Fernando Fernán Gómez (Lima, Perú, 1921-Madrid, España, 2007) was a film actor, playwright, novelist and scriptwriter. He is still a well-known icon of Spanish culture who left his imprint on the contemporary theater and film industry.
The above apropos of my daughter´s visit. Lorraine Ladish´s husband, Phillippe Diederich, a novelist in his own right (Playing for the Devil´s Fire, Sofrito, for example), came with her. At one point we made an appointment with Ramón Luque, Spanish film director (Historias de Lavapiés), in Plaza de Colón, a rather large square with a statue of Columbus in the center. I suggested we meet near Fernando Fernán-Gómez theater. My son-in-law asked who he was. Phillippe Diederich is an educated, cultured man, whose knowledge of Spanish is superb, but who is not fully immersed in Spanish culture, contemporary, domestic, run-of-the-mill culture. Why should he be?
So, we must put it bluntly: one thing is to know about Bolívar, San Martín, Pancho Villa, Cervantes, Borges, García Márquez, Octavio Paz, Lope de Vega... and another to be versed in local, domestic heroes -cultural or otherwise- like Fernando Fernán Gómez.
That is why we must be selective in our acquisition of local "culture." Still, I recommend Viaje a ninguna parte, a film directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez. I also recommend Historias de Lavapiés, directed by Ramón Luque, a film I know well.