Another point of view: Rebeca Esnaola
So that they can see us, in the past: Manuel Asín
Punto de Vista Collection: The Seventh Gate. A History of Cinema in Morocco from 1907 to 1986 Ahmed Bouanani
Who Will Tell the Story? Beginnings of Documentary Film in Morocco
Meeting on the River
Round table: Research, programming and preservation in alternative archives
For a fiction essay Film conference with Léa Morin
Persons from cinema: first person singular Talk by Paulino Viota
Desbordes: otra historia del ojo. Fernando Gandasegui
Acciones para la pantalla. Bruno Delgado Ramo + Paula Guerrero + Esperanza Collado + Javier Montero / Las Synergys
Double feature: Elena Asins
Punto de Vista - International Documentary Film Festival of Navarra is promoted by Department of Culture and Sport, Government of Navarra, and organized by NICDO S.L. Plaza del Baluarte s/n. 31002 Pamplona (Navarra) Tel. 948 06 60 66 email@example.com www.puntodevistafestival.com
Catalogue for the International Documentary Film Festival of Navarra, No 16. Published by NICDO S.L. Printed by Imprenta Zubillaga ISSN - 2171/2166 Addendum 16 Legal deposit NA 266-2010
With the aid of
With the support of
Contributors FESTIVAL DE
CINE AFRICANO FCAT
Team Artistic Director Manuel Asín Executive Director Teresa Morales de Álava Programming Committee Manuel Asín Lucía Salas Lur Olaizola Pablo García Canga Miguel Zozaya Production Coordinator María Rodríguez Abad Production Department Marina Fernández Barcos Mikel González Parra
Guest and Accreditations Coordinator Sara Larripa Acedo Guest and Accreditations Department Eva Aldaba Vanessa Chacín Ainhoa Kutz
Design Franziska Catalogue translations CCI, Hitzurun Technical projection services Técnica Cinematográfica Loza Subtitula’m S.L.
Technical Manager Iker Espuñez
Sound Telesonic S.L.
Finance Director - NICDO Silvia Urdánoz Zazón
Film subtitles Subtitula’m S.L.
Technical and Operations Manager - NICDO Eduardo Nanclares Barrio
Interpreters STI World S.L.
Programming Coordinator Cristian Ruiz
Human Resources Director - NICDO José María Urtasun
Communication Coordinator Pablo Sotés Mariñelarena
Film Department - NICDO María Brotons
Communication Department Andrés Bueno Chocarro
Image, photography Rodrigo Pérez Rodríguez
Editorial Coordinator Noemi Cuetos
Recording, editing video Mikel Ciganda
Acknowledgements Adrián García Prado, Adrian Schindler, Adriano Aprà, Alberto Rodríguez, Alejandro Díaz Castaño, Alfonso Crespo, Andrea Celda, Andrea Franco, Andrea Inzerillo, Andrés Duque, Ángel Santos, Antonio Trullén, Archive Books, Arrate Velasco, Asier Armental, Bernard Eisenschitz, Boris Nelepo, Carlos Muguiro, Clara Flamarique, Cecilia Barrionuevo, Cíntia Gil, Dario Oliveira, David Arratibel, Efrén Cuevas, Elisa Celda, Félix Segura, Fran Gayo, Frank Beauvais, Garbiñe Ortega, Gillermo Zuaznabar, Isabel Rivas Etxaniz, Isabella Lenzi, Iván Pintor Iranzo, Jaime Pena, Javier Rebollo, Jean-Pierre Rehm, Joana Gusmão, Joana Sousa, José Luis Cienfuegos, José Ojeda, Josetxo Cerdán, Juan Pablo Huércanos, Luis Ferrón, Manuel Peláez, Marcos Merino, María Mur Dean, María Palacios, Mariana Hristova, Matías Piñeiro, Matthieu Grimault, Maya Kuzina, Miguel Álvarez-Fernández, Miguel Ribeiro, Mikel Artxanko, Naum Kleiman, Nicole Brenez, Núria Cubas, Óscar Fernández Orengo, Óscar Gascón, Óscar Vincentelli, Oskar Alegria, Pablo Useros, Pela del Álamo, Pere Alberó, Pierre Léon, Rafael Llano, Sergio Oksman, Vanesa Fernández Guerra, Vanesa García Cazorla
Another point of view
This sixteenth edition marks the start of another point of view. That of Manuel Asín, the new artistic director, set to usher in a new phase of the festival. A new period is commencing, a new outlook to explore the world of international documentary films. He is inheriting a well-established, resilient project that counts on the support and respect of a public that, year after year, comes to watch the films or to take part in the different activities. Professionals and enthusiasts of the documentary film genre will meet up once again to discover a top quality programme. And, most importantly, they will recognise the essence of the festival, which remains intact, with its own differentiating mark, a festival that has progressively made its own space in the course of its editions. A festival that has become a meeting point, one that drives knowledge, interaction and other forms of expression. Without doubt, these are all characteristics of the best demonstration of what culture actually is. Hosting the creative talent from the documentary film sector at an international level is a great experience for an autonomous community like Navarra. For a few days, we have the good fortune to be able to count on leading international figures, who serve as a focus of attraction and draw the public’s attention. A public that has progressively matured with each edition of the festival, learning and soaking up new cinematographic languages, new ways of doing and understanding art. And the festival is particularly focussed on this aspect: contributing to the ongoing search for new audiences, to their training and education. The audiovisual category is experiencing a boom, multiplying its offer of content and expanding the platforms on which it is available. Notwithstanding this, it needs Punto de Vista to give context, reflection and a different outlook on the world around us, which has suffered inconceivable ups and downs. This is without doubt an ideal time for creation, for the reformulation of questions, for new approaches and languages. New stories, new formats emerging from a global time of uncertainty, of challenges and ways of coping with our day-to-day life, that have had an impact on filmmakers. The festival has a well-established structure, a successful formula that has gradually taken shape over the years and that maintains the sections and programmes. For yet another year, hundreds of works were submitted to the selection committee, eighteen of which will be screened and will compete in the Official Selection. It is worthy of note that, out of the works selected, an increasing number are directed by women, a trend which continues year after year. A feminine Punto de Vista for the opening and closing events with the screenings, respectively of Los caballos mueren al amanecer, by the Navarra-born filmmaker Ione Atenea, and Charm Circle, by the North American director Nira Burstein. Without forgetting the two retrospectives organised for this edition, one on the origins of Moroccan documentary cinema and the other on works that have been prepared around the life of the rivers.
We’ve got everything ready for the festival, and we now simply have to wait —although I have no doubt about this— for the audience’s response, our loyal audience which follows Punto de Vista with interest, year after year. Because, if there is one thing that is clear to us, it is that the general public shows an interest in all high quality cultural events, such as this festival. And, finally, I would like to thank the entities and institutions that have once again worked with and supported Punto de Vista because, without their assistance and presence, it would not have been possible to reach eighteen editions. Enjoy the festival! Rebeca Esnaola Bermejo, Minister for Culture and Sports, Government of Navarra
So that they can see us, in the past
The festival is commencing a new stage. Over the last few months, I have been thinking about what this might mean from the limited perspective of someone who has just joined the project. It makes me think about Hannah Arendt, who said that human beings were more heirs than creators. This might seem like a simple idea, but I think its reasoning is valuable, particularly at a time when it seems that each individual’s initiative has to be constantly declared, while there are urgent challenges that require us to find ways of coming together while remaining aware of what we have received. To put it another way: Punto de Vista has reached its sixteenth edition. It emerged as part of the movement that, through a documentary approach, aspired to renew cinema in the early 2000s, and ever since, it has been making adjustments without straying from its initial course. I think that it was spot on from the start, and so I am happy to announce that the structure of this year’s event will not differ too much from previous editions. There are new sections and names, a series of programmes proposed by the current festival team, although I’d like to think that its energy and foundations remain intact. It is inevitable to wonder about the meaning of festivals, considering what cinema is going through right now. There is more sense to festivals, in my opinion, when they can move beyond the present day. When they produce something at a different pace, on another scale, beyond the whirlwind of the here and now. Moving beyond the present can doubtlessly look to the future but also, and necessarily, to the past at the same time. This year, our Official Selection and the parallel selections, in their own right, will show films by filmmakers (notably women) who have been close to the festival from the outset, who in one way or another have grown up with it, firstly as spectators and later as creators. It is not the first time that this has happened, but it is a possible sign of the relevance that begins by working against the grain in the present, bearing fruit at a later date. These productions with a long-term effect also include books. It is a real delight for Punto de Vista to be able to continue publishing a book every year. What publication might be most opportune at this point? Our answer was La séptima puerta, the history of cinema in Morocco that the great filmmaker and writer Ahmed Bouanani left unpublished when he died and that only saw the light of day in his country thirty years later, in 2020, thanks to the endeavours of Touda Bouanani, who will visit us to talk about her work with the Bouanani Archives. Such is the importance of her task and of that book, that from it —and not the other way around as is usually the case— derives the retrospective cycle featuring in our programming: Who Will Tell the Story? Beginnings of Documentary Film in Morocco, curated by Omar Berrada, literary editor of the book, along with the filmmaker and researcher Ali Essafi, and organised thanks to support from the Centre Cinématographique Marocain. This long-term ripple-effect plan can also be seen in our recent joint project with the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola to digitalise two Moroccan documentaries that had remained practically invisible until now, within the research driven by Léa Morin.
The second retrospective this year is Meeting on the River, brilliantly curated by Miriam Martín. It is a “walkable” retrospective, as described by Miriam, because it is not only devised so that we can watch a film but so that we head back into the world with a different view, enthusiastic to walk it and study it. Pamplona and Navarre are places that, like so many others, have been arranged around rivers. Like everywhere else, rivers here have been exploited, cared for, diverted, poeticised, and cinema has acknowledged this. However, rivers also have their own lives, aside from our species, and nor has that entirely escaped the attention of films. Miriam’s programming reminds us, as only very precise work manages to do, that the films, in their fullness, are connected by long chains of meaning. As Walter Benjamin taught us, a piece of art on its own is like a single link in a chain, a closed ring whose destination is unknown. However, if the ring is linked with others, included in the long chain to which it secretly belongs, it recovers its meaning. It is those connections that Meeting on the River tends to in the very finest detail, not only by linking together the films and programmes but through its guests in interviews with Miriam during some of the sessions, and an excursion to the River Arga to be organised on one day of the festival. Let’s go back to Hannah Arendt’s phrase. I’d like to think that the way in which we have approached the retrospective on the early days of documentary cinema in a neighbouring country like Morocco, victim of a long colonial treatment by Spain, reflects this budding way of dealing with an uncomfortable and yet essential inheritance to understand our recent history. Meeting on the River also wishes to make us understand those indescribable creatures that are rivers as a splendid gift that we cannot continue to waste, ignore or misunderstand. The same goes for the rest of the projections and public activities from the other sections, including the Official Selection. The moment of creation or construction is not possible without knowledge of its history, without assuming the inheritance of a past that is so remote, it seems to fall right out of time. Documentary film, film in general, is an extraordinary tool for this. “What is the relation of the dead to what has not yet happened, to the future?” wondered John Berger in his Twelve Theses on the Economy of the Dead. The relation of the future to the dead that we tend to situate, a little naively, in the past. He answered himself, like an echo: “All the future is the construction in which their ‘imagination’ is engaged.” Manuel Asín, Punto de Vista Artistic Director
The image for this edition, designed by Franziska, takes its inspiration from a boat race in Roncesvalles, from the Esca river and the waters of the Arga. A transformational, natural, local theme that is reflected in one of the retrospectives of the festival (Meeting on the River) and that is graphically expressed through a lensshaped visual resource: sequential images, divided into strips, that are interlaced to generate a certain effect of movement; two shots in one. For the design, three pairs of stereoscopic images loaned by the Archive of Navarra were used. The image is complemented with a series of animated stereoscopic headers created by Estampa, which will be present on the screens at the festival.
10 Franziska is a studio founded in Navarra in 2009, specialising in editorial design, branding and advertising. Its work system, based on the creation of specific teams according to each project, and under the creative direction of Ainciburu and Morón, has enabled it to undertake commissions for clients from many different areas: Government of Navarra / Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao, Oteiza Museum, Azkuna Zentroa, Artium Museoa, Huarte Centre / Caja Rural de Navarra, Triodos Bank, Kutxa Fundazioa / Faustino Group / Zabala Innovation, AIN, Procesia, PRS / Steve Mono, Babaà. Among other accolades, it has received awards in competitions such as Graphis (New York), German Design Awards (Frankfurt), Fedrigoni Top Award (Milan), JCDecaux Spain and DNA Paris Design Awards.
Stereoscopic photography was a medium that was more important and common than what is generally remembered. This is evidenced by extensive commercial and private collections that are held in the archives. The fact that this medium includes a particular viewing device —the stereoscopic viewer, which is needed to give a 3D image— gives it a character that is something between photography and audiovisual techniques, antique yet contemporary. In the viewer, the photographs lose their physicality of objects to take on an intangible presence. The festival headers have retrieved stereoscopic images from the archives of the Photographic Library of Navarra. The three-dimensional device is recreated thanks to the frame-by-frame succession of the two images of each pair, just like a flicker. In this way, the photography regains its sense and form. It is in this imaginary relief that they are present as they were. Instead of a single header, a multi-header format was selected. This makes it possible to recreate the source of the images, an archive, and the fact that they are part of a collection. If each image has its own particular fascination then, as a set, they echo each other and multiply their effects. They are the echoes and relationships of juxtaposition, whether this be in the archive in which they are held or the setting in which they are exhibited.
11 Estampa is an artistic group of filmmakers, programmers and investigators, working in the areas of experimental audiovisual techniques and digital environments. Its work is based on a critical and archaeological approach to audiovisual and digital technology, making it possible to understand how it works, its uses and its construction as a discursive object. The last few years have seen the implementation of different projects regarding the uses and ideologies of artificial intelligence and its influence on contemporary visual culture, in experimental artistic pieces such as El mal alumno. Pedagogía crítica para inteligencias artificiales (2017-2018) or at installations such as Auspicios (2019) or Especies marcianas (2021), among others. The group’s work also includes experimental animation pieces (such as En la colonia penitenciaria, 2010) and video-essay (the latest being The Process of Seeing, 2020, and Qué es lo que ves, YOLO9000?, 2019).
