Among Jess Franco’s actors, the background of Trino Martínez Germán, known as Trino Trives, is similar to that of Antonio de Cabo. Though not primarily an actor, he was nonetheless a man of the stage who additionally gave acting performances in films by Franco – indeed, exclusively in Franco films as he appears to have worked for no other filmmaker in his life. In the world of theatre, while he did occasionally act, he mainly busied himself with direction, set design and the translation into Spanish of plays, not to the exclusion of some poetry translating. In 1998, when his career had lapsed into obscurity, he was cited in the newspaper ABC as one of the most relevant theatrical figures in Spain, where he is essentially remembered as the man who, as a translator and stage director, introduced many Spaniards to the work of Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Eugène Ionesco during the sixties, notably with productions of such Beckett plays as Waiting for Godot, Endgame and Happy Days.
The Valencian-born Trives also served, for a while, as the director of the National Theatre in Spain, but he was mostly active either abroad or working in the fringe. It may be that an openly gay man like him had limited chances in the Spain of General Franco, or it might simply have borne on a personal penchant on his part. Whatever the case, he alternated his activity in Madrid with work in Paris, not to mention Portugal and Brazil, both of which were also frequented by his fellow theatre professional Antonio de Cabo, with whom he thus became acquainted; it could well be, in fact, that one of these two men recommended the other to Jess Franco.
Trives’s first recorded collaboration with Jess Franco came with his work as production designer for Rififí en la ciudad (1963), where he is credited as Trino Martínez-Trives. This was during his period of greatest prominence in the world of theatre. By the time he returned to Franco’s cinema, in the eighties, Trives’s career was drifting towards a marginal position, in which he was engaged in acting teaching and in fringe, non-profit theatrical productions, with much of his income coming from the royalties of his translations. Franco, for his part, saw possibilities in his appearance, bald and with a Van Dyke beard, and cast him in several roles, often villainous, as in Los blues de la calle Pop and Viaje a Bangkok, ataúd incluido.
However obscurely, Trino Trives remained active as a stage director towards the end of the century, gaining a 1998 award in Japan for his production of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano. Interviewed in 2002, Jess Franco said of Trives: “I’ve lost track of him but we’ve always been very, very good friends” (1). Trives, at the time, had been diagnosed with lung cancer and returned to his hometown, namely Orihuela, Alicante. In the summer of 2003, he refused to give an interview, saying: "Forget it. Those who've tried to rehabilitate my name by writing about me have merely screwed up. Anyway, with no sex and no work, death is a relief" (2). He died on 28 September 2003. His ashes lie buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, in Paris. .
Dark Mission: Flowers of Evil (1988)
Trino Trives's imdb entry:
Text by Nzoog Wahrlfhehen (Special thanks to Ricard Reguant)