Domingo Diaz interviews Jose Luis Jimenez Garcia in Mas Jerez
Jose Luis Jimenez is a lover of the cinema and Sherry. He is president of the Cine Club Popular de Jerez, member of the Real Academia de San Dionisio de Ciencias Artes y Letras, member of the international network of Wine Historians, contributor to Mas Jerez, Gente de Jerez and a whole lot more, but above all he is a Jerezano, and rightly proud of it. He studies the influence of Sherry on works of fiction and reality destined for the cinema and television. At the moment he is participating in a documentary called “The Mystery of Palo Cortado”.
Q – The appearance of Sherry in the cinema is a culture with a long history, isn’t it?
A – Yes. Not only in fictional cinema, of which I have studied more than 500 titles, but also in documentary cinema, television series, advertisements, etc. where Sherry appears often.
Q – Right now you are collaborating with the production of “El Misterio del Palo Cortado”?
A – Yes, the production company of Antonio Saura and Jose Luis Lopez Linares is working on a documentary which is going to have some interlinking elements which could be very interesting. At last somebody of the calibre of Jose Luis Lopez Linares, who has won a Goya as a director, and Antonio Saura, producer and son of Carlos Saura, are interested in the wine of Jerez. It is something really important.
Q – Have we known how to exploit the appearance of our wine in the cinema, here in Jerez?
A – I don’t think so. Publicity campaigns have done a lot of good for some of the biggest bodegas like Gonzalez Byass, Domecq or Williams & Humbert. And of course there were the campaigns only shown abroad, not in Spain, which we are now seeing occasionally on the internet. There were some strange campaigns in England, Holland or Germany, for example. But in exploiting the presence of Sherry in fiction, in movies, I feel we still haven’t known how to use that publicity they have given us for nothing.
Q – But the appearance of Sherry in the cinema shouldn’t be taken merely as an element of publicity?
A – You’re right, it should also be taken as an object of analysis and study. The study I am doing on Sherry in the cinema could reach some very interesting conclusions because nobody had thought to look into how Sherry has influenced the Spanish or Anglo-Saxon cultures, among others. It is the same in literature, where Sherry is often present, but again nobody has looked into it. The study should reveal how Sherry is perceived abroad. What we are seeing so far, especially from foreign films, of which we have looked at over 500, is who drinks it, where, what types and what they think of it. This combination of literature and film leads one to think that Sherry has enormous prestige, that it is one of the great wines of the world, and yet we don’t take it seriously enough.
Q – Do you think that will silence those who say that the appearance of Sherry is due to the influence of Sherry companies on the dubbing companies?
A – Exactly, this is an urban legend, it is not certain. Furthermore this can be refuted when the reference to Sherry is there in the original English. The dialogue can’t be manipulated when it is referred to in the original and especially when it is in the original literary source. It is possible there is some truth in it, in a Spanish film perhaps, but there is no record and I doubt it.
Q – To wind up, should we do more to protect the Denominacion de Origen?
A – Absolutely. We should all be doing that, not only the institutions: the Consejo, the bodegas… but everybody. We lost one great opportunity, and now we have another, a golden opportunity, and thanks to many people we are reclaiming the value of Sherry. If we don’t grab it we will lose this one too - and there might not be another. Now is the time to look after our wine and look to the markets with an exceptional product. Some bodegas are working to recuperate our wine, but this is work for everybody.