“It’s as if when you hit fifteen you’re given a free ticket to hell. Here, take this: that’s the fucking reality. »
These words uttered by Marcos are the opening line in the book that changed my life. And, for those wonders literature sometimes affords us, also the lives of many people who have read it in recent years.
First it was a novel —published by Espasa after being shortlisted for the Nadal Prize—, then a play, then an audiobook —from Planeta Audio— and now, thanks to THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO and MASFICCIÓN production, premieres in a series filled with poetry, truth and adolescent light on ATRESplayer PREMIUM. The fact that a story like this has remained so alive over the years, in so many different formats is something that has long since transcended my own work as an author. Even I am not able to explain how it continues to provoke reactions as passionate and generous as those that come my way via social media. All I do know is that it has become a story with a life of its own, full of references and meaning brought by those who approach it and make it their own.
Marcos, Sandra and Raúl, the three teenage protagonists of La edad de la ira, were born from my experience in the classroom during my years as a teacher. They were my tribute to a generation with much to say – embodied in the students I was fortunate enough to meet and love while I was teaching – a generation that strives to find its voice in the face of prejudice, violence and clichés of a contradictory society that views its youngest members with insufferable paternalism. Marco’s initial cry, charged with the same anger that gives title to this story, was his way of defying all those walls that prevent him from being and expressing himself. Walls not only associated with the homophobia this story reviles, but those of all forms of oppression and exclusion that condemn us to the canons of the norm, repressing who we really are and want to be.
But that anger in the title, as we will discover both in the series and in the novel, is also a trap for those who become familiarized with this story: we will assume we are talking about adolescent violence when, in reality, my goal was always to reflect on how social violence – machismo, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism … – impacts our adolescents. In what way do we blame this generation for everything we don’t like about the world we’ve built and forced them to inherit—with economic, ecological, and pandemic crises included—without allowing them to participate in decisions in which their perspective could help alter a reality that demands fresh introspection.
That introspection is precisely what underlines this television version, built from the screenwriting of Juanma Ruiz de Córdoba and Lucía Carballal and the direction of Jesús Rodrigo, all of whom have proficiently managed to capture the essence of the novel and the theatrical work, adapting the story to the screen, maintaining the necessary fidelity to its plot and its themes, while introducing fresh elements that not only do not contradict the original text, but enhance and complement it.
Like all good screen adaptations – at least, those that have remained in my memory – the series of La edad de la ira is not a photocopy of the literary text, but an autonomous work that narrates the same facts from another point of view maintaining, however, one of its essential features: polyphony. In the same way that the literary narrative fell on different adult characters, here the story is in the hands of different adolescent characters, and as such, we will view the action from the perspective of one of these characters in each episode.
Personally, I feel very fortunate; for the poetry radiating both from Juanma and Lucia’s screenwriting, as well as from Jesus’ direction; for the careful synthesis of truth and beauty embodied through the cinematography, musical composition, makeup and costumes, artistic direction… And, of course, for the fabulous performance of a cast that has put all its heart into making this series possible. When I was writing the novel I never imagined that I would encounter Marcos, Sandra, Raúl, Ignacio, Álvaro, Bárbara or Ángela beyond the pages of the book, nor that they would be interpreted so adeptly by such committed performers as Manu Ríos, Amaia Aberasturi, Daniel Ibáñez, Carlos Alcaide, Eloy Azorín, Sara Jiménez or Rocío Muñoz, in a cast that is– in Z language – wig.
I’ve been reminded in the past few weeks of some of the conversations I had with two dear friends, Miryam Galaz (editor of the novel) and Palmira Márquez (my agent), who as soon as they read the story told me that they saw a series in it. Today— thanks to them — it is. And it is in the best possible way. With a team that has put its heart and soul into narrating this tale, and with a network, ATRESplayer Premium, which has always believed in La edad de la ira and the need for it to reach as many people as possible, as many teenagers, so they might raise their voices. But also to many adults, so we might learn to listen.
Maybe that explains why I feel so favored by fortune. Not only because I have fulfilled my dream of seeing one of my novels turned into a series. But because, as it trudged the long road from the printed page to the screen, not one iota of the social encouragement or intimacy from which I wrote this story has been lost. Backwards. Today it sounds, thanks to the power of television fiction, even stronger.