Monday, May 29, 2023

Taliban terror entertainment in the hot sun of Almeria

The most ambitious series of the year for Movistar Plus+ takes us to Afghanistan recently captured by the rebels, with an impressive display of action and special effects

Dust fills the scene. You can almost feel the heat, the scorching sun not dimmed at all by the clouds drifting past the horses’ feet. They run fast, very fast, against the beast machine. Three military Humvees skidded on the sand. When it appears that the vehicles are moving, one of the riders has a rocket. There are shots, there are explosions, there are bells ringing… and even we can read. It’s barely a matter of two minutes, but the intensity of the chase puts anyone watching from the other side of the screen in knots.

If La Unidad was one of the television events of 2020 and returned with force the following year, its third season, La Unidad in Kabul, Afghanistan recently taken over by the Taliban, as one of Movistar’s most ambitious fiction projects taking shape. Plus+: 300 artistes and technicians, 130 actors and extras and 40 stuntmen including 28 horsemen, make for a stupendous number of action-packed detective stories. In terms of plot, the latest installment of the saga represents the closure of the cycle: “We start with the story of a jihadist detained in Spain, then we tell how jihadism went after our opponents and now We go to the core of the horror”, explains Dani de la Torre, director and producer of the series together with Alberto Marini. Visually, it is a blockbuster with a display of settings and effects that are unusual on Spanish television.

Congestion building up next to Kabul airport. Maria Heras

The series was shot last summer in various locations, each more intense. A plethora of outdoor scenes alternate the legendary Almeria of the Spaghetti Western with an old mine located in Campo Real on the outskirts of Madrid. “Tabernas is the desert fabric in the middle of a heat wave…”, admits Juan Pey Gaspar, head of production design for the series. His main challenge was to find action in Afghanistan… without stepping into Afghanistan, of course. The streets of Kabul in fiction are actually those of Karachi in neighboring Pakistan. “The human profiles are similar and, depending on the region, there are also architectural similarities”, explains Gaspar, “Our task is to approach the audience’s emotional landscape with a practical framework for the story. Absolute precision is impossible and, moreover, In this case you run the risk of having your throat slit.”

The spectacularity of the series reaches its peak as this story chases, you know, one in the dust under the scorching sun, beast against machine. The anatomy of this scene measures a combination of effects, human, special and digital, that keep viewers on the couch. Cesar Soler was in charge of coordinating the team of experts, including horses, who these days are re-shooting with Dani de la Torre and Alberto Marini for another police thriller, Marbella, Very Low Demand. “The Kabul unit needed riders, drivers, falls from horses, deaths, fights, weapons… everything,” he says, “and of course, many Arab profiles.” This professional with nearly 30 years of experience behind him says that in his own business, a beard and disheveled hair are two job insurances: “With shaven and short hair, you have very few options for work, Most of what we shoot are period battles”. Perfect look to play Taliban.

Horse chase. Maria Heras

Those few but busy seconds are followed by days of work. “We needed a space that could combine that hazy desert air with the possibility of evoking action,” Gaspar explains. This was Campo Real. One of the jeeps is the center of attention: after a powerful explosion, it turns upside down. “We use the same car for the entire sequence, it’s effectively the one that drives around during the chase and that ends up upside down,” he says. “The rollovers are created digitally. , but what happens inside the vehicle is real.”

Tide Bus Thinking about it, put yourself in position: The bodywork and seats are mounted on a structure that spins like a washing machine. «If everything goes great, you can have the actors downstairs and upstairs for an hour; If it goes wrong, it could take up your whole day,” says the head of production design. It doesn’t tell whether the talk was good… or long.

Outside, comes the high point of the experts. The global choreography has been rehearsed dozens of times, everything has to be perfectly measured. “We smooth the ground to make it softer so the horse falls less hard,” Soler revealed, “but we all have to fit their exact point into the plan to reduce the chance of an accident.” The main problem here was the extremely high demands on the animals: “The horses can’t repeat that race so many times because they get tired,” he says. “On the day of the shoot we rehearsed only two or three times in the morning, and two or more in the afternoon.” Three more in. Yes, they are few ».

The purpose of this millimeter coordination between stuntmen, camera and special effects is to ensure the audience doesn’t ask any questions, so it looks like we have to apologize for revealing the trick.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com/
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