MUBI is partnering with L.A. OLA, a showcase of the best contemporary independent cinema from Spain, to show several of their films, including Adrián Orr's Niñato (2017), on MUBI in June and July, 2018.
Let me begin by saying that that Niñato is one of my best friends and I really love him and his family. Niñato's way of life represents my generation; or, to put it another way, an ideal of how many people of our age choose to live. He became a father at quite a young age and started a new chapter in his life, officially being an adult. He acquired great responsibilities, but at the same time he wanted to keep living with the same freedom had when he was a teenager. He didn't want to abandon the idea of what he wanted or dreamt to be. He hasn't given up on his dream—he's still making music, even when he knows it's not going to be the way he imagined it.
I wanted to share these moments with him, as I always admired how he persisted and persevered in his passion to make music year after year, even after he became a father. It’s the same passion he had when he's with his kids. I have filmed the dichotomy between these two passions of Niñato: being a father and trying to continue living the way he did as an adolescent.
The film was a long process, a process of learning: David learning how to be a father, teaching Oro and the two little girls, while he is still trying to figure out how to be an adult, what to do for a living, juggling his responsibilities with his kids, having no money, his music, and a new relationship with his girlfriend.
And I figuring out how to portray all these situations. As the time passed, this dichotomy became more and more explicit. Niñato is living as many of us do—full of contradictions. I wanted to put my focus on them. Contradictions make up who and what we are. This specific topic takes me to one of the most important aspects of the film, the passing of time, how to film it and represent it. I try to set the film based on two different timelines, directly connected with Niñato’s dichotomy.
I witnessed a long process of teaching and learning between David and the children, mostly Oro, the young one. I filmed how small gestures, a few words in the past, acquire relevance in the present and are projected into the future. I also show it in a continuous timeline. I've placed the viewer as a witness in real time of how David learns to teach, and is learning to inspire the children to keep working and have dreams even when his have not come true.
We see that David living in the continuous present. We have the perspective of day by day in an adult's life, but actually the time is passing faster than David realized—just like probably many of us, he is not able to measure passage of time. There are some moments in the film when we realize that the time is passing by. And these moments are always when the kids are in the frame. We see how the passing of time is affecting Niñato and the kids in different ways. The kids are growing up and acquiring more autonomy while Niñato is still in the process of realizing it, and noticing how his role into the family has actually changed. It’s the burden of time that could make Niñato face his situation, and think about himself in a new way.