The Official Selection revolves around the international competition that on this occasion comprises eight short films and ten feature films competing for the festival’s three prizes: the “Punto de Vista” Grand Prize for the Best Film, the Jean Vigo Prize for the Best Director and the prize for Best Short Film. Furthermore, this year the Official Selection includes three films out of competition: its opening session —the world premiere of Los caballos mueren al amanecer, by Ione Atenea—; its closing session, —Spanish premiere of Charm Circle, by Nira Burstein—; and the latest film by a master of contemporary documentary cinema, Kazuo Hara: Minamata Mandala —also a Spanish premiere.
Official Selection Jury
Marina Vinyes Albes. She has a PhD in Visual Arts from Sorbonne Université. She holds a degree in Humanities, specialising in Contemporary Film and Audiovisual Studies at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and in the Design of Cultural Projects at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle. Since February 2020, she is the Head of Programming, Exhibitions and Educational Services at Filmoteca de Catalunya. In Paris, she was a professor at the Faculté des Lettres of the Sorbonne and has worked at the Department of Artistic Projects of the Jeu de Paume, where she curated a number of film seasons between 2013 and 2018 as well as the video installations exhibition Omer Fast. Le present continue. In Barcelona, she has worked with the CCCB (Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona), the EUROM (The European Observatory on Memories), the Open City Thinking Biennale, the ICUB (Institute of Culture of Barcelona), the Loop festival and the “la Caixa” Foundation in the organisation of seminars, exhibitions, film programmes and other cultural events. In 2013 she was awarded the Walter Benjamin International Prize for her essay Usos y abusos de la imagen en el universo audiovisual de la Shoah (published by Documenta Universitària, 2015).
Roger Koza. Member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). He writes as a film critic for the daily newspaper La Voz del Interior (Cordoba, Argentina) and regularly publishes in the Ñ y Quid magazines and on the Con los ojos abiertos website. He is the author of the book Con los ojos abiertos: crítica de cine de algunas películas recientes (published by Editorial Brujas, 2004). He is currently hosting the TV program El cinematógrafo and is the presenter of Filmoteca (Televisión Pública de Argentina). He is a programmer of Vitrina —the section dedicated to Latin American films of the International Film Festival of Hamburg— and of the Viennale International Film Festival. Since 2014 he is the artistic director at the Festival Internacional de Cine de Cosquín and, since 2018, at the Doc Buenos Aires. He has been on the panel of judges of a number of international film festivals such as Locarno, Rotterdam, FICValdivia and Ohlar de Cinema, among others.
Christopher Small. Christopher Small is a writer, filmmaker, and programmer, originally from the United Kingdom but living in Prague. He is the principal curator of DAFilms, the VOD platform of the festival association Doc Alliance, and the Project Manager of the Locarno Critics Academy, a respected workshop in film criticism that runs during Locarno Film Festival. From 2019 to 2021, he was a programmer at Sheffield Doc/Fest, and curated the festival’s 2020 retrospective, Reimagining the Land. He is also the programmer-at-large at Kino Petrohradská, a Prague-based independent cinema. His first feature film, Communists!, premiered in competition at BAFICI in March 2021 and has gone on to show at festivals in Mexico, Spain, and Russia. As a writer, his work has appeared in several anthologies of film criticism as well as regularly in numerous international publications, including Cinema Scope, Filmmaker Magazine, Film Comment, La Vida Útil, Kapitál Noviny, Cineaste, and MUBI Notebook. His writing has been translated into Czech, Slovak, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. He is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents and a member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI).
918 GAU Arantza Santesteban Spain, 2021, 66 min, DCP, colour, Basque Cinematography Maddi Barber / Sound Alazne Amestoy / Editing Mariona Solé / Production Marian Fernández Pascal (Txintxua Films), Marina Lameiro (Hiruki Filmak) / Selected filmography 918 GAU (2021), Lilularen Kontra (2021), Euritan (2017), Gorputz Grafiak (2015), Passatgeres (2012) / Doclisboa, Torino Film Festival, L’Alternativa, Novos Cinemas
Arantza Santesteban is dictating into a voice recorder. She is recounting her recollections. The first: the day on which she was arrested for membership of an outlawed political party which supported Basque independence, at a time when open conversations were being held with ETA and some political parties with the intention of putting an end to the conflict. It was on 4th October 2007. 918 were the number of nights that she spent in prison. More than two and a half years. The recollections narrated by Santesteban are full of details: the pattern of a carpet, sweat, a desire to smile, to roar with laughter. The narrative is constructed in such a way that the spectator gets the feeling of experiencing the situation first-hand. The scenes of the filmmaker recording her voice and narrating fragments of her recollections are combined with different documents: the court order, photos, letters. The documents are scanned, as if they also had to go through a process in order to reach the present and serve to recollect. Santesteban’s own voice accompanies these archival materials but we could say that it is a second voice. Different from the first one. The one on the recorder. This second voice establishes a necessary distance. Finally, the staged scenes: two women having sex, a girl dancing techno in a poorly lit discotheque, another girl walking through a wood, calling to the birds who land on her hands. Who are these women? Are they also part of Santesteban’s recollection? Other lives that she may have had? Are all these personalities combined into one? The different film devices that come into play make up a fragmented film in which the director achieves something that has never been done before: she addresses the issue of the Basque conflict from first-hand experience, transmitted from complexity and doubt. And, finally, the silence comes. Lur Olaizola
Baleh-baleh Pascale Bodet France, 2020, 50 min, DCP, colour, French Spanish premiere Cinematography Pascale Bodet / Sound Benjamin Laurent / Editing Pascale Bodet, Agnès Bruckert, Serge Bozon / Music Olaf Hund / Production Pascale Bodet, Les Films du Carry (Michèle Soulignac) / Selected filmography Baleh-baleh (2021), Nearly a Century (2019), No Key (2018), The Art (2015), SixPiece Suit(e) (2012), The Square of Fortune (2010) / Cinéma du réel, BAFICI, Côté Court Festival
A baleh-baleh is a canopy bed. It’s a luxury. Something desirable, perhaps. It is also a word that appears in an Asian tale that Pascale Bodet, the filmmaker, gave to a friend. A tale full of metamorphosis. A tale about the desire for power. A tale from another time and another place, in the hands of a man from France and in this present time. A tale that, when this man found it, made him talk and made him think. What does it mean to truly find a tale or a story? It unleashes questions in us. Questions that we ask ourselves in solitude and questions that we ask others, and that others ask us. Questions about the tale and questions about ourselves. Questions, for example, about work. About earning one’s living. About feeling like a stonecutter, a rich person, king, or sun. About living or surviving. About the logic of desires. All this is Baleh-baleh, a film of questions. A portrait, too. A portrait of a man with a story in his hands and various stories in his life. The encounter of this man with three women. What we can guess about them and their stories, past and future, while they also think of this tale. Or perhaps not. It may be something else. He’s over there somewhere, rebellious, small, silent, a puppy. Perhaps Baleh-baleh is simply the story of a puppy. Of a puppy without a story. Or perhaps, as in the tale, it is everything in succession, a film with stories and a film without a story. An invitation to think stonecutter, rich man, king, but also sun, cloud, stone. Pablo García Canga
Los caballos mueren al amanecer Ione Atenea Spain, 2022, 80 min, DCP, colour, SpanishCatalan-English Out of competition Opening ceremony World premiere Cinematography Ione Atenea / Sound Jordi Ribas / Editing Diana Toucedo / Production Hiruki Filmak, Zazpi T´erdi, Ione Atenea, Garazi Erburu, Iñaki Sagastume / Selected filmography Los caballos mueren al amanecer (2022), Enero (2019), 24/07 (2016)
At least two ways of making films come together here. The first is the film made by Ione Atenea in search of the three brothers and sisters who left the vestiges of their lives in a little house in Vallcarca, and the second is the one that these brothers and sisters —Antonio, Rosita and Juanito— thought up in order to give full rein to their unbridled interests and creativity. The eldest brother earned his living as a cartoonist for the Bruguera publishing company, the sister started a career as an opera singer, while the younger brother appears not to have had any career at all, something which also requires talent. They always lived together and one of their interests was to recreate scenes from Westerns, which we assume they did in the non-urbanised areas around Barcelona. Rosita was a consummate horsewoman and the neighbourhood children used to be dazzled when they saw her appear unexpectedly, mounted on the back of a sleek horse. On their death, the hundreds of photos they took of these films with no audience, the scripts and stories they wrote, the recordings of their collaborations on the radio, as well as huge collections of comics and records, remained shut away and forgotten until the appearance of some unexpected heiresses: the film director Ione Atenea and her friends. When they entered the abandoned house, they began to suspect that there was a sense to those objects that had lost their owners. And so, as if it were a collage, Atenea composes a portrait of these individuals, who are not exactly unknown, and offers us two axioms as if they were stolen from a Western set: that horses die at daybreak and that, when someone wants to shoot a film, they always end up finding a way to do so. Bárbara Mingo Costales
The Capacity for Adequate Anger Vika Kirchenbauer Germany, 2021, 15 min, DCP, colour, English Spanish premiere Cinematography, sound, editing, production Vika Kirchenbauer / Selected filmography The Capacity for Adequate Anger (2021), Untitled Sequence Of Gaps (2020),The Island Of Perpetual Tickling (2018), Welcome Address (2017), She Whose Blood Is Clotting In My Underwear (2016), You Are Boring! (2015), Please Relax Now (2014), Like Rats Leaving A Sinking Ship (2012) / Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal, Doclisboa, Viennale, Pravo Ljudski Film Festival
An artist is preparing her first solo exhibition. She produces a short film for the occasion. A film which reflects on where she is and also where she comes from. A film made of photos and cartoons. Mostly of photos. Stills. And, between the stills, almost always, a black screen. A film made in part, almost without us realising it, with no images. A discontinuous film. A film made of discontinuities and about discontinuities. The discontinuity between the artist’s present and past. Between her family and herself. Between her and herself. Between what was her social class and what is now her class. Between what she wants to speak about and what she can speak about. Between her childhood in a village dreaming of becoming an athlete or designing fashion to escape from there, and her present as an artist who came out of there. Between what she feels (shame, anxiety, irritation) and what she thinks she ought to feel (indignation, anger). The artist’s narration, soft, with a unique rhythm, seeks, perhaps, to express what cannot be found in the images, continuities between worlds, between past and present. It seeks a meaning or, at least, some meanings. Meaning is, perhaps, a form of continuity, something that makes it possible to move from one image to another, to jump over the discontinuity that separates them. But perhaps there are no meanings or solutions in this film. Perhaps it is just, personal, made of details, fragments, vulnerabilities, contradictions, a story. Pablo García Canga
Charm Circle Nira Burstein USA, 2021, 79 min, DCP, colour, English Out of competition Closing night Spanish premiere Cinematography Nira Burstein / Sound Tristan Baylis / Editing Michael Levine, Nira Burstein / Music Uri Burstein / Production Nira Burstein, Betsy Laikin / Selected filmography Charm Circle (2021), Gangrenous (2020), Off & Away (2014), I Said Light (2012), The Light House (2011) / Sheffield Doc/Fest, Valdivia International Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Doclisboa, DOC NYC, Festival dei Popoli
Charm is the power to please or delight, but it can also be a talisman, an amulet to bring good luck (like the breakfast cereal, a lucky charm). Charm Circle is also a place in New York, a part of Queens. The entire Burstein family, three daughters and their parents, once lived in a house there; a very charming family, although their fate has been somewhat more complex. As Fabián Casas wrote: everything that rots forms a family. This film both supports and counters such an idea, focussing as much on the dysfunctional present of this group of people as it does on the converging lines of their past which have taken the form of a debacle. The Bursteins are about to lose their house to the bank. The bank, as always in American movies (and life), is the owner of everything. And so Charm Circle is a melodrama which knows that real life also comes from a long tradition of family melodramas in which the house, as it falls, tries to take its inhabitants along with it. It’s also a musical, so as everything collapses, resistance sings. Between intimate conversations in the form of interviews and records of a past in which everything was new and worked, the film advances with its storylines. On the one hand the bank, on the other the wedding. One of the daughters is about to get married, a new family emerges from a polyamorous marriage of three. In the midst of it all, the eldest of the sisters, Nira (that midpoint between five people) puts together this catharsis-exorcism, a meticulously constructed home video dedicated to the entire world from her rotunda, in which her entire family is like the characters from a sitcom who have grown too quickly, and all the acidity which comes with old wit lays bare not just the deepest frustration but also the warmest sweetness. Lucía Salas
Evangelio mayor Javier Codesal Spain, 2021, 138 min, DCP, colour, Spanish World premiere Cinematography Javier Codesal / Sound Julia Sieiro, Manuel Benedí / Editing Javier Codesal, Julia Sieiro / Production Julia Sieiro, Javier Codesal / Selected filmography Evangelio mayor (2021), Calavera resumida (2020), Evangelio en Granada (Meta) (2019), Testimonio de Frederman (2019) / Film produced within the framework of the “la Caixa” Foundation’s Support for Creation programme
Evangelio mayor is almost entirely shot in a building which was being renovated in Madrid between 2019 and 2020 to house the Josete Massa LGTBIQ+ public residential care home for the elderly, the first of its kind in the world. The film takes advantage of the site under transformation to stage two things. The first is the lucid and harsh testimony of Ramón Barreiro, struck by AIDS in the early eighties and a survivor after many years of struggle and serious aftereffects. The second, a series of dialogues taken from the four Gospels (especially John’s), in which elderly members of the LGTBIQ+ community cite “the old words anew and in a new way”, as one of the notices which can be read at the beginning of the film states. These brief scenes, a succession of tableaux which translate, paraphrase or gloss many of the episodes from the Gospels are designed to be “innocent among the innocent, blasphemous for the Pharisaic”. Provocation is by no means the primary intention behind showing them; nor are they composed of irony. Rather, the film understands that the biblical text, as the basis for rituals and stories shared by generations, is a vast framework or great code which can be harnessed dramatically. This is what happens in Evangelio mayor, where the episodes from the Gospel serve to symbolise content which is as anti-doctrinal as the experience of life and death of LGTBIQ+ people, and particularly of the most vulnerable among them, the elderly. “Thou art a Man, God is no more, thy own humanity learn to adore,” William Blake wrote in The Everlasting Gospel two hundred and fifty years ago. The people we see, hear and feel with materialised sensuality in Evangelio mayor go even further than Blake, for they urge us to admire the vivacity of their bodies and the warmth of their words beyond an incomplete adoration of the species and its timeworn genders. Manuel Asín
