Can two girls from the burbs, Hache and Belén, conquer Madrid’s most chic neighborhood and become an integral part of its residents? Based on the culture clash between hipsters and White trash, this irreverent comedy is a call to friendship between women while exploring the difficulties of building an identity of their own in the days of Instagram
HBO Spain has just released “Por H o por B”, a series about two friends from Parla who years after a falling out and losing contact with each other, recover the relationship in Madrid’s most modern neighborhood: Malasaña. Between bearded men, surprising dyes, tattoos, and yoga with goats, Hache and Belén will discover the diffuse limits of posture in a comedy where reality always surpasses fiction.
Manuela Burló Moreno, creator, director, and screenwriter of “Por H o por B”, an expansion of her sixth and successful short film, “Pipas”. “In 2013 something magical happens with the short film, which no one foresees, and it went viral, swept the board at the Notodofilmfest, and we were even nominated for a Goya… It had such a long run at festivals that I spent two years contemplating the idea of getting to know these two characters better”, says the director about those two suburban girls who, at the time remained nameless.
“At that time I made two feature films”, –“Cómo sobrevivir a una despedida” and “Rumbos” –,“ but when in 2015 one of the producers, Jorge Pezzi, offered me the chance to create a series about girls, I thought this is divine intervention”, she adds with a laugh. “From there I write the pilot episode, a bible and a dossier, and we start peddling our wares. We offered it to HBO and they decided to take a chance on it”, says Burló Moreno, while assuring that the resonance between the series title and the platform is a complete coincidence.
Marta Martín plays the voluptuous brunette Hache, and Saida Benzal takes on the role of the very statuesque Belén thus get into the skins of these “characters”, two brave women, proud and who don’t mince their words, ready to conquer a hostile territory where appearances are everything. “Nothing is what it seems on social networks. That look is in the series, the façade that everyone shows, how in reality I’m up to my neck in crap but I post that I’m super happy ”, Martín points out in this regard.
“The series is multi-layered. The main thing is clearly that is the iron-clad friendship between the two, but it also deals with many situations that any young person can identify with: social acceptance, belonging, the prejudices of others about your clothing or the place where you come from, when someone rejects their own origins in an effort to integrate”, continues Benzal.
The chemistry between Martín and Benzal and their overwhelming naturalness in the face of the most bizarre situations is, in the opinion of the three, the result of the painstaking screenwriting work by Burló Moreno, her direction and an intense ability to concentrate on the part of the actresses. Otherwise, it is difficult to believe that an erotic scene featuring Ernesto Sevilla wearing a horse mask, a contest to find the only shaved man in the neighborhood, or a fight between pets, Belén being one of them in the guise of a dancing cow, with dramatic results.
Speaking of the friendship between women, and following the path of HBO references such as “Girls” or “Big Little Lies”, Burló Moreno elaborates on the importance she assigns this issue saying: “There is still the false myth that among women there are always quarrels, piques, envies, competitiveness, that there is no authentic relationship of friendship as in the case of men and I refuse to believe that “.
She being the woman who monopolizes the credits and two of the protagonists of her series, it is worth asking if in these times of #MeToo the feminine and feminist representation is a creative concern. “This was never my intention, but I do believe that we must give more visibility to the universe of women in many areas,” says Burló Moreno in this regard.
“Por H o por B” is produced by Globomedia (The Mediapro Studio) and Lacoproductora for HBO Europe in Spain. The cast is completed by Brays Efe, Itziar Castro, Javier Bódalo and Fernando Albizu, among others.