Gustavo Salmerón

Spain, 2017 / 90 min / Spanish OV with English subt. / Documentary

The portrait of the director’s extraordinary 80-year-old mother Julieta 

The Spanish actor Gustavo Salmerón steps behind the camera to film his extraordinary mother Julieta, an eccentric woman who has had only three dreams in her life: having lots of kids, owning a monkey, and living in a castle. Here is the portrait of an astonishing 80-year-old woman, a graceful matriarch, a lady who manages to face time passing, life’s betrayals and whims of fate.

“In the 1980s, I started filming my mother and I realised that she had tremendous potential: something that I had been trying to achieve for many years as an actor: being totally present and authentic. If you ask her to improvise on a topic or repeat a sentence, she does it without a hitch. I realised, while filming her, that I had a Gena Rowlands in front of me: It is a pleasure to film her”. Gustavo Salmerón


Sat 24/02 21:30 Ciné Utopia ES OV with EN subt. Public
Sun 25/02 17:00 Cinémathèque ES OV with EN subt. Public

“There’s something a little bit magic about Julieta, something of the fairytale - perhaps that’s her son’s dazzled but sardonic affection transmitting itself through the various cameras. But then Julieta does physically resemble a live-action Hayao Miyazaki character: one of those mystical grandmothers with inquisitive, mischievous eyes and benign wrinkles. And she has a magical incantation: the title refers to the three wishes Julieta recalls making as a newlywed: she was convinced all she needed to be happy were lots of kids, a monkey and a castle. […] Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle, though it depicts the family falling on hard times and Julieta tut-tutting about her ‘suffering’, is primarily a film that overflows with affection, warmth and humor, about a highly dysfunctional but deeply loving clan. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy famously declared that ‘all happy families resemble one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ But Salmerón’s film, crammed as full of tchotchkes and knick-knacks and bibelots as one of his mother’s closets, refutes that, presenting an endearingly haphazard portrait of an extraordinary woman and the family she made ‑ one that has discovered its own, completely unique way to be happy”. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 11/07/2017

  • Harrell Award for Best Documentary - Special Mention, Camden International Film Festival, 2017 (UK)
  • Golden Starfish Award, Hamptons International Film Festival, 2017 (US)
  • Best Documentary Over 60 Minutes, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2017 (CZ)
Cast & Credits
Julieta Salmerón, Gustavo Salmerón
Beatriz Montañez, Gustavo Salmerón, Raúl de Torres
Gustavo Salmerón
Pelayo Gutiérrez
Nacho Mastretta
Sueños Despiertos, Gustavo Salmerón PC

Born in Madrid in 1970, Gustavo Salmerón is one of the known faces of Spanish cinema as an actor: he played in hit films like The Red Squirrel (1993), It’s All Lies (1994), Mensaka (1998), Asphalt (2000), Reinas (2005) and Amar (2017) among many others. In 2001, he directed his first short film Desaliñada (2001) which took home the Goya in this category. His feature debut, the documentary Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle (2017) in which stars his own family, premiered at Karlovy Vary 2017. 

  • 2017 - Muchos hijos, un mono y un castillo (documentary)
  • 2001 - Desaliñada (short)
  • --- Filmography as an actor ---
  • 2017 - Amar
  • 2014 - Wedding in New York
  • 2014 - La Propina (short)
  • 2013 - V/H/S Viral
  • 2013 - People in Places
  • 2012 - The Path
  • 2012 - Los pájaros perdidos (short)
  • 2012 - That Wasn't Me (short)
  • 2011 - Nadie tiene la culpa (short)
  • 2011 - ¿Bailas? (short)
  • 2010 - Bestezuelas
  • 2009 - Lala (short)
  • 2008 - Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime
  • 2007 - Body Armour
  • 2006 - La silla de Fernando
  • 2006 - Remake
  • 2005 - Queens
  • 2005 - The Explanation (short)
  • 2004 - Body Confusion
  • 2004 - Ten Minutes (short)
  • 2003 - The Other Shoe
  • 2002 - The Beach of the Greyhounds
  • 2000 - The Art of Dying
  • 2000 - Asfalto
  • 1999 - Operación Fangio
  • 1998 - Twice Upon a Yesterday
  • 1998 - Mensaka
  • 1998 - Mambí
  • 1998 - Atómica
  • 1997 - 99.9
  • 1997 - Cien Maneras de hacer el pollo al txilindrón (short)
  • 1997 - Sábanas blancas (short)
  • 1996 - Not Love, Just Frenzy
  • 1996 - Fotos
  • 1996 - El Domini del sentits
  • 1996 - Pulp Ration (Ración de pulpo) (short)
  • 1995 - El Rey del río
  • 1994 - Todo es mentira
  • 1993 - The Red Squirrel
  • 1993 - O Camiño das estrelas: Galicia (short)