Film balkonowy Paweł Łoziński Poland, 2021, 100 min, DCP, colour, Polish Spanish premiere Cinematography Paweł Łoziński / Sound Paweł Łoziński, Franciszek Kozlowski / Editing Paweł Łoziński, Piasek & Wójcik / Music Jan Duszynski / Production Agnieszka Mankiewicz / Łoziński Production / Selected filmography Film balkonowy (2021), You Have No Idea How Much I Love You (2016), Father and Son (2013), Kici, kici (2008), A Woman From Ukraine (2002), The Way It Is (1999), Sisters (1999), Birthplace (1992) / Locarno Film Festival, IDFA, DOK Leipzig, Jih.lava IDFF, True/False Film Festival, ZagrebDox – International Documentary Film Festival, DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival
People are passing by in the street under the balcony of Paweł Łoziński’s home in Warsaw. A few walk calmly, others hurry along, some simply wander around. They may be taking a stroll with their sons and daughters, late for work or an appointment, returning home tired out, or taking their pets out. All these people are at different times in their life, with different desires, aims and goals, each with their own particular view of existence, some have reflected on this more than others. This Polish filmmaker (who already took part in the Official Selection of Punto de Vista in 2009 with the film Kici, Kici) watches the passers-by from up on his balcony and decides to interrupt their walk and ask them a few questions. Entrenched on his balcony for more than two years, Łoziński dedicated his time to approaching his neighbours, complete strangers and even his own wife and asking them point blank questions about the meaning of life. We listen to their unexpected replies, intimate declarations, banalities, philosophical reflections and even some insults. There are some very fleeting appearances and also recurring characters, and all of them weave a tapestry of human experiences, building up small stories that sometimes rhyme and interact. While remaining in one place, Film balkonowy focuses on getting to know others through the camera, in some way thanks to the camera itself, highlighting the power of the cinema to bring us closer to others. An illuminating film, light at times and serious at others, a film that looks outwards, precisely at a time when we have shut ourselves away from the world. Miguel Zozaya
Guerra Marta Ramos, José Oliveira Portugal, 2020, 104 min, DCP, colour, Portuguese Spanish premiere Cinematography José António Loureiro, Manuel Pinto Barros, Pedro Bessa / Sound Felipe Zenícola, Bernardo Theriaga / Editing José Oliveira, Marta Ramos / Production Abel Ribeiro Chaves, José Oliveira, Marta Ramos / Selected filmography Paz (2021), Guerra (2020), 35 anos depois, O movimento das coisas (2014), O Atirador (2013), Times Are Changing, Not Me (2012), Sem Abrigo (2012) / Doclisboa, Mostra Internacional de Cinema de São Paulo, Porto/Post/Doc, MDOC - Festival Internacional de Documentário de Melgaço
To which war does the title allude? The initial response would be the Portuguese colonial war in Africa (1961-1974), the one which has hit several generations who still live, dream, work and die in both geographies, and whose memory is still far from complete today. The anecdotes about that war which run around Portugal, the small or great traumatic stories which people tell or keep to themselves nourish the plot of this film, conceived, walked, talked and written by José Lopes, its leading actor, along with José Oliveira, who co-directed it with Marta Ramos. And who is, or rather who was José Lopes? It’s impossible not to wonder when you see Guerra. Few presences have been more intense and moving than his. To begin with, José Lopes here is his character, Manuel, alias “Manecas”, a war veteran who lives, walks and dreams —nightmares more than anything— in Lisbon, who has a partner from whom he distances himself and a son who is better than him. He also has a mother, in the cemetery, whom he goes to see at night to recount the events of the day. And ghosts all around: his brothers in arms above all, the veterans he meets to eat, drink, sing and cry, all present though not all alive anymore. But there is a second meaning to that same title, a meaning which points to the permanence of all wars: yesterday’s wars, today’s wars, every day’s wars. Ones which have nothing to do with Manecas but with Zé Lopes and with everyone. These are the other wars that the film condenses, structures, elides, symbolises, spatialises, temporalises. Ana, the psychologist, says it in one of the most extraordinary sequences of the film, all overlapping words and images, while we listen to coffee filtering (coffee!): “You fled to Africa, you got on a boat, months and months, you killed, you saw people die... And did you come back a changed man? You died a thousand times, they killed you a thousand times, you killed a thousand times... Salazar? The blacks? The world? The money? You?”. Manuel Asín
Minamata Mandala Kazuo Hara
Between 1938 and 1968, the Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory, located in Minamata Bay, on the west coast of Japan, discharged mercury-laden wastewater into the Shiranui Sea. As early as the 1940s, the residents of the fishing villages in this area, who depended on the sea for their livelihood, began to contract a disease with symptoms that included seizures, paralysis, and sensory impairment, leading sometimes to death. In the late 1950s, the Minamata disease was officially recognised as a neurological disorder caused by the consumption of methylmercury accumulated in the food chain. It took over a decade and numerous legal actions filed by the victims, supported by an important social activist movement, for the courts to indict Chisso for their negligence and responsibility in the poisoning. In the following decades victims have been entangled in endless litigation processes, discussions over the certification of the disease and their right to compensation. The social and political aspects of what happened in Minamata have been documented by, among others, Tsuchimoto Noriaki, who developed a remarkable work of advocacy for these communities, directing a long and committed series of films shot over a period of forty years. Director Hara Kazuo follows in the footsteps of Tsuchimoto, to whom this film is dedicated, by looking carefully at “how the neglectful attitude of the government and the politics
Japan, 2020, 372 min, DCP, colour, Japanese Out of competition Spanish premiere Cinematography Kazuo Hara, Noa Nagaoka / Sound Takeshi Ogawa/ Editing Takeshi Hata / Music T 80 Chochek by D.K. Heroes / Production Koji Namikoshi, Sachiko Kobayashi, Kazuo Hara, Noa Nagaoka, Chihiro Shimano / Selected filmography Minamata Mandala (2020), Reiwa Uprising (2019), Sennan Asbestos Disaster (2017), The Many Faces of Chika (2005), A Dedicated Life (1994), The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 (1974), Goodbye CP (1972) / Shanghai International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, IFFR, Sheffield Doc/Fest
affect the people in their hearts.” Shot and edited over a period of fifteen years, the film engages with a group of people fighting yet another court case against the local authorities and addresses the complex questions —personal, political, and scientific— that define this environmental issue. The long duration of the film is essential to sharing something vital about the experience and lives of these people and about the protracted nature of a problem that has afflicted these communities for so long and which concerns us all. Minamata Mandala is a profound and urgent reflection on the legacy of the Minamata struggles and an indictment of the authorities’ systemic failure to protect the people affected by the disease. Hara, known for his hard-hitting documentaries about the struggle of individuals opposing the establishment, draws a portrait of a collective struggle, praising “the fighting spirit of everyday people”. Ricardo Matos Cabo
Mille cipressi Luca Ferri Italy, 2021, 13 min, DCP, colour, Italian Spanish premiere Cinematography Paolo Arnoldi / Editing Andrea Miele / Production Lab 80 film / Selected filmography Mille cipressi (2021), Sì (2020), La casa dell’amore (2020), Pierino (2018), Dulcinea (2018), Abacuc (2014), Habitat [Piavoli] (2013), Ecce Ubu (2012) / International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Pesaro Film Festival
“The centimetre is arid.” Mille cipressi is a short film in which we hear this strange remark and, when we hear it, it seems obvious to us. It is a film that is shot almost completely in a tomb. The Brion tomb. A tomb erected during the seventies, the work of the Venetian architect, Carlo Scarpa. A film in which we can also listen to a lecture delivered at a conference by Scarpa himself. A lecture in which there are remarks such as the one about the centimetre. Also remarks on materials. On construction problems. On the possibility of classicism in the present. And, also: “If architecture is good, then the person listening to it and seeing it feels its benefits without realising it”. This is a film in which, while hearing these remarks, we see details of the tomb, shot with the warmth and slightly myopic attention of the super-8. We see light, water, lines, surfaces and openings. We see that the water is light and is surface. We see that, in its reflection, the water opens the surfaces and makes the lines dance. We see that, in this same way, the light traces lines and opens surfaces. We see triangular shapes, right angles and strange, broken circles. We see Scarpa’s work, detail by detail, work of light and time, a beauty which we do not completely understand and yet in some way perhaps, we find beneficial. A beauty which makes us eager to be precise and attentive. And meanwhile, silently, humanly, a figure, also precise in its way, walks through this space. Pablo García Canga
Narciso Julio Fermepin Argentina, 2020, 30 min, DCP, colour, Spanish Spanish premiere
I’m here today, I’m leaving tomorrow, The next day, Where will I be?
Cinematography Julio Fermepin / Sound Juan Bernardis (Bum!Audio) / Production Ferme Films, Universidad del Cine / Selected filmography Narciso (2020), Luis Saenz Peña 1807 / BAFICI, Tranås at the Fringe Festival, Resistenza Analogica
The indigenous community of the Hornaditas lives in the well-known valley on the Río Grande, in the Argentinian province of Jujuy, which provides access to the altiplano that is the Quebrada de Humahuaca. Narciso is in charge of the water the community uses and walks around the valley digging and checking irrigation channels. Julio Fermepin accompanies him with his 16mm camera, recording the intense colours of his days. What is a valley if not an oasis in the midst of so much aridity? Everything is exaggerated in this space, even the green of the apples, in a shot where you can sense their sweet tartness. Finding himself accompanied by the filmmaker, Narciso provides a small self-portrait in which he first shows all his typical things (llamas and cactuses, real and plastic flowers, dried corn to make flour, the Argentinean flag waving in the air). The atypical is yet to come when he begins to speak not to the filmmaker but to a future audience as if it were actually there, as if he was being followed around by a group of people. Narciso also sets his routes to music for us with ballads, carnavalitos and chacareras. At one point, he shares the story of his auto-stone, a machine with which to travel all over the world, like this film, and like the lyrics of this carnavalito by Tarateño Rojas: A letter you will receive, A portrait I will send you, But my person, You will never see. Lucía Salas
Nenad Mladen Bundalo Bosnia and HerzegovinaBelgium, 2020, 22 min, DCP, colour, French-Serbian Spanish premiere Cinematography Mladen Bundalo / Sound Nebojša Marić, Jeanne Debarsy / Editing Dhyaa Joda, Lou Vercelletto / Music [machina] / Production Pierre-Louis Cassou for La tangente / Selected filmography Nenad (2020), Why do you want to marry? (2015) / Sarajevo Film Festival, IDFA, Norwegian Short Film Festival, European Film Festival Palic, Mediterranean Film Festival Split, GoShort
After living in Belgium for 13 years, Mladen Bundalo still thinks of Bosnia as home. Is there an option which is neither leaving nor staying? Maybe it’s going back home to shoot films from time to time, even if you do it in the language spoken in the country where you pay your taxes. Nenad is about options and versions, about the number 3, which they say is the lucky number. But luck is not the same everywhere. In Nenad, the chaos of Bosnia is explained in groups of three. Three languages, three ethnicities, three presidents. The third option between east and west, the diminished option. How lucky is the ham in a sandwich? The middle brother? A point that is neither A nor B? This film’s quest is that of a third option which, if not superior, at least strikes a balance. While thinking what perhaps all migrants think, Bundalo meets Nenad, a 30-year-old man like himself who intends to emigrate to Slovenia. He spends time with him at home, at work (a train repair factory), in the bar and with his friends, who seem to belong to them both. What to do with the country that has befallen you? With the class that has befallen you, the time that has befallen you, which is one with no work, no family, no home, one made only of time to fill. Still and moving images coexist in the film, a distortion of time which is something like being and not being there, a coming and going which becomes a machine for constantly turning out memories for the future, which will continue to occur far away, in a country where the water is different and, so, as the Bosnians say, generates a disorder in the body like that in the photos, which is the origin of sorrow. Lucía Salas
No hay regreso a casa Yaela Gottlieb Peru-Argentina, 2021, 71 min, DCP, colour, Spanish European premiere
— Yae, tell me the truth. You think I’m a fascist, don’t you? Almost a Nazi, right? — A tiny bit.
Cinematography César Guardia Alemañi / Music Ivan Caplan / Production Puré Cine, Pasajera Cine / Selected filmography No hay regreso a casa (2021), Pasaporte alemán (2020) / Festival de Cine de Lima, Festival de Cine de Trujillo, Festival Al Este Colombia
Robert and Yaela, the director of the film. Father and daughter. He’s in Peru, and she’s in Buenos Aires. At the age of 25, Yaela is combining her search for work with investigation into her father’s past. The film is a series of conversations which reveal an antagonistic ideology. Robert’s mother emigrated to Israel after spending three years in Auschwitz during World War II and seeing the growth of anti-Semitism in Oradea, her home town in Romania. Robert is a Zionist. His daughter seems to want to reconstruct her father’s past to continue conversing. “Is Judaism a nationality? Is there more than one kind of Zionism? Are they like the gypsies? Are we like the gypsies? Is Ben Gurion a hero or a war criminal? Are Israeli Arabs Palestinians? What is a secular state? What does it mean to be Jewish? Just a religion? What is Zionism? Does Zionism segregate? Can you be a Jew without being a Zionist?” Yaela has a lot of questions. The film shows the director’s investigation, the journey she takes trying to understand her father. It makes use of a range of materials: the computer screen, mobile phone pictures, video calls, notebooks with sketches, tracings, the film script itself, homemade imagery. Lur Olaizola
Podul de Piatrâ/Pont de pedra Artur-Pol Camprubí Spain, 2021, 18 min, DCP, colour, CatalanRomanianSpanish
Podul de Piatrâ is a Romanian song that goes as follows:
Cinematography Artur-Pol Camprubí / Sound Sarah Romero / Editing Jaime Puertas / Music Sarah Romero / Production 15L FILMS, Carlota Coloma Artés / Selected filmography Podul de Piatrâ (2021) / Festival de San Sebastián, Festival Márgenes
The stone bridge collapsed The water came and took it away. We’ll build another one over the river, downstream, One that is stronger and more beautiful! We’ll build another one over the river, downstream, One that is stronger and more beautiful!
