Oysters and game meat in an afternoon of confidences: the last dinner of Jaume Ripoll, founder of Filmin | The weekly country

Those of us born in the seventies can say that the limits of our cinematographic culture were—more or less—the limits of the catalog of our neighborhood video store. The formation of taste was a matter of local commerce, and depended quite a bit on the preferences of the owner of that video store. Most only had blockbusters and porn movies, but there were others where in the back they had shelves full of Italian neorealism films, those of Bogart and the latest from Japan. There you would pass the time reading the back covers of the cases and stretching out the time to be seen with a Bergman tape in your hand. And that movie-loving corner of the video store suggested the possibility of seducing or being seduced by someone with similar tastes: more than one relationship has started with an unsolicited recommendation from a stranger.

Some of the liturgy and jargon of the good shelf of the video store survives on Filmin, a platform directed and founded by Jaume Ripoll (Mallorca, 46 years old), who grew up in the back room of his family’s video store, in Palma de Mallorca, and who To do this interview he invited us to dinner in one of the most cinematic places in Barcelona.

Jaume Ripoll, at the Belvedere cocktail bar in Barcelona.Coco Davez

The Belvedere is a cocktail bar hidden in a narrow pedestrian street, it has a small garden covered in ivy and stairs that lead to red rooms, dimly lit, divided into secluded rooms that offer privacy and protect the client from curious people. A long black bar reaches to the bottom, on it there are bottles of liquids of all colors that evoke the pantry of a necromancer alchemist. There the bartender makes magic potions, judging by the quality of the drinks. In addition to drinking, the food here is wonderful, says Jaume, who knows the letter like a parishioner knows the missal, and asks for everyone before starting to tell how he imagines his last supper. Ripoll has come appropriately dressed to talk about his death: dark, elegant and discreet, except for some bulky black shoes that look like the futuristic evolution of a clog.

—How many times have we fantasized about the idea of ​​our obituary, of the obituary, of the friends who remember you and who celebrate you around the table. That obsesses me.

So much so that his favorite movie is Dublinersthat prodigious adaptation of The dead, by Joyce, who made a dying John Huston in a wheelchair. He also really likes the collection of essays Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens aware that cancer is killing him, where he expresses “that idea of ​​the funeral in life, that moment in which all your friends are there celebrating their friendship, their intellectual achievements.” “I think that makes sense… If I had to aspire to something in life, when the end comes (which I hope will take a long time to come) it would be that,” says Ripoll.

He is very clear that his last dinner is in Mallorca, specifically in Camp de Mar. “A space next to the sea where I have shared a lot of happiness and many New Year’s Eves,” he explains. He talks about a house whose history is a veritable sheet of singular lives. Today it belongs to the family of his friend Andreu Jaume, a Majorcan editor and poet, but it was previously home to the mysterious Spanish-British artist and spy Tomás Harris and, before him, the popular dog painter Cecil Aldin, creator of that logo, enjoyed this place. with a dog and a jukebox from His Master’s Voice “which gave rise to the first Filmin logo.” That property inhabited by artists was designed precisely to be an artists’ house, built for painting, so that light enters, there are views and you can see the sunset.

—I feel like inviting myself to a house where I have been invited nothing less than to say goodbye to life, but I know that Andreu, who is a very generous person, would open the doors to me as if he were in my own house.

Ripoll highlights the qualities of this exquisite host, trusting that he would use tableware from the beginning of the century, “of course, from the 20th, not the 21st, with those cut crystal glasses with which one drinks wine more tastefully.” He puts the silver cutlery with initials on it, he inherited it from his great-grandparents and he brings it out to good friends on important occasions.

He has no doubts about the menu. He may sound frivolous, he says, pausing briefly, but he immediately recites it vehemently as if he were proclaiming a law: oysters, mushrooms, truffles, shrimp and game meat. “All this would take… Since I don’t have to digest and I won’t have a hangover…” They are his favorite dishes, he says. Emboldened by this last reasoning, he adds more things to the menu: hare à la royale —with a little grated truffle on top— and sirloin Wellington. “They are the great dishes of my life.”

The tastes that Ripoll reveals reveal him as a true Morro Fino, which I suppose is capable of greater precision with the menu. I ask you to specify the variety of mushrooms and the type of meat. He tells us that it would be a woodcock hunted in Mallorca, with which he would make rice, and that the mushrooms, “if they are well cooked and, of course, they are wild, they could be whatever they were, ceps, ou de reigsmall robes.”

He realizes that his menu requires him to die in autumn, which is the season for these mushrooms and woodcock hunting. “My favorite time of year to eat is November and December. But it’s summer to live. It’s a shame that your favorite time to live doesn’t coincide with your favorite time to eat.”

He continues to specify: things from the sea would be accompanied with a white, as long as it is good there is no special preference, however, the red that goes with meat is non-negotiable: a Château Margaux. At some point the champagne comes out, and he is able to mention so many things he likes, that he also declares himself without preferences.

When did you acquire these sophisticated tastes? Ripoll laughs and says: “Since I don’t have children, the money I have earned in my life I have invested in gastronomy, markets and good restaurants… It is my hobby.” He has been lucky to have partners who shared that same interest, something that also runs in his family. Then he clarifies: “The truth is that he couldn’t have a partner who didn’t like to eat.”

What he is passionate about is not only the food, but rather the camaraderie of dining, the space for storytelling that a well-set, stocked and attended table provides. Returning to Mallorca, for him, is returning to those meals with friends. “In the same way that I never go out to eat with anyone who I don’t know will really enjoy the food; “Because of work, I never meet up to eat.”

His guests that night are 10 or 12. “Those friends with a capital A, those who pass all the filters of disagreements, distances, silences, contradictions. Those that remain, because you already know that they are the ones that have remained over the years, respect your space and do not ask for permanent attention from you.” A mix of childhood friends in Mallorca and his formative years in Barcelona, ​​those for whom, after an absence, “the ellipsis works in continuity, not in rupture,” he clarifies with terms of cinematographic language.

He describes his childhood friends, Guillem and Andreu, as people who were brought together by the chance of his birth and who turned out to be “very intelligent, cultured, fun, witty, cynical, corrosive people, and with a zest for life.” He reproaches those from Barcelona for being people who always arrive late to their dinners, and this seems unforgivable to someone who, like him, has reached certain levels of obsession in an art whose points and temperatures demand great punctuality among those to whom that is going to be entertained. The people of Barcelona, ​​then, would be summoned first and the rice would not reach the fire until everyone was at the table.

There would be poetry readings at dinner, this usually happens. Andreu has a habit of reading poetry, and at that dinner he would dedicate a very sad poem to him and then another with humor. “There would be cynicism, which is what I like most in the world.” There would be a lot of remembrance, with the most celebrated anecdotes. “Intimate, sexual things, undoubtedly, uncomfortable.” And, finally, when the time came for toasts and tributes, they would not do so towards his person, “but towards friendship.” “Because you have to appreciate a friendship and celebrate it constantly. It is difficult to make a great friendship.”

Ripoll could not say goodbye to life without a tarte Tatin with bitter cream, followed by the relevant liqueurs: he would start with a Tokaji wine and end up drunk lost with mezcal. People would dance then and play music to cheer him up, but he wouldn’t feel energetic for a dance. He would just like to play the third movement of the Seventh by Beethoven, which for him represents the joy of a Saturday morning cooking at home.

And here he makes one last request to be happy: that it rain. “I always remember my father’s phrase when he woke up on Sunday mornings at home and he told me: it’s raining today. It meant for him that there would be people in the video store, there would be more business, it would be an evening at the movies.”


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