The Windsor Tower incident, when he was just 18 years old, was one of those moments that inspires the question: What were you doing when…? Víctor Morilla, responsible for the plot and development of a new four-part documentary mini-series commemorating the event, came to mind like many other Spaniards when he saw what happened on TV: 9/11. Raúl Calàbria, director and screenwriter of the project, whose production began two years ago, believes that it became a memorable event from the start, even before so many conjectures were unleashed about it. “It was hypnotic to see such a large building burning, with the unknown of what would happen,” he comments in a telematic conversation from Barcelona.
The Curse of Windsor begins on Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 11:21 p.m. with the first of its four chapters at 79 Avenida Raimundo Fernández Villaverde in Madrid. It was at that moment that the firefighters got the news of the most indirect fire in Spain. A skyscraper that has been the headquarters of companies such as the powerful law firm Garrigues and the consulting firm Deloitte, a place that holds the secrets of Capricorn 35 and the Spanish state, was reduced to rubble before the eyes of millions of spectators.
The investigation was quickly closed without dispelling many doubts. And El Corte Inglés has managed, after years of yearning, to stay in a privileged space in one of the great commercial areas of the city. Conspiracy theories inevitably skyrocketed. And examines this miniseries, now available in full on HBO MAX, which DMAX will air on nights last Sunday, February 12, and the other two online on Sunday, February 19 at a two-episode rate almost all of them as if there were parallel universes.
It could have been a chain of negligence set on fire by a cigarette butt. Or various forms of targeted sabotage that benefited the upper echelons of power and money. Or suddenly everywhere. “It was a fire with script errors, at least in the official version of what happened. If it were a movie, it wouldn’t be believable; As a spectator, you don’t believe that,” defends Morilla, also from Barcelona.
Model of the missing skyscraper from the HBO MAX footage of The Curse of Windsor
The proposal of Producciones del Barrio (Salvados, Encuentros inesperados), the company of Jordi Évole and Ramón Lara, intentionally exploits and abuses the infinite possibilities, testimonies and points of view to tell a story based on conjectures, mysteries and coincidences. The chewing gum stretches as much as the media stretched it at the time.
On the screen are firefighters who took part in putting out the fire, journalists covering the news, Madrid politicians, businessmen, experts and the architects who designed the tower. They all build different puzzles from the same pieces; They analyze what happened and how long the urban legends surrounding the event have lived. “The fact that time has passed has helped us bring so many people together. And the fact that there were no fatalities allowed us to play a lot with the narrative, trying not to become sensational,” comments Calàbria, who admits adding a bit of humor to the story and allowing himself “very paranoid narrative exploring ways”.
In his wheel of possibilities even that of a parapsychologist appears. “It is a way of demonstrating and in a way denouncing that we still have no certainty on this matter. And if you don’t have a coherent and credible answer to something, you have every right to investigate others. No one can deny the possibility of another option if you don’t provide a correct one,” says Morilla. “We used the empirical method. We explore all the ways to reject them and try to give seriousness and rigor to the hypotheses. We do it without validating them, but without condescension or paternalism,” both creators defend.
To do this, they use philosophical principles such as Schrodinger’s cat paradox, in which something can and cannot be at the same time, and Occam’s razor, in which, other things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the most likely.
The testimony of one of the experts related to the case at a time of “The Curse of Windsor” HBO MAX
Villarejo enters the scene
In this wandering around, without an expressed need to reach a certain point, the series finds expected situations and other, more surprising ones. Former Commissioner José Manuel Villarejo was added to the list of urban legends surrounding the case in 2019 as a possible originator of the fire. Those responsible for this production tried to get him to appear in front of the camera and tell his own version of events. He told them he didn’t rule out taking part, albeit later. The months went by and the later never came. “He has not denied that he was involved. His character does nothing more than add another layer of surrealism that he brings to this story,” they comment. The multiple storyline also features Francisco González, former president of BBVA, Pajares y Esteso and the comic duo Martes y Trece.
For Calàbria, the director of The Curse of Windsor, there are as many people as possible explanations for what happened. “The strange thing about this story is that it paints a portrait of those who approach it. Any viewer who has watched the series or followed the case in the press, will cling to aspects that differ from the others to find their own version of the facts,” he says.
In addition to the half-solved mystery of the Windsor ghosts, the human figures that appeared in the windows of the lower floors of the burning building, the series focuses on the character of the Reyzábals, the owners of the property. With them emerges the portrait of an empire built during the Franco regime on the basis of bricks and nightclubs, which in turn was that of a model for the declining Spain. From all of this metanarrative analysis, the makers of the documentary confirm “the certainty that when there is no certainty, man must seek it.”
You can follow EL PAÍS TELEVISIÓN on Twitter or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Receive the TV newsletter
All the news from channels and platforms, with interviews, news and analysis, as well as recommendations and criticism from our journalists