Podul de Piatrâ is also the title of a night film. The night sounds before its arrival. An animal starts to breathe and a lamp turns on. The animal is a horse. A mare. It has just given birth. The newborn foal is wrapped in a semi-transparent sac and it appears to be struggling to break out. It turns over. It needs to break through in order to come out into the world. Angelica observes the scene in silence. Angelica is a Romanian woman living in the village of Franja de Poniente and working at some stables. The Romanian song is coming from the television in her home, but the signal is distorted. Her husband will try and move the aerial to avoid interferences, but he will not be successful. This alteration affects Angelica and the entire film. Lur Olaizola
Les prières de Delphine Rosine Mbakam CameroonBelgium, 2021, 91 min, DCP, colour, PidginFrench Cinematography Rosine Mbakam / Sound Rosine Mbakam, Loïc Villiot / Editing Geoffroy Cernaix / Production Tândor Productions, Geoffroy Cernaix / Selected filmography Prisme (2021), Les prières de Delphine (2021), Cinetracts ’20 (2020), Chez Jolie Coiffure (2018), The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman (2016), You Will Be My Ally (2012), Mavambu, Portrait of the Congolese Sculptor Freddy Tsimba (2011), Les portes du passé (2011), Cadeau (2009) / Cinéma du réel, MoMa Doc Fortnight, True/False, Sheffield Doc/Fest, DokuFest Kosovo, IndieLisboa, Open City Documentary Film Festival, IDFA, Ji.hlava IDFF, Courtisane, RIDM
It is very difficult to talk about Delphine after seeing and listening to Delphine talk about herself, in a film that also specifically deals with the dignity and power of words when narrating one’s own story. A single space, her present apartment in Brussels, and a single protagonist, baring her soul to the camera of Rosine Mbakam, a compatriot who knew a very different country and life. Les prières de Delphine is a surprising example of joint creation in which empathy and understanding are necessarily directly proportional to emotional openness. In this intimate environment, Delphine recounts with courage and anger, with pain and humour, in an exorcism that becomes cathartic. Delphine had a tremendously difficult childhood in Cameroon. Following the death of her mother, with an irresponsible father in charge of his family, she was raped at the age of 13. Destined for prostitution, another dramatic event in her family made her life there untenable, and she ended up marrying a Belgian who was three times her age with the hope of finding a better life in Europe for her and her daughter, in search of that European dream that never arrives. Just like many others, Delphine is part of this generation of young African women who are crushed by our patriarchal societies and delivered to this western sexual colonisation as the only means of survival. Through her courage and strength, Delphine exposes these patterns of domination that continue to make prisoners of African women. Miguel Zozaya
Saturn and Beyond Declan Clarke Ireland, 2021, 60 min, DCP, colour, English Spanish premiere Cinematography Andreas Bunte, Jaro Waldeck, Declan Clarke / Sound Adam Asnan, Jamie Lemoine / Editing, production Declan Clarke / Selected filmography Saturn and Beyond (2021), The Hopeless End of a Great Dream (2016), Wreckage in May (2015), The Most Cruel of All Goddesses (2015), Group Portrait with Explosives (2014), We Are Not Like Them (2013), Cologne Overnight (2010) / FID Marseille, St. Petersburg International Science Film Festival
We learn many things in Saturn and Beyond. Everything begins like a treatise on a host of topics, at first disparate and then gradually interrelated. A refined presenter, none other than the filmmaker himself, instructs us on electricity, on the wonder that is gutta-percha, on the decisive role of Ireland in the development of wired and wireless telegraphy, on the desire rooted in the species to communicate over distance, about Morse and Marconi, about the first transoceanic flights, about Saturn and its rings, about the underground seas on one of its moons, about the electrical signals that run through the brain and, finally, about the relentless advance of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. All these themes link up in a logical manner through increasingly broad and intertwined correspondences, like in scientific method or cinematographic montage. And right then they begin to wane, to compose a more fragile figure: Alzheimer’s disease is also that of the filmmaker’s father, Paddy Clarke, an electrician by profession. Relics from Marconi’s day, the very ones he ingenuously gathered for Ireland’s first-ever albeit short-lived museum of broadcasting. The signals that Morse’s telegraph managed to send across the ocean from the westernmost tip of the island, electrical signals like the ones which were already failing to run through the museum director’s brain. The life which astronomers now look for with space probes in the water buried beneath the surface of one of Saturn’s moons, the life imperceptibly fading away in him. The planet’s rings, which one astronomer describes as the “natural end state of the collapse of a rotating cloud of debris”, not so different from the father’s wedding ring, which the son keeps in a cardboard box after his death. It is a characteristic of human beings to be everything to themselves and almost nothing to the whole. We call that brooding feeling of irrelevance melancholy. Manuel Asín
Self-Portrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM Mengqi Zhang China, 2021, 109 min, DCP, colour, Chinese Spanish premiere Cinematography Mengqi Zhang, Hong Fang, Qixuan Ding / Sound, editing, production Mengqi Zhang / Selected filmography SelfPortrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM (2021), Self-Portrait: Window in 47KM (2019), Zi Hua Xiang: 47 Gong Li Si Fen Ke Si (2018), Self-Portrait: Sphinx in 47KM (2017), Self-Portrait: Dreaming at 47KM (2013), Self Portrait: At 47KM (2012), Self-Portrait With Three Women (2011) / Busan International Film Festival, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Doclisboa
What is in a self-portrait? For the last ten years, Mengqi Zhang, the young dancer, choreographer and filmmaker from China, has been shooting films that embody this idea in their names. Nine of the ten films that she has made were shot in the village that is home to her father and grandfather, “KM 47”, a place to which she returns each winter. Her self-portraits seek the answers to all her questions in others. Her films have focussed on her mother, grandmother, elderly inhabitants of the village and their recollections of the great famine of 59, on death, birth, children and their desires. Her idea of identity is progressively traced between memory (geographical, historical and family) and her specific acts, something she brings with her to the village each winter and which after such a long time has started to change the landscape (knowledge of the cinema, dance, a public library and a monument to those who died during the famine, among other things). In Self-portrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM Mengqi wants to build a house on a hill, a cultural place to dance, read, draw and make films. She is accompanied by a group of girls who get together to think about what the house should be like and what it should hold. The girls already know many secrets of filming. They have their own techniques for staging and acting, and these are used to record the whole process. Some act as comedians, others as drivers, teachers, dancers. All are filmmakers. A film in which the first person charmingly dissolves into all these characters and into a historical memory to come, one that takes any shape that these girls may wish. Lucía Salas
Soy libre Laure Portier France-Belgium, 2021, 78 min, DCP, colour, French- Spanish Spanish premiere
“Arnaud is my little brother. One day I realized that he had grown up. He was born where people have no choices and he is trying to be what he should have been. Free.”
Cinematography Laure Portier / Sound Mikaël Barre / Editing Xavier Sirven / Music Martin Wheeler / Production Gaëlle Jones / Selected filmography Soy libre (2021), The Dog’s Eye (2019) / L´ACID Cannes, Brussels International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival
Now in his adolescence, at the start of the film, Arnaud sees himself trapped in his neighbourhood of social housing, which seems to force him to resign himself to a life with no future prospects, one in which going to prison “is just another stage. I’ll grow up and forget about it”. But he cannot forget it: from then onwards, his goal in life is to escape from this supposed determinism and to build a different story. Laure Portier narrates her brother’s odyssey in a portrait that is in fact a double one, because it is fundamentally a film about sibling relationships, by showing their own relationship and how it affects them (bringing them together and confronting each other), because she constructs it through the game of filming themselves, seeking to create a very strong bond between them. Not only is it a film about Arnaud, but with Arnaud, and when he takes the camera in his solitary trips, Soy libre takes on a different, new flight, starting from vagrancy and taking off to a new life in which we do not know how far it will go. A direct, very lively film, with room for tenderness, violence and hope. Miguel Zozaya
To Pick a Flower Shireen Seno The Philippines, 2021, 16 min, DCP, colour-B&W, English Spanish premiere Cinematography, sound, editing Shireen Seno / Production Shireen Seno, John Torres / Selected filmography To Pick a Flower (2021), Nervous Translation (2018), Big Boy (2012) / Open City Documentary Festival, New York Film Festival, DOK Leipzig, Singapur Film Festival
“During my investigation, I found the photo of a young bride posing outdoors for a portrait, but instead of the groom, a plant was by her side.” A slightly broken voice-over describes the photo that we can see on screen. Indeed, a young girl in her wedding gown is posing alongside a plant. The next still shown is very similar to the first: another woman posing alongside another plant. However, this time, it is not so clear whether she is a bride. As in the first case, the voice-over once more describes the woman. These two photos are part of the archival photographs from the American colonial occupation of the Philippines from 1898 to 1946 and the voice is Shireen Seno’s, the film director. Her voice accompanies the entire film, whose starting point is the interest in the relationship between plants and humans. Balete, eucalyptus, molave, salingbobog, tamarind. Different plants of the Philippines photographed, many at the side of a white settler dressed in white and “similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken”, in the words of the author. In other photos, beside the plants Philippine people are depicted with more humble clothing and always working. From her initial interest in the predatory attitude of human beings in relation to nature, the investigation gradually leads us to reflect on colonial capitalism in the Philippines and on photography itself. The filmmaker recounts how a friend told her that taking a photograph is like picking a flower. “It’s pretty and you’d like to pick it but, at the same time, you’re killing it. The camera allows us to cross this narrow line between life and death.” Lur Olaizola
Transparent, I am Yuri Muraoka Japan, 2020, 11 min, DCP, colour, Japanese Spanish premiere Cinematography, sound, editing Yuri Muraoka / Selected filmography Transparent, I am (2020), IDEA (2019), Transparent, the World Is (2019), Schizophrenia (2016) / International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Moscow Experimental Film Festival, Bogotá Experimental Film Festival, Athens Digital Arts Festival, Image Forum Festival 2021
A self-portrait. We see the filmmaker and, also, she makes us see how she sees. A woman who tells us of her time in hospitals and clinics and, also, without naming it, her mental illness. She tells us about looking at her hands and not seeing them because they have become transparent. About not being able to have any certainty regarding the outside world or her own existence. She talks of solitude but also of family and home, of the pain felt but also of the pain caused. She talks of loving remarks which are also terrible remarks. She talks about all of this and, at the end, despite the shortness of the film, we have learned a lot about this filmmaker. But as well as talking to us, she makes us see and she makes us feel. She makes us see to make us feel better. She gives shape to what she is and to the reality in which she lives. To share an uncertain reality, she creates an uncertain, changing form. This short film, in order to make us feel something that is so vast and boundless, is full of ideas, fragments of life, details, formal inventions, images in black and white and images in colour, drawings, animated painting, images recorded with a mobile phone, images that appear within the image, realistic images, fantastic images. This is the self-portrait of a woman who can say: “How will the world change the next time I open my eyes?” Pablo García Canga
untitled part 9: this time Jayce Salloum AfghanistanCanada, 2020, 6 min, DCP, colour, hazaragi European premiere Selected filmography untitled part 9: this time (2020), untitled part 2: Beauty and the East (2003), untitled part 1: everything and nothing (2001), This Is Not Beirut (There Was and There Was Not) (1994), Talaeen a Junuub (Up to the South) (1993), Introduction to the End of an Argument (1990) / IC Docs-Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival
In 1999, Jayce Salloum recorded the Lebanese resistance fighter Souha Bechara in her room in Paris, which was only slightly bigger than the cell she had just left after ten years in prison. Souha sits on the edge of her bed, looking into the eyes of someone who barely understands her when she speaks Arabic and gently muses for forty minutes, not necessarily about her time in prison. She wonders about things like why we put flowers in water after they’ve been cut. She smiles and sometimes openly laughs. This recording was the first in a series called untitled video tapes which Salloum has continued to shoot to this day. They are testimonies given in different parts of the world, at random, almost on a whim, a bit like cutting a flower. The filmmaker does not seem to have filmed them just for what the words they contain say. They are punctuated with silences, and the eyes of the interviewees sometimes widen until they occupy the whole screen, distracting from their speech. The ninth instalment of the series, very short and recorded in a rural school in Bumiyan, Afghanistan, shows four children telling jokes, taking turns to sing, as if in a television programme. The same character always features in the jokes: an ostensibly foolish little man called Nasreddin who is also actually wise in his own way. Can a documentary be just an ordinary, everyday gesture linked to life? Can a film be to the cinema what a joke is to literature as a whole? Can a filmmaker saw off the branch of the tree on which he is sitting? Nasreddin jokes have been part of a very long oral tradition for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. They have given rise to written collections, and similar characters can be found in many cultures around the world. Manuel Asín
PUNTO DE VISTA COLLECTION The Seventh Gate. A History of Cinema in Morocco from 1907 to 1986
Ahmed Bouanani (1938-2011), the author of extensive literary work, much of which has never been published, used to declare that he was only writing for himself and for a few friends. Hearing this, it could be argued that his four books published during his lifetime, were done so against his will. This is the only work that he explicitly wanted to be published, which Punto de Vista festival, in joint publication with Joaquín Gallego Editor, is now translating into Spanish. In 1987, a magazine called Nejma featured an unusual back cover. It carried an advertisement indicating that Bouanani was looking for a publisher for his three hundred page work on film in Morocco. As a filmmaker, he had become aware of the difficulty of freely producing films on a level with the historical challenge that his generation needed to face: How to show the Moroccans, who have just emerged from this long colonial night, an image of themselves that is fair, with no disrespect or complacency? Thirty years after independence, this matter needed to be urgently addressed. For Bouanani, the writing of this book stemmed from an intimate need to exercise responsibility, feeling that he had been called to do so. He rightly felt that no one else had written or would write this story. Unfortunately, the project was put to one side for a long time. After thirty-three years, The Seventh Gate has finally appeared, thanks to the combined efforts of a number of people dedicated to studying the work of Bouanani and to restoring the memory of Moroccan cinema. The Seventh Gate is a hybrid text of extraordinary drive. It is a history book that can be read as an adventure novel, the vibrating novel of a delivery that was full of obstacles, the unfinished delivery of a national cinema. It is, in short, an account of the enthusiastic search, with the complication of obstacles, for an art that can simultaneously honour the collective memory while shaping the images of a shared future.
