From the backwaters of Mataró to half the world’s stages, the artistic and personal adventure of Peret, the artist who with a little mambo, a blast of tanguillo and a pinch of rock created the Gypsy Rumba. The title doesn’t beat about the bush: this is an intimate portrait and at the same time a tribute to Pere Pubill Calaf; Peret to the whole world, the king of the Catalan rumba forever, amen. With the complicity of his grandchildren and friends, and even his favourite tailor from the Sant Antoni neighbourhood, the documentary intimately reveals Peret’s “bombastic life”, based on natters at home and after-dinner chats at the bar, plus a motherload of archive material and humorous dramatizations. From the boonies of Mataró (“where there were only rats and hunger”) to Calle de la Cera in Barcelona’s central Raval neighbourhood; the early years among prostitutes, card games and street peddling to the tourists of Calella; the invention of a new gypsy rumba partygoer who swigged from the cups of Pérez Prado and Elvis (far from the flamenco rumba that the others did) the boom with “Borriquito” and the international tours with his faithful homies, Toni and Bones; the forced performance at Eurovision to his long retreat to become an evangelist pastor and his resounding return with Los Amaya and Los Chipén.
God, family and rumba is the triumvirate that presides over a film, which doesn’t flinch when explaining the bitterness with which Peret lived, the absurd controversy for the paternity of the Catalan rumba with which some wanted to confront “el Pescadilla”. Nor does it shy away from tackling a complex personality, borne of the tension between the gypsy and payo worlds, between poverty and wealth, between the truth and the picaresque.