The Most Important Thing in Life is Not Being Dead

The Most Important Thing in Life Is Not Being Dead poster art

LENGTH: 80 min
YEAR: 2011
GENRE: Fictional Drama
LANGUAGE: Spanish w/English subtitles
DIRECTORS: Olivier Pictet, Pablo Martín Torrado, Marc Refuenco
CAST: Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, Francisco Nortes, Mercè Montalà, Marián Aguilera, Carles Arquimbau, Albert Ausellé, Xavier Tor, Jordi Domènech
CREW: SCREENWRITER: Pablo Martín Torrado; CINEMATAGRAPHER: Pietro Zuercher; EDITOR: Jordi J. Recort; MUSIC: Julien Painot, Ladislav Agabekov


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A Franconian era comedic drama, this cerebral and tantalizing film by the Olpama Film team (consisting of Olivier Pictet, Pablo Martin Torrado, and Marc Recuenco Bigorda) explores a man‘s identity crisis as he awakens one day to realize that life is not at all what it seemed to be for many years. This is a familiar notion that each of us has explored at one time or another, however for the main character, Jacobo, his situation is elaborately complicated by the appearance of a phantom. Although not menacing or violent, the phantom leaves Jacobo with a figurative ball of yarn, which begins to unwind, symbolizing his once peaceful existence. The phantom is a product of post-civil war Catalonia, and is also indirectly responsible for the means by which Jacobo and his wife ended up together. But who is this phantom and what is his connection to Jacobo‘s wife?

Jacobo is a well-known and reputable piano repairman who lives a comfortable life, able to tune and repair the great instruments which he is called upon to fix. One day, Jacobo‘s ability to tune and repair the pianos simply disappears. His skill was a miracle to begin with, as Jacobo himself admits, “the pianos fix themselves as I sleep…“ Panicked, Jacobo is unable to sleep at night and summons his doctor, who cannot offer a helpful solution. Even Jacobo‘s wife sees no other explanation in her husband‘s behavior than a cognitive breakdown, and fails to recognize his distress. The phantom, who is really a political fugitive who has been successfully hiding in Jacobo‘s basement for thirty years, is the only source of answers for Jacobo.



By Dennis Harvey

“…helmers Olivier Pictet, Pablo Martin Torrado and Marc Recuenco do often delight the eye and ear, their flair for whimsical meta-cinema at ties recallig early works by Jeunet & Caro and Jaco van Dormael, among others.”

The Mill Valley Film Festival

“Mythology, film noir and Buñuel-like social satire blend with invigorating style in this intelligent, imaginative and humorous portrait of the Franco ear (and beyond)…”


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