Who Will Tell the Story? Beginnings of Documentary Film in Morocco
I do not claim to save Moroccan cinema by making a feature film, nor do I claim to make a masterpiece. (…) I actually proclaim my right to make bad movies, and this is not a joke. My only ambition —the ambition of all Moroccan filmmakers— is for the audience to get used to watching themselves on screen, to see their own problems being addressed and thus to be able to judge the society in which they live. Ahmed Bouanani, interview with Nour-Eddine Saïl, 1974
Ahmed Bouanani’s La Septième Porte [The Seventh Gate] finally came out in 2020, after 33 years as an unpublished manuscript. The dearth of accessible archives being an impediment to research, there are very few substantive books about Moroccan cinema. Therefore, although it was written in the 1980s, La Septième Porte remains a fundamental resource. In addition to his analytical rigor and beautiful writing, Bouanani knew most Moroccan filmmakers personally, and worked on many of their films, as an editor, advisor or script writer. Having worked at the CCM (the Moroccan Film Center) for decades, he was also familiar with the archive of European productions made during the colonial period. The Seventh Gate narrates the transformations of cinema in Morocco —and the transformations of Morocco through cinema— from 1907 to 1986. In particular, it chronicles the struggle of filmmakers, after Independence, to liberate the country’s image from the colonial gaze. As a director himself, Bouanani was fully immersed in the questions he was formulating: how to revive cultural memory when it has been mummified by decades of colonial subjugation? How to invent an aesthetic that is relevant to its time and place, an aesthetic through which Moroccans might recognize themselves? In sum, how to decolonize the screen?
This retrospective attempts to carve a path toward the seventh gate through the lens of documentary image-making. It is the first such presentation of the beginnings of Moroccan documentary film. We show a brief taste of (French and Spanish) colonial filmmaking, before delving into the first three decades of national cinema. Taking a cue from Bouanani’s book, we offer an eclectic panorama of experiments conducted, despite censorship and limited means, by a pioneering generation of filmmakers in all parts of the country and the diaspora.
From student exercises to full-fledged features, from public commissions to highly subjective projects, these films cover a wide creative spectrum that veers between experimental joy and political impatience; lyrical poetry and meticulous ethnography; formal exploration and historical narrative. They stretch the documentary form in all directions. As Ahmed El Maânouni said about his first feature, “the ‘documentary’ label is a catch-all. All I know is that the film is not science fiction. The audience will say whether our sounds and images are true.”
After the 1970s, documentary film production in Morocco became scarce, before returning forcefully two decades later with the likes of Dalila Ennadre, Hakim Belabbès, and Ali Essafi. This recent period would deserve a retrospective of its own. In focusing on the earlier phase, our main regret is the quasiabsence of films made by women: while many women have shaped these works in invisible ways, it was only later, from the 90s on, that women directors burst on the scene. We view this retrospective as a step in the ongoing project of recovering our cultural memory in all its rich multiplicity, and sharing it with the world. We have composed it with help and support from many friends and colleagues, most crucially Touda Bouanani and Léa Morin; as well as institutions, especially the CCM in Rabat, whose staff —in particular Tariq Khalami and Samir Bouchaibi— went beyond the call of duty. We are very grateful to Manuel Asín and the whole Punto de Vista team for their thoughtful invitation and their support throughout the process. Curated and notes by Omar Berrada and Ali Essafi
Session 1 Colonial Nights
In Morocco, the birth of cinema is inseparable from colonial conquest. The first cameras arrived alongside European armies and their tanks. In addition to propaganda reels documenting the invasion and its aftermath, Morocco soon became the site of a prolific film production. In it, for the most part, the natives appeared only as extras, and were excluded from access to technical or artistic training. Because of the absence of a precolonial tradition of figurative representation, decades of colonial filmmaking imposed a lasting orientalist image of the country and its people, which influenced even the way Moroccans saw themselves. For Ahmed Bouanani, the task of the first generation of Moroccan filmmakers was to recalibrate the gaze, to re-learn how to look at their fellow citizens and their native landscapes, in order to counter the hegemony of colonial representation. That is what he attempted in Mémoire 14, for instance, by literally decomposing and resequencing French propaganda reels in a way that makes them tell the story otherwise.
Tetuán, la blanca Arturo Pérez Camarero Spain, 1943, 15 min, DCP, B&W, Spanish
La fugue de Mahmoud Roger Leenhardt France, 1952, 33 min, DCP, B&W, French
Amghar Mostafa Derkaoui Poland, 1968, 4 min, DCP, B&W, silent
Mémoire 14 Ahmed Bouanani Morocco, 1971, 25 min, DCP, B&W, French
Petite histoire en marge du cinématographe Ahmed Bouanani Morocco, 1973, 6 min, DCP, colour, B&W, French 47
Session 2 The Country of Memory
No issue was more important to Ahmed Bouanani than memory. He understood early on that the unified nationalist narrative pushed by the newly independent state was just as dangerous as the distorted image imposed by the colonizers, because it marginalized too many voices. He wanted to tell history from below, to honor the human and non-human diversity of the territory he called home. This meant relying on people’s stories. It meant valuing myths and popular legends above and beyond the academic discipline of History. Despite suspicion and censorship, he would subvert public commissions in order to make films that bear witness to a truly collective memory. In Tarfaya ou la marche d’un poète, a fictional coming-of-age scenario becomes the occasion for a lively depiction of village markets and Saharan landscapes, holy shrines and storytelling circles. Bouanani was only able to make a small number of films, but his method left a mark on many filmmakers, as this program shows.
Tarfaya ou la marche d’un poète Ahmed Bouanani Morocco, 1966, 20 min, DCP, B&W, French
Mémoire 14 Ahmed Bouanani Morocco, 1971, 25 min, DCP, B&W, French 48
Visages de Marrakech Mohamed Abouelouakar Morocco, 1977, 35 min, DCP, colour, French
Mémoire ocre Daoud Aoulad Syad Morocco, 1991, 17 min, DCP, colour-B&W, Arabic-French-English
Session 3 In Search of Perfect Death
For Forêt, shot in Aïn Leuh near Azrou, Majid Rechiche wrote a fictional script based on a true story in which a man killed his wife for a seemingly trivial reason. The film describes an individual’s alienation within a closed world. In La Septième Porte, Bouanani suggests “comparing this experiment with one that took place the same year, in Paris, thousands of kilometers from Aïn Leuh (…) Si Moh has a subtitle that would be just as appropriate for Forêt: des kilomètres de secondes à rechercher la mort exacte. It is the story of a North African looking for work. Between the compatriots he meets and an address for a job, he wanders the French capital and gets lost (...)”, like Rechiche’s protagonist, except his forest is made of concrete. We extend Bouanani’s intuition by also including Rechiche’s Al-Boraq, and three student shorts made by Moroccan filmmakers in Łódź. These six films, made around the same time in different locations, convey a sense of ominousness, a political intuition of impending doom at the height of the oppressive Years of Lead.
Une ombre parmi d’autres Abdelkader Lagtaâ Poland, 1969, 5 min, DCP, B&W, silent
Chant pour la mort des adolescents Idriss Karim Poland, 1973, 11 min, DCP, B&W, Polish
Marta Idriss Karim Poland, 1969, 6 min, DCP, B&W, Polish
Si Moh, pas de chance Moumen Smihi France, 1971, 17 min, DCP, B&W, Arabic-French
Forêt Majid Rechiche Morocco, 1970, 18 min, DCP, B&W, Arabic
Al-Boraq Majid Rechiche Morocco, 1972, 30 min, DCP, B&W, Arabic
Session 4 Poets and Sociologists
This screening stages a confrontation between two parallel schools of documentary filmmaking: 1/ the “brief documentary school” pioneered by Mohamed Afifi, composed of poetic experiments among which Ahmed Bouanani included his own films, as well as Majid Rechiche’s Forêt and Al-Boraq; and 2/ the “sociological” school, whose filmmakers worked with (or were influenced by) Paul Pascon, who is often referred to as the father of Moroccan sociology. The sociological films were aiming for a form of ethnography that distances itself from its colonial roots, in order to re-appropriate and re-describe customs and rituals on local terms. The Afifi school displays formal rigor and suspicion toward commentary. For instance, for Afifi, Retour à Agadir is “not a documentary, much less a tourist film. If I had to recount it, I would say that it is the brief course of a memory presented under the guise of a statue in several movements. If this seemed insufficiently clear, I would add that the stanzas that make up Return to Agadir constitute a closed work. If the viewer finds a key, s/he owns the film.”
De chair et d’acier Mohamed Afifi Morocco, 1959, 20 min, DCP, B&W, French-Arabic
Retour à Agadir Mohamed Afifi Morocco, 1967, 11 min, DCP, B&W, no dialogue
6 & 12 Ahmed Bouanani, Majid Rechiche, Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi Morocco, 1968, 18 min, DCP, B&W, no dialogue
Le rocher Larbi Benchekroun Morocco, 1958, 11 min, DCP, B&W, French
Sin Agafaye Latif Lahlou Morocco, 1967, 22 min, DCP, colour, French 53
Les tanneurs de Marrakech Mohammed Ait Youssef France, 1967, 21 min, DCP, colour, French
La nostalgie du naïf Mohammed Ait Youssef Morocco, 1977, 10 min, DCP, B&W, French
Session 5 Inner Labyrinths
This screening brings together Ahmed El Maânouni’s first feature, shot in Morocco’s countryside, and a set of shorts made by four Moroccan directors while students in Łódź, where they were mentored by such documentary film greats as Kazimierz Karabasz. Alas, the remarkable political and aesthetic maturity of these student films remained a suspended promise: when they returned to Morocco, censorship and the marginalization of the documentary genre forced them to change course. Despite formal and contextual differences, all the films in this session draw us closer to the inner labyrinths of people experiencing forms of social exile. Perhaps due to their own status as new immigrants in Poland, in addition to their radical political commitments, Drissi, Derkaoui, Karim and Bensaid gravitated toward situations of racial discrimination, material poverty, and social marginalization. In Alyam, Alyam, El Maânouni films the ordinary life of rural Moroccans in a way that allows us to experience its cadence —all the while focusing on a young man whose sense of internal exile makes him fiercely want to leave the country.
Lekcja 41 Abdellah Drissi Poland, 1966, 7 min, DCP, B&W, Polish
Adopcja Mostafa Derkaoui Poland, 1968, 4 min, DCP, B&W, Polish
Zofia i Ludmila Hamid Bensaid Poland, 1971, 9 min, DCP, B&W, Polish
Elzbieta K Idriss Karim Poland, 1973, 12 min, DCP, B&W, Polish
Alyam, Alyam Ahmed El Maânouni Morocco, 1978, 80 min, DCP, colour, Arabic
Session 6 Music without Make-up
Of all the art forms in 1970s and 80s Morocco, music was perhaps the most potent, aesthetically and politically. Nass El Ghiwane was an iconic band, both for the way they reclaimed and renewed a specifically Moroccan music rooted in African musical traditions, and for the way they voiced people’s freedom dreams. By devoting a film to them in which the band’s members are shown in their humble quotidianness, El Maânouni painted the poignant portrait of a generation. Transes’ producer, Izza Genini, would later direct her own musical films, in the form of an ample series of shorts devoted to different genres of traditional Moroccan music. The first one, Aita, is a portrait of legendary cheikha Fatna Bent Lhoucine, and was co-edited by Ahmed Bouanani. To introduce the session, we screen a brief feature on Tayeb Saddiki’s “masrah ennas” [people’s theater]. Saddiki pioneered a modern form of musical theater, which gave Nass El Ghiwane their early training in the 1960s. He is also the author of a feature film, Zeft (1984), which was produced by Genini.
Masrah Ennas Actualités marocaines Morocco, 1974, 6 min, DCP, B&W, French 56
Aita Izza Genini Morocco, 1987, 26 min, DCP, colour, Arabic-French
Transes Ahmed El Maânouni Morocco, 1981, 88 min, DCP, colour, Arabic
Session 7 The Seventh Gate
Completed in 1987, Ahmed Bouanani’s La Septième Porte [The Seventh Gate], like most of his manuscripts, remained unpublished for over three decades before it started its existence as a book at the end of 2020. Today we celebrate its Spanish translation, published on the occasion of this retrospective, by screening Ali Essafi’ film, Crossing the Seventh Gate. It is a feature-length portrait of Ahmed Bouanani, whom Essafi visited and filmed from 2007 until his death in 2011. By then, Bouanani was leading a reclusive life in a remote village with his wife Naïma and many cats, amid huge piles of books and manuscripts. He was physically frail but unbroken in spirit. Combined with photographs, documents, film excerpts, and an old TV interview, Bouanani’s comments about his place within Moroccan cinema, the censorship he was subjected to, and his work as a film editor give a poignant sense of his lasting relevance and unshakable integrity.
Crossing the Seventh Gate Ali Essafi Morocco, 2017, 80 min, DCP, colour, Arabic-French
Meeting on the River
The Nile, the Aniene, the Argens, the Scheldt, the Rhine, the Douro, the Danube, the Seine, the Niagara, the Hudson, the Mississippi, the Ottawa, the Detroit, the St. Lawrence, the Desna: all names of dreams and legends, either captivated or overlooked in literature and music, both known and unknown, familiar and distant. These are the names of the rivers in this programme. Because rivers flow and never turn back, because their waters are endlessly refreshed, they have been allegorically and tediously assimilated to major issues such as the passage of time or identity. It is difficult for them to exist on their own, also in films. When looked at carefully, rivers could be considered the pinnacle of God’s art and yet they are barely used as a kind of eye-catching itinerant backdrop for human intrigues. For every water snake we see a hundred dams, locks, towpaths, bridges and harbours. Twenty boats for every poplar tree. Fifty draveurs (log-drivers) and one, single beaver. Fish always caught or about to be caught. And we will see dams, the greatest violence that rivers can be subjected to.
