I always enjoyed watching crime shows because it allowed me to see the evil side of human beings. One of my friends suggested me to watch Money heist. This quarantine period gave me enough time to binge-watch this series in 3-4 days. It was so addictive that I don’t even remember anything one day except watching this series. Now my phone ringtone is intro song( I don’t care at all) of the series. For Bella ciao theme song, I have no words. Despite not knowing the meaning of the song. I am not able to get over this song until now. I listen to this song everyday and possibly listened it more than 100 times till now, researched about it, found out its meaning and what has been the history behind the song and what was the purpose behind using this song in the La casa de Papel. This song needs a separate blog post altogether.
La casa de Papel aka Money Heist has achieved many milestones. It is the most-watched non-English series of the Netflix and 3rd most popular show on IMDB . There is also a documentary on Netflix exploring the phenomenon of Money Heist. I also tried to read about it and explored the reason why it has become so popular in the world? Many protests around the world are also influenced by this series where people used Dali masks and protested against their governments. For instance- students protested against new financial reform in the year 2018 in Italy.
We can interpret various meanings from the series. But I see this series purely as resistance against the establishment/system and this is the most powerful thing of this series which made it extremely popular. As the creator of the series Alex Pina also says the idea of rising against the system is ingrained in the series.
“To rise up against the system is reckless and idealistic – [it’s] Don Quixote! -Alex Pina
The conversation between our favourite El Professor, the leader of the band of robbers code-named after major cities and police inspector Raquel Murillo about “printing money” at the Royal Mint of Spain clearly shows the aversion towards the capitalistic system. He tells that they are only printing money and not stealing, which is also done by the governments around the world which are called “liquidity injections”. No one questions the system on what basis are they printing more money? This is so true. This process is done by various Central Banks around the world in the name of “Quantitative Easing” to increase money supply thereby encouraging lending and investment. And then comes the “robin-hood” role played by these robbers who wants to emerge as the messiah to the poor and subalterns by dropping some money from the sky.
Symbols used in the series are real-life symbols used as the ‘symbol of resistance’ at some point in history. Red jumpsuit, Dali mask, and Bella ciao also have historical significance. The red color is a symbol of revolution and its also a colour of Marxist ideology. Dali mask was created by a famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali and a lot of his work was emerged during Zurich’s Dada movement that was about rejecting the modern capitalist system. Masks have been used around the world to show solidarity with others. As per Aidan Mac Garry, political scientist, “the masks have become anti-establishment trope wielded by ordinary people to register their dissatisfaction with the ideas and policies of the political elite”.
Bella ciao(Goodbye Beautiful) is an Italian folk song that was used as an anthem against fascist resistance during the second world war. But the beautiful thing about this song is that it has also been used by migrants while crossing Mediterranean, protesters against the capitalistic measures taken by their government and recently Italians started singing Bella Ciao to show solidarity with corona warriors fighting to save the lives of the people in this deadliest pandemic.
According to me, the most important reason for this series’ popularity is the feeling of love among its flawed characters. Either it was love between Tokyo and Rio or between El Professor and Inspector Raquel (later renamed as Lisbon when she joins the band) or Nairobi and Helsinki (though he was a gay) or Denver and Monica or Palmero and Berlin. As Nairobi says, “to love you need courage“,the attachment between Nairobi and Helsinki was very touching for me as it was not a physical but psychological bonding between the two that was courageous as Helsinki plays a character of a gay. The moment Helsinki plays the mouth organ when Nairobi’s coffin moves out of the Royal Bank of Spain breaks my heart.
All the characters are strong and powerful and have some very good qualities but also they are flawed which is the one thing liked by all the audiences as people try to see themselves in the form of different characters whenever they watch any series. It’s very difficult to talk about all the characters in one blog as there is so much there to understand why does any character of the series is behaving in a way and what point did the creator of the series wants to make from that particular character? That’s why I will tell about my favorite ones, I liked obviously the El Professor, Inspector Alicia Sierra and Nairobi. Though Tokyo was the narrator of the series, I didn’t like her because she is too reckless.
I liked El Professor because he is intelligent. I feel that I am also sapiophile . He is also weird and quite manipulative but he also falls in love which was not in his plan and that was the sweetest part which made him flawed. His meticulous planning of the heist, understanding the core competencies of each robber, displaying emotion and fraternity with all his band members, making origami for keeping his calm and immense knowledge about each and everything made him lovable for everyone. Nairobi is also a flawed character but somewhere I also felt that she is a strong feminist when she took charge from Berlin during the heist and says this dialogue, “matriarchy begins”, then she wins my heart. Since she dies in season 4 so we can say Bella ciao to this beautiful and strong lady. And not the last one but Inspector Alicia Sierra is a fierce lady and I want to be like her while working as a police officer- fearless, ruthless, strong, confident, truthful and ready to go to any extent to find out the culprits. Even though she is pregnant, she is seen as the most powerful and the only officer in the tent of police officials who has the same acumen and capability to stand in front of the El Professor’s masterly skill of money heist.
I feel like going back and watching some conversations in the series again as it gives you those lessons of life, about politics, ideology, protest, ethics, morality, love, emotions, everyday living, carpe diem, right or wrong, etc. Carpe diem is so important in the present time as the whole world is struggling with the most dreaded pandemic and how our life has become unpredictable and having very little value as we all are confined to our homes. Though Berlin’s character is too controversial, he is the one after Professor and Tokyo, who delivers some of the best dialogues of the series and also one of the most liked characters of the series. So I will end my blog with one of his dialogues: “Love can’t be timed, it has to be lived”. So, this is the moment to realize and start living your life as if there will be no tomorrow.