mesías’ has its own strong personality, a cohesion, a coherence,” Calvo observes.