Rivers distribute water and humankind intervened very early on in how that water was dispensed. We will hear the words “control” or “dominance” used arrogantly and with the best of intentions, in countries with ideologically opposed regimes but united in the fundamental idea that nature “is there for free”. Moreover, conservation does not leave a mark, it does not transcend. Destruction however does. (For example, an illustrious engineer and writer once branded the regions flooded by a reservoir that he designed and that today bears his name as “fossils”). Even so, despite all of this and in support of the films, we will find ourselves in the rivers of the cinema as well as in the Arga river, arg meaning clear and luminous; since the rivers will shine and enlighten us. The retrospective is curated and the texts are written by Miriam Martín
Session 1 Banks of the Nile Charles Urban United Kingdom, 1911, 6 min, DCP, colour, silent
La canta delle marane Cecilia Mangini Italy, 1961, 11 min, DCP, colour, Italian
Rentrée des classes Jacques Rozier France, 1956, 24 min, DCP, B&W, French
Like so many pioneers of this art, Charles Urban sold all sorts of things before he sold films. For his scientific and travel films, he conceived the formidable motto “We put the world before you”. Before you, before your 1911 eyes that have barely left home and know no other skies, no other lands, no other waters. The Charles Urban Trading Company brought the waters of the Nile to you in Kinemacolor and they were not blue, they were redish-green, and the Egyptian children were not white, they were black, and the camera did not erase an ounce of their mystique. Nor was any added to the British settlers, completely discordant with the landscape. Cecilia Mangini’s bathing boys, however, blend into it, their bare skins, the blades of grass and splashes of water, meld well together. (The girls are left out of the pleasure and fun, for example out of fighting to touch each other, because their bodies don’t belong to them). We hear some false childhood memories of Pier Paolo Pasolini in a voice-over, memories that could still be filmed at the time since that place and those circumstances still existed. They no longer exist. The voice sometimes affords the images destiny, saying: hunger, robbery, and prison. But it also incites them saying: these children are your enemies; they don’t give a damn about society. A stream on the outskirts of Rome is “like the Mississippi” in Pasolini’s score; with a specific mise-en-scène and a certain ebb and flow of the music; a river in Provence makes you think of the Amazon. What child has not wished to travel by river and have the river take them away, transporting them all the way to the sea? Jacques Rozier’s river journey is short and ends in the washhouse, and yet... what child has not strayed, alone, and lived adventures that he will never tell anyone close to home, what child has not broadened his horizons with far fewer resources than Charles Urban?
Session 2 L’Hirondelle et la Mésange André Antoine France, 1920, 79 min, DCP, B&W, silent
Charles Pathé, its producer, prevented the film from being released and banished it for sixty years to a drawer. Why? Short answer: because he considered it “too documentary”. Long answer: because André Antoine, a man of the theatre and a self-taught film-maker, plucked four random people from the crowd and turned them into characters, blessing them with a little fiction, enough to intensify the pleasure of knowing a real way of life and real scenery, but not enough to appeal to the public of the time, who were no longer satisfied with having the world before their eyes. Can we trust the opinion of an accountant? Of course not. Better to be amazed by this journey upriver in two barges, from Antwerp to the Franco-Belgian border, by the excitement of smuggling and the domestication of river life (a dog, a cat, hens, curtains, flowerpots, a porcelain soup tureen), by the hardness of work on board (towrope included) and the sweetness of leisure on land (Ommegang included!), by a river that operates like the rails used for a camera dolly offering constant, dazzling shots of its banks. 64
Session 3 Spiegel van Holland Bert Haanstra Netherlands, 1950, 9 min, DCP, B&W, no dialogue
Fischfang in der Rhön (an der Sinn) Ella Bergman-Michel Germany, 1932, 11 min, DCP, B&W, silent
Douro, faina fluvial Manoel de Oliveira Portugal, 1931, 18 min, 35mm, B&W, silent
Die Donau Rauf Peter and Zsóka Nestler Germany, 1969, 28 min, DCP, colour, German
L’Eau de la Seine Teo Hernández France, 1983, 11 min, DCP, colour, silent 66
How fortunate for filmmakers, true friends of light, that rivers contain water, for the combination of water and light means image play can be intensified and landscapes turned around, as Bert Haanstra does in the canals of Holland. A sailboat converted into a dying candle flame; the combination of what the water contains and what it reflects, water lilies and clouds together on the same body of water. And it is also possible, as Ella BergmanMichel did (an artist who was able to work in Germany until 1933 but not afterwards) to play with depth and not with the surface, so that boulders, tadpoles and trout appear, jumping at dusk and dying beautifully when they have taken the bait, and which for centuries were the fish of those who lived far from the sea. The river, one of the largest in Europe, looks gossamer-fine and new-born in the film; only rivers are continually being born and dying at the same time. We go from a Sunday fisherman with his rod and multi-pocketed waistcoat, to the fishing that begins on board boats and ends in the fish markets, from leisure to work, with half the city involved. This is Oporto, and at that time there was a strong intersection between old and new or slow and fast; the motorist who crashes into the ox cart because he is gawking at an aeroplane! The film belongs to the new, rushing along at full speed. Manoel de Oliveira, sovietised and always in a good mood, after looking for straight, curved, diagonal, parallel lines in the Douro stakes everything on the editing. Yet more work and, as if that weren’t enough, history (the official history you study at school) combined with a secret, past history: ours, the one that matters to Peter and Zsóka Nestler. It seems as if this journey upstream along the Danube has been devised to tell the story of the peasant revolts of the 17th century. Some of the motifs of L’Hirondelle et la Mésange are repeated, but without the rapture of fiction and after Mauthausen. And other, unrepeatable ones appear such as the encounter in Budapest with a migrant from Biafra, a country that would lose its independence the following year. And finally, Teo Hernández, a Mexican in Paris. The Seine remains still under its famous bridges. It is Teo who creates the movement, like one of Inspector Gadget’s mechanical arms, with his super-8 camera filling the spectators heads with metaphors: thanks to the zoom, the sun reflected in the water looks like a thunderstorm, fireworks or even, if you’ve just seen the previous film, the sparks that fly when two swords clash.
Session 4 Panorama of Gorge railway James H. White USA, 1900, 1 min, DCP, B&W, silent
Down the Hudson Frederick S. Armitage, A. E. Weed USA, 1903, 3 min, DCP, B&W, silent
The River Pare Lorentz USA, 1938, 32 min, DCP, B&W, English
La Drave Raymond Garceau Canada, 1957, 20 min, DCP, B&W, French
Paddle to the Sea Bill Mason Canada, 1966, 28 min, DCP, colour, English 68
The water that falls from Niagara Falls crashes down with such force that a gigantic whirlpool and rapids are formed to release the force. A century and a bit ago, an insane railway line made it possible to admire them and accompany the river upstream and downstream. And that was where James H. White, Edison’s cameraman went. He boarded the train and filmed an electrifying tracking shot as the train and the rapids moved, the white foamy water moving in the opposite direction. Three years later, Armitage and Weed filmed a tracking shot from the Hudson looking towards its banks, electrifying it by speeding up and slowing down the frames, for experimental cinema has always existed. The journey upriver (the title is incorrect) becomes a fairground ride, where houses and industries gradually replace trees and other divine entities, until they disappear. We are in North America and the physical and rhetorical scale is completely different: the scale of myth. A river has a history as soon as some human beings touch it, but not before, and Pare Lorentz tells the story of the Mississippi in a self-serving way, having been charged with convincing his contemporaries of the need to build dams. Through bewitching names and repetitions, over three trips downriver, we understand what has happened: there were spruce, fir, pine, cedar, hickory and scarlet oak trees, and they were cut down. How it hurts to see them fall! Without trees there are no roots, and without roots to hold the soil, some of it is washed away and what is left cannot absorb the rainwater, and the rainwater ends up flooding everything. What if the fact that wood floats were a curse? The trade of transporting logs by river is called drave in Quebecois. As in the United States, Canada needed wooden beams and newsprint, and the forests paid the price. The draveurs speed up the thaw by dynamiting the ice, dancing on the felled logs and covering the Ottawa from shore to shore with them. It’s hard work if you have to do it, and fascinating if you are simply watching it, because you see one world unfold while another is being destroyed. The film, as well as showing this process to you, sings it to you gracefully in the voice of Félix Leclerc. But if grace is what you want, few films have this in such high concentration as Paddle to the Sea. Paddle is a piece of driftwood and his fate matters a great deal to us because a young boy carves the driftwood into a unique, humanlike creature. The boy lives north of Lake Superior and can’t see the sea, so he sends his creature off. This adventure by proxy involves the Great Lakes system and then the St. Lawrence river until ending in the St Lawrence Gulf, a journey that includes (thus coming full circle), Niagara falls. Not being human, Paddle immediately invokes animals and stumbles with equal doses of awe and wonder upon all things; it’s touching.
Session 5 Zacharovannaya Desna Yuliya Solntseva USSR, 1964, 77 min, 70mm, colour, Russian
In somebody else’s words: When I was a little boy, the grass was taller than me and full of sky. Where is the sky of grass, that zenith within reach? The cloud has risen to a fiendish height. Yuliya Solntseva brings down that devilishly high cloud for us, so that we can feel the feelings of a child or even recoup childlike feelings. She films the childhood memories of her husband, a famous artist. We don’t know how much imagination he put into writing them, but she, who wasn’t there, had to put in a great deal. And the product of that is Zacharovannaya Desna (The Enchanted Desna): an enchanted film brimming with desire, capable of dragging you completely out of yourself. Life goes by along the Desna. First childhood, then the war and then progress, concrete. What film that supports dams —at least in its forms, where appropriate— would show you the everlasting spring floods as we dreamt of them as children, that is, as a party? Is that dialectics? Under the moon, two horses, mistreated by the protagonist’s father, to whom the protagonist dedicates some very kind words, remember the time when they still had wings. Is that what communism is, room for everyone? Yes, and above all a matter of perception.
[Except for a last minute miracle, The Enchanted Desna will not be screened in Pamplona. The only copy located is a 70mm positive, and 70mm projectors are in the hands of a few and increasingly hard to come by. We’ve left it in the programme because it’s irreplaceable and deserves to be known and recognised, distributed everywhere.]
An-Nil oual hayat Youssef Chahine Egypt-USSR, 1964, 109 min, DCP, colour, Arabic-Russian
Nasser called the Aswan High Dam a “pyramid for the living”. He was obviously appealing to grandeur, but the funerary side of the term prevailed. The valley’s black silt (mentioned even in our childhood textbooks) was stopped in its tracks, and salt water from the sea poured into the delta; Abu Simbel was moved but not the houses of the Nubians, who were forced to resettle to villages in dwellings, identical to each other, like barracks. In Youssef Chahine’s film this story is narrated, without a trace of official versions, nor a sad appearance of the Nasser-Kruschev duo. Both governments censored the film. Chahine was interested in the people at the bottom, for justice, surely, and perhaps because they are simply more interesting, because as you climb up from the bottom neurosis eats away everything, and neurosis just leads to a mental blackout. Thinking, however, the complete opposite to neurotic bustle, “does you good”, as the Soviet engineer Nikolai tells his Nubian friend Barak. They meet while bathing for the last time in the waters of the old Nile and their encounter radiates such physical joy... Chahine loves men and sympathises with women. He invents a multitude of main characters; he does a great deal with the languages involved and resolves in one sonorous stroke the pledge to take us from Aswan to Stalingrad. The greatness is in his film, which preserves apparent, ordinary beauty, just as the adult-child of Desna wanted.
Manuela Serra is a veteran Portuguese filmmaker who has made just one feature film, the wonderful O Movimento das Coisas (1985), recently restored by the Cinemateca Portuguesa. It is not out of the ordinary for careers to come to a sudden halt in cinema, particularly among women. Manuela is visiting the festival and will chat about her film and how she was forced to distance herself from the world of cinema in a session with the filmmaker, programmer and former member of the Punto de Vista programming committee, Mercedes Álvarez. 76
We are also shining a dual spotlight on Sofia Bohdanowicz and Payal Kapadia, filmmakers for whom our colleague Lucía Salas has programmed a selection of films sharing the same genre, archive fiction. Much is said about archives from a documentary perspective but what about their fictions? Sofia Bohdanowicz and the researcher Sonia García López will talk about the adventures and misfortunes of the archive in the eyes of researchers and creators.
O Movimento das Coisas Manuela Serra, Portugal, 1985, 88 min, DCP, Portuguese Stories from a daily routine of silence. In deserted byways troubled by a worrying wind, in a village in the North. There is a day’s labour spent by three families: four old women, the countryside, bread, the hens, and to remind us, clearings of time-worn stories of actions savoured in the mineral bite of words. A family of 10 children on a farm plunge into the depth of time in the labour-laden action of the father cutting down a tree. Further on the water of the river inhabited by people, in a boat, the Sun and the village centre, the bridge under construction, the verandah, the meal, the density and mysticism of Sunday, the mass and the local fair: the ritual practice of Saturday. Isabel moves against the fragments of this scenery, she too with her gaze to the future, beyond all the others for whom life is no more than living. Time goes beyond sunrise and sunset. Life is inhaled using the countryside as a medium in a village of the North with its slow and ancient activities. It is a pause in life through things and their dislocation in time; values; silence… Teresa Sá, original synopsis
Manuela Serra studied film at the Institut des Arts et Diffusion (IAD) in Brussels from 1971 to 1974. She worked as an assistant editor, mainly with archive material, for the film Deus, Pátria, Autoridade. She co-founded the VIRVER Film Cooperative, where she worked as a scriptwriter, producer and editor. By then, she had already worked as a producer and assistant director on several medium-length films and on Rui Simões’ film Bom Povo Português. Between 1979 and 1985 she produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for her first work, O Movimento das Coisas. In 1990, she began writing the script for a second film, Ondas, Ondulaçoes or O Movimento das Ondas, which was never shot.
So my children live with my mother, and so far they do not have worn-out shoes. But what kind of men will they be? I mean, what kind of shoes will they have when they are men? What road will they choose to walk down? Will they decide to give up everything that is pleasant but not necessary, or will they affirm that everything is necessary and that men have the right to wear sound, solid shoes on their feet? Natalia Ginzburg, The Little Virtues
What will the worn-out shoes of film be like? Perhaps they lie behind Rossellini’s wise lie: “Things are there; why manipulate them?”. Much of contemporary film exists in a minimalist, opaque, excessively mysterious field (the question is whether there is anything behind so much fog), as if they had sound shoes because they don’t use them much. There are other films that find a mid-point between the extreme austerity of excluding anything pleasant but unnecessary and the radical hedonism of declaring that everything is necessary. They have sound shoes not because they’re not loaded with money, but because they look after them well and use them wisely. They are films that take the things that are there and alter them slightly to make them more true. They use them to build considerable structures that we can call fictions. They narrate thinking of narrative as a process of translation between things and the structures we build with them. In the case of the two filmmakers who make up this programme, what they take are documents, archives from the past, to turn them into characters in a
narrative. They also take the same process of research and mould it into fiction. Rather than the idea of “vintage”, of a fetishistic nostalgia, both filmmakers take these documents as equals, as if they were actors with whom they discuss a scene before shooting it. Perhaps they do so to overcome the horror of archives, which is the fear that things will be forgotten or mislaid among the millions of boxes. Perhaps because they mistrust the public character proclaimed by the institutions that keep them, in the awareness that free of charge does not always mean free of restrictions. The films that make up this programme are materialist because they take the form of the materials of which they are made, mutating as necessary, but without bending their will completely before others, before the authority of the archive. These archival fictions are sculpted from this tension between the document and its narrative, a group of films made with fascination, charm, fury and action. Curated and notes by Lucía Salas
Session 1 Payal Kapadia
Payal Kapadia is a young filmmaker from India who this year premiered her first work, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Someone (who?) finds some letters in a pigeonhole in a film school in which a young woman, L, writes to her forbidden love, K. L and K are from different castes, and it is impossible for them to be married (even today). In her correspondence L not only sends messages of love and despair, but also news of the struggle K has had to give up, following his parents’ orders. Students at the Mumbai film and television institute rise up against the caste system and financial insecurity, joining protests spreading increasingly widely around India. Created with material from her own time at university, made with her friends and colleagues, Kapadia organises a fiction that contains as much melodrama as agit-prop. The short film And What Is the Summer Saying? is an earlier exercise that shares the same universe: being, seeing, observing, discussing and, from these conversations, sounds of time passing, sketching out small scenes and narratives that take place in one summer in Maharashtra district. 82
And What Is the Summer Saying? Payal Kapadia, India, 2018, 24 min, DCP, B&W, Marathi
A Night of Knowing Nothing Payal Kapadia, India-France, 2021, 96 min, DCP, colour-B&W, Hindi-Bengali
Session 2 Sofia Bohdanowicz
In 2016 filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz and actress and writer Deragh Campbell created the character of Audrey Benac, an archive detective. Made from autobiographical fragments of both of their lives, snippets of family stories and collective invention, Audrey investigates little moments of history that have been forgotten. In Never Eat Alone she explores the past of her grandmother, a former actress and singer, and an ex-suitor with whom she starred in a famous television music programme. Veslemøy’s Song seeks out the footprints of Kathleen Parlow, a famous violinist at the time of Glenn Gould and the first woman to study at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, but today completely forgotten. Roy Thomson recalls her grandfather, a former student of Parlow’s and a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the presence of the dead in the spaces in which they lived and worked.
Never Eat Alone Sofia Bohdanowicz, Canada, 2016, 68 min, DCP, colour, English
Veslemøy’s Song Sofia Bohdanowicz, Canada, 2018, 9 min, DCP, B&W, English
Roy Thomson Sofia Bohdanowicz, Canada, 2018, 3 min, DCP, sepia, English
Session 3 Sofia Bohdanowicz
In MS Slavic 7 Audrey Benac discovers a series of letters between her grandmother, poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa, and Józef Wittlin, both of them Polish exiles from Nazism. Audrey comes up against the difficulties of investigating on her own, trying to come to terms with the political and poetic importance of these papers while, none of those around her —family, experts and archive— let her do everything she needs to. Loosely based on The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Point and Line to Plane finds Audrey mourning the death of a friend. She visits places and ideas that linked them, trying to extract the colours and lines of Kandinsky and above all of Hilma af Klint, another forgotten pioneer. In the last two episodes in the saga of Audrey Benac so far, Bohdanowicz and Campbell explore different ways of joining the intimate and the historical in concise narratives that enquire into that special mechanism in the world that effaces women.
MS Slavic 7 Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell, Canada, 2019, 64 min, DCP, colour, English
Point and Line to Plane Sofia Bohdanowicz, Canada, 2020, 18 min, DCP, colour, English
In the Basque language, “Lan” means ‘work’ or ‘labour’, and also ‘harvest’. This coincidence surely gives us a historical reading: for a long time, practically all work took place in the fields. Perhaps this explains why a noteworthy couple of Portuguese filmmakers, António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro, said that it had always helped to consider themselves as “cinema farming peasants”. Lan is the name that we have given to the festival’s new section where we harvest different ways of thinking about the processes of imagination and work in documentary cinema.
Paisaia, that grouped together sessions dedicated to a certain panorama of Basque-Navarrese films over the last four years, will revolve around public programs in this edition: in addition to showing their films, the filmmakers will briefly present aspects of their production process. Termitas, running symmetrically to Paisaia, will show emerging or little-seen works from our immediate surroundings, by asking the filmmakers to also present materials from their work process. Its name comes from the article by Manny Farber called “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art” (1962) where we read
about those films that “seems to have no ambition towards gilt culture but are involved in a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor that isn’t anywhere or for anything. A peculiar fact about termite tapeworm-fungus-moss art is that it goes always forward eating its own boundaries, and, likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than the signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity.” Paulino Viota, one of our best-loved and admired termitesque figures, is visiting the festival to talk about the use of the first person in cinema, a booming perspective in the contemporary documentary. He will focus on one of the authors that he has studied most deeply over the last few years, where selfabsorption and the ego always show up in the end: Federico Fellini. Finally, the Who Will Tell the Story? Beginnings of Documentary Film in Morocco retrospective will be extended into a “film-conference” by the French researcher currently living in Morocco Léa Morin, and a round table discussion involving the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola that has worked with Punto de Vista to digitalise some of the films that Léa will be showing.
Paisaia Session 1 The two pieces forming part of this session have one thing in common: light. In the film by Patxi Burillo, the reference appears in the title itself: Argileak, which means ‘those that make light’. And it is precisely these mysterious, anonymous characters who we first see, crossing through a wood, partially and fleetingly illuminating the trees, as they appear to be taking the light to some place in particular. We could say that the film has a second act in which the spectators become the protagonists. Faces illuminated by a flickering light. What are they looking at? This is something that we’ll never know, but those illuminated eyes, looking with great concentration, lead us to reflect on the actual fascination of seeing. This same fascination is created in the film by Ainara Elgoibar, at the moment when a pair of hands are manipulating some coloured LEDs and these are multiplied, to create spirals of light, converting the image into something abstract. Also the first shot we see in Rotor, a sun filmed head on. A rotor is the rotating part of an electric machine or turbine and, through phrases written in the middle of the screen, the film made by Elgoibar takes us on a journey that passes through different inventions such as cars and Wankel engines, watches and the time zone system. The film portrays a series of objects filmed in 16mm in Lindau, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Altlußheim, London and Bakio between years 2015 and 2021, all accompanied by a rich soundtrack that starts and ends with bells. Lur Olaizola
Argileak Patxi Burillo Spain, 2022, 15 min, DCP, colour, Basque Cinematography Pablo Paloma, Mirari Echávarri / Editing Jaume Claret, Pablo Paloma, Óscar Vincentelli / Sound José María Avilés, Elisa Celda, Martín Scaglia / Production Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, Martín Besné, Julieta Juncadella
Rotor Ainara Elgoibar Spain, 2021, 15 min, DCP, colour, Spanish Cinematography, editing Ainara Elgoibar / Sound Ainara Elgoibar, Jorge Latas / Music Javi Álvarez
Paisaia Session 2 This year marks the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, a mission set in motion by the Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magallanes and completed by the Basque navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, whose figures are at the centre of the celebrations. Is the outcome of this exploit also being celebrated? In They Speak Too Anna de Guia-Eriksson gives body and scenery to the work entitled Black Henry by the Filipino poet, Luis H. Francia, bringing to life scenes from the work in specific locations of Donostia-San Sebastian, Pasai and Getaria (the birthplace of Elcano), places that bear a direct relationship with the colonial consequences of this journey that left behind a trail of death and destruction. The filmmaker stops in those streets frequented by people out for a Sunday stroll and reads out loud a Spanish translation of the text that imagines the reactions to the first arrival of Magallanes, from the Philippines. She is surrounded by passers-by who look at her as they go on their way, as if she were a foreign body, as if the Philippines had not been colonised by Spain for centuries and centuries, at the same time as Latin America. Stopping in front of the traces of a version of history made in stone and concrete, de GuiaEriksson gradually progresses, scene after scene, in this plot that imagines the possible conversations and decisions taken by each of the antagonistic groups taking part in the first exchange, one led by Humabón (then Don Carlos) and the other by Lapulapu (who would organise the resistance that led to the death of Magallanes. They Speak Too interrupts the course of the official history, the circumnavigation of the world and the figure of Elcano, and questions the place that the Basque territory has had in the imperialist quest that subdued entire populations for centuries, by staging at a distance a conversation on events, whose glories are being celebrated but whose consequences have been ignored. Lucía Salas
They Speak Too Anna de Guia-Eriksson Spain, 2020, 38 min, DCP, colour-B&W, Spanish Cinematography Jessica Y. Lee / Editing Humberto Vallejo Cunillera / Sound Juliana Príncipe Salazar, Sofía García Broca, Pablo Lillo Aguilar / Production Mariana Sánchez Bueno
Termitas Session 1 Mid-twentieth century. Families of Spaniards living in former colonies, provinces and territories under Spanish domination. Ambassadors, diplomats, perhaps businessmen... people who have the means, as it used to be said, enjoying their leisure time in exotic locations which they gradually make their own, constructing their own space, their new home and a certain type of relationship with “the other one”, with the local inhabitants. Domestic films, full of imprints and, perhaps, secrets. Early 21st century. A few young African migrants in Barcelona, in transit. It is not free time, but waiting time, uncertainty and homesickness: faced with doubts about whether their application for asylum will be successful, sharing memories of their journey, reflecting upon the European dream and the nostalgic connection of the birthplace. A small film full of emotion, distance and phone calls. Memorias de ultramar and Kambá! offer two different and complementary perspectives that can serve to reflect upon the relationship between Europe and Africa in this last century (and up to today). And they do so in a fun way, with well-differentiated materials and rules: on the one hand, the play with archive material that takes on a new life through editing and adding sound; on the other hand, the play between reality and metafiction. Miguel Zozaya
Memorias de ultramar Carmen Bellas, Alberto Berzosa Spain, 2021, 49 min, DCP, colour-B&W, Spanish Editing Carmen Bellas, Eduardo Palenque / Sound Juan Carlos Blancas / Production Filmoteca Española
Kambá! Carolina Kuzeluk, Diana Kuzeluk Spain, 2021, 25 min, DCP, colour-B&W, French-Fula-Spanish-Arabic-Amazigh Cinematography Carolina Kuzeluk, Alex Reverté / Editing Gerard Borràs / Sound Joaquín Faúndez Hormazábal / Production Escac Films, S.L.
Termitas Session 2 The fact that there are lives that are more livable than others is nothing new. Although these lives are not more valuable, they are more valued and exercise over the former all the weight of their fortune. After death, their eternal life is also more eternal and more sacred than that of the others. The same thing happens with films. Some have an infinite life while others have no life at all. Based on this idea, the film Descartes, by Concha Barquero and Alejandro Alvarado has come into being. There are films for which a discard is a waste product, perhaps an extra. However, for a prohibited film, these discards are the only fragments to be saved from censorship, they are the free radicals of the film. This is what the filmmakers found when they visited the Filmoteca Española in search of materials on Rocío, by Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 260 rolls of negatives. The sound is lost. It is put back together with the reading of the harsh sentence in favour of the censorship of the film and two texts by Francisco Espinosa Maestre on the Franquist repression. For his part, Pablo Casanueva presents eight short films linked by a common theme of war and its effects on Asturias. They are eight post-mortem extensions of some lives that appeared to be forgotten. The cinema recovers for those who fight what the State made sure was only given to suppressors and bandits. The film starts with a map of what is to come: the construction of the bridge connecting the two banks of the river Ribeseya, a bridge that has had a tough time: its old wood was once sold for five thousand pesetas, it was once blown up to prevent the advance of fascism, an advance that could not be stopped. The film, like a bridge, is made of different materials: letters, photos, public archives, recollections, oral memory. One by one, each short takes on the rhythm and form of these materials, such as handmade bottles full of letters, thrown into the sea and which come from a past which needs to be thought about and which needs to be made to coexist with the present. Lucía Salas
Descartes Concha Barquero, Alejandro Alvarado Spain, 2021, 21 min, DCP, colour-B&W, Spanish Cinematography Concha Barquero, Alejandro Alvarado / Editing Concha Barquero, Alejandro Alvarado / Sound Juan Carlos del Castillo / Music Paloma Peñarrubia / Production Alvarquero
8 filmes sobre la guerra Pablo Casanueva Spain, 2021, 33 min, DCP, colour, Asturian-Spanish Cinematography, editing Pablo Casanueva / Sound Carlos Maestre / Music Manuel de Falla (Tine Thing Helseth y Kathryn Stott) / Production Solombra
Termitas Session 3 Dreamed Alyonka [Alyonka soñada]. Re-edited Alyonka. Digested Alyonka. Dreams and editing are, perhaps, forms of digestion. Forms of comprehension and transformation. Alyonka soñada is a film that dreams, overcomes, digests, comprehends, transforms, another film, Alyonka. The first Alyonka is a Soviet film from 1961, directed by Boris Barnet, a filmmaker with a complicated career (complicated is, in this case, a euphemism). Although we do not know whether or not he was happy, we do know that his films made his audience happy. Alyonka is a film with a girl, with plains, with trucks, with blue skies and white clouds, with love, with energy, with a little dog, with ice-creams and with beer. It is a film that the filmmakers dreamed about before they could see it, until the internet put it into their hands (and this is also dealt with in Alyonka soñada, regarding how films reach us) and they carried on dreaming after seeing it. Alyonka soñada is, perhaps, a film that also invites us to dream about it, or which invites us to realise how we dream about films. Although this does not stop it from being extremely refined, it also shows us a homemade, artisan form of film-making, of working with what we see, of celebrating what we marvel at. It’s a film that reminds us that all of us, at least in our dreams, are editors. A film that dreams of a film of the past and which, so we believe, also dreams of films of the future, films that, with the example of its lightness, invites us to make. Pablo García Canga
Alyonka soñada Volga Spain-Germany-Lebanon, 2021, 71 min, DCP, colour, Russian-Spanish-English-Catalan Cinematography, editing, sound, music, production Volga
With the aim of proposing a space in which to meet and talk about documentary film, NaparDocs was created in 2018 by NAPAR, an association of audiovisual production companies in Navarre. This open meeting has been growing in the festival, maturing and extending beyond the territory of Navarre. Specifically, it is a space for debate around three working tables on screenwriting and directing, film production and distribution, with dialogues moderated by guests invited by the festival. Based on these three presentations, NaparDocs gives us the opportunity to exchange experiences and create links with other professionals. One of the new features this year will be a networking session with the aim of promoting co-productions and creating cross-border bridges through the Zinema Zubiak project, an initiative that NAPAR shares with Ibaia, an association of independent audiovisual production companies in the Basque Country, and Zukugailua, an organisation for film creation in the Northern Basque Country.
Round table: Research, programming and preservation in alternative archives
Within the context of the retrospective Who Will Tell the Story? Beginnings of Documentary Film in Morocco, curated by Omar Berrada and Ali Essafi, Punto de Vista Festival enters into collaboration with Léa Morin and the Research Department at the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, leading to the digitization of the material available from two hitherto practically unspooled films made by the documentary filmmakers Abdlerkader Lagtaâ and Mostafa Derkaoui at the end of the 1980s: Le port de Casablanca and La femme rurale au Maroc (the latter in collaboration with Fatima Mernissi). Within the same framework, we welcome Touda Bouanani, head of Archives Bouanani in Rabat, from where she has driven the recovery of her father’s work and that of a whole generation of Moroccan filmmakers. Touda will stay on in Pamplona after the festival, undertaking a research residency at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Huarte (CACH). In the company of all these guests, we will ask ourselves about the challenges and possibilities of research, programming and preservation in alternative archives, particularly in Morocco.
Léa Morin (researcher and curator), Touda Bouanani (Archives Bouanani), Omar Berrada (researcher and curator), Ali Essafi (filmmaker and researcher), Pablo La Parra (Coordinator of the Research Department at the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola), Manuel Asín (Artistic Director of Punto de Vista)
For a fiction essay Film conference with Léa Morin
This presentation will specifically use extracts from films digitized by Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola within the framework of the partnership with Punto de Vista.
25th September 1967, Karim Idriss, a young Moroccan filmmaker wrote a letter to the rector of the Łódź Film School in Poland. It was an application for admission. In it, he set out his career and his present struggles for a Moroccan cinema, something in which he was actively participating. A few years later he wrote a letter to the Moroccan Journal of Culture, Souffles, about his documentary (which would be banned) Les enfants du Haouz (1970), a free speech film about the marginalised adolescents in Morocco. Despite extensive enquiries, we have been unable to trace this film, the same is true for the last film made in Poland by Karim: Et l’exil de tous les jours. Based on these two letters, on missing films, on documents, photos, archives and dozens of film clips and rushes, we will talk of films that will never be screened: films not yet traced, lost, banned, destroyed, unfinished films, rushes and even films still at the project stage or simply ideas. They will take us from Poland to Iraq, from the Berrechid psychiatric hospital to the Port of Casablanca, from the Hay Mohammadi shanty towns towards the rural regions of the country. There are still traces of these movements. Labels on a reel, a camera model on a photo shoot, a student’s diploma, a few lines in a CV or in a press article, and images exhumed bit by bit. How can things be pieced together from this material? How can these tentative fragments be reassembled? How can one possibly think about writing a story for the cinema when it carries a series of erosions, omissions, deletions and disappearances? How can one include uncertainty, attempts and trial and error? How is it possible to preserve these films that do not exist? Would it be possible to make use of film restoration methodologies in order to preserve traces of the absent? What place should this work directed at political and aesthetic recomposition be given in fiction? Is it possible to restore and rekindle today the desire to make films and the dreams of revolution embraced by these young filmmakers in order to propose the invention of new spaces for our futures? And if the archives were actually spaces for reinvention?... Léa Morin
Léa Morin is an independent curator, researcher and programmer. She participates in projects (publishing, exhibitions and restoration) that bring together researchers, artists and technicians. Her research focuses mainly on the circulation of ideas, forms, aesthetics and political and artistic struggles during the period of independence (the 1960s and 1970s). She is a member of the team of “Archives Bouanani: Une Histoire du cinéma au Maroc” (Rabat) and of Talitha, an association dedicated to the recirculation of sound and physical works (Rennes). She has designed the archive-sharing website CINIMA3: Lodz-Casablanca (www.cinima3.com).
Persons from cinema: first person singular Talk by Paulino Viota
In the field of the documentary, which is what this festival is all about, a trend which some have called “autobiographical” or even “self-absorbed” has been developing of late. It consists of films which address the lives of their authors or their closest relatives. They feature everyday circumstances or the dramatic events of existence, death, illness, decrepitude, which deserve to be exorcised, we could say, by that great artifact which makes fast as it ousts that is cinema. This trend lodges us in the sphere of ordinary lives, far from the familiar, epic heroism found, for instance, in America, America (Elia Kazan, 1963). Epic is that which deserves to be related, but young documentary filmmakers have discovered that the difficulty and art of living, in any life, is worthy of being told. But America, America can be seen as a documentary, as a reconstruction, both faithful and fanciful, of the life of the author’s uncle. That leads us to other great fiction filmmakers who have also turned on themselves, who have deemed that their life experience deserves to be published. Very few have been brave enough to try out this mirror-cinema; only the cases of Fellini and Godard spring to mind. But what is interesting about these examples is that while they approach the autobiographical documentary, because they too lack heroic greatness, they distance themselves from such films through their authors’ highly unique personalities and their downright mastery of cinematographic expression. Due to this twofold antithetical relationship with documentaries, we thought it might be worthwhile holding a talk about Federico Fellini, who took this introspection further than anyone else in his films. His is an enthralling case, because the filmmaker portrayed himself at different levels; first through lookalikes, playing a kind of hide-and-seek with himself (Moraldo, Marcello, Guido Anselmi, Snàporaz, Pippo Battistella; in I vitelloni, La dolce vita, 8 ½, La città delle donne, Ginger e Fred) and then actually appearing in person (Block-notes di un regista, I clowns, Roma, Intervista). Reflecting on this set of unparalleled films can shed a new, perhaps more revealing, light on this world of the first-person documentary which poses questions for the festival. Paulino Viota
Paulino Viota (Santander, 1948) is the author of the feature films Contactos (1970), a work restored by Filmoteca Española in 2010 and which is part of the Collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Duración (1970), also in the museum collection; Con uñas y dientes (1977-78); and Cuerpo a cuerpo (1982). His complete works, which include a number of short films made between 1966 and 1974, have been published by Intermedio DVD. From the early eighties onwards, Viota has devoted himself to studying and teaching filmmaking. He was a professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona, at CECC-Centre d’Estudis Cinematogràfics de Catalunya, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian) and at Filmoteca de Cantabria. He has given conferences in the leading cultural and film institutions of Spain.
Contactos opens cinema up to the other artistic disciplines and knowledge-related activities we call science. This is especially relevant when thinking about documentary cinema, which by definition is oriented towards reflection and knowledge, and shares an interest in investigating reality with the other contemporary arts. The section takes its name from one of the most radical and overwhelming films in the history of Spanish cinema, Contactos (Paulino Viota, 1970), which was included in the festival’s first Heterodocsias Rewind in 2010.
In this edition, we have given Fernando Gandasegui carte blanche to organise a small living arts programme —one of the most fertile components of the latest editions of the festival, which was launched by the previous artistic director Garbiñe Ortega and we enthusiastically wish to continue—, and invited Bruno Delgado Ramo, Esperanza Collado, Paula Guerrero and Javier Montero to treat us to a set of performances and installations. Fernando took one of this year’s avenues for reflection as a basis, the rivers present in one of the two retrospectives, while Bruno, Esperanza, Paula and Javier will work on the subject of the screen as geometry and minimum element of cinema. Everything is set to take place at the Museo Oteiza.
Finally, in collaboration with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, we will host the world premiere of Aquí no hay nada que comprender, a documentary about the work of Elena Asins (19402015), an artist from Madrid who lived for a long time in Azpirotz (Navarra). We will also screen Líneas y puntos (2010), one of the numerous videos that Asins made with her collaborator, the composer Gorka Alda. The piece has been chosen by Gorka himself for the occasion.
Desbordes: otra historia del ojo Our eyes have turned to water. Laia Estruch, Sibina
In Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, there is a scene which takes place in a bullring, which, like theatrical architectures, is a place from which to look. In the scene, “under a blinding sun”1, among other ocular conjunctions, the spectators witness a bullfight in which the bull charges the bullfighter, flipping him in the air as it gores him. One of its horns spears an eye, which comes out of its socket, overflowing like a river when it grows. Within Desbordes: otra historia del ojo flow works whose performativity surpasses the pre-eminence of the scopic regime, the relationship of vision with events, the body or the territory, works whose iridescence opens up space for the configuration of other possible agencies in the gaze of the spectators. Like a river, the programme proposes a route which flows through the connection between Aumentar el caudal de un río by Luz Broto, Pigmeus do Mondego by Nilo Gallego and Respiración oceánica by Itziar Okariz with the collaboration of Izar Ocariz. It begins with Luz Broto’s intervention —two pictures which were part of the original installation are shown here. The basis of the work consisted of literally and minutely increasing the flow of the Segre River in Lleida, which has been lower for a century due to economic interests. Preserving the relationship of visual scales or volumes of the project, one of the images is the furtive view of the hidden hose from which the water gushed into the river, while the other shows an aerial view of the river running through the territory with its imperceptibly increased flow.
The curatorial project continues with Pigmeus do Mondego, a performance by Nilo Gallego which was presented at Citemor, a festival held in Montemor-oVelho, one of the longest-standing and most important performing arts events on the peninsula. The Mondego River meanders through the paddy fields of this small Portuguese town, and Nilo Gallego and his collaborators turned the river into an astonishing stage for their performance, turning the Mondego into a sonorous participant. The video of the work will be accessible on the living arts web platform Teatron during the week of the festival. The programme ends with Respiración oceánica by Itziar Okariz at the Museo Oteiza. In this performance, the sound produced by Ujjayi breathing, as used in yoga, emanates from the bodies of Itziar Okariz and Izar Ocariz, flowing through their speech apparatus just like rivers flow into oceans. Like great masses of water, the amplified breathing of Itziar and Izar floods everything, transporting us towards the zero degree of meaning, where before the word there was sound, a horizon of images yet to be created. The physical phenomenon by which certain bodies absorb moisture from the air until they form an aqueous solution and become water is called deliquescence. Imagine that these bodies are eyes. Deliquescent eyes which absorb everything that happens until they spill from their sockets. Spectators with eyes of water which recover the agency to build another place from which to look, another story of the eye. Fernando Gandasegui 1. Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye, Ruedo Ibérico, Paris, 1977.
Aumentar el caudal de un río Luz Broto
An intervention which tries to minimally offset, from the furtive and the precarious, the incidence that major infrastructure has on the state of a territory. The project consisted of creating a new channel to divert water from the Seròs canal, built a century ago to feed a hydroelectric power station, and return it to the Segre river, whose reduced flow as it passes through the city of Lleida is below the minimum that environmental standards set. While the canal takes water from the river and returns it to the Segre 25 km further on, this intervention worked as a shortcut to return some of the water diverted into the river. Although its impact on flow volumes was not visible, it worked on a small scale trying to offset (about 40 l/h) the current distribution: 60,000 l/s for the canal and 2,000 l/s for the river. The rechannelling, effected with hidden hoses, worked thanks to the siphon effect. The set-up remained in place for seven months before it disappeared. Aumentar el caudal de un río was produced in 2014 for Campo Adentro (Centre d’Art la Panera) and is part of the MACBA collection.
Luz Broto is an artist and lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona. She works with space, with what is here, taking into account the architecture of the place, its urban environment or position within a territory, its infrastructure or organisational structure, its regulations, uses and protocols; and proposes minimal operations which change everything. She has carried out site-specific intervention projects in collaboration with different institutions and in various contexts, such as Asimilar la temperatura exterior (Secession, Vienna, 2011), Aumentar el caudal de un río (Centro de Arte la Panera, Lleida, 2014), Abrir un agujero permanente (MACBA, Barcelona, 2015), Derogar las normas de uso relativas al silencio (Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, San Sebastian, 2016), Tensar una línea entre dos interiores paralelos (FLORA, Bogotá, 2018) or recently Prolongar los pilares (ethall, L’Hospitalet, 2021). She has received production grants such as Blueproject Foundation, BCN Producción or currently the Botín Foundation’s Visual Arts Grant. luzbroto.net
Pigmeus do Mondego Nilo Gallego
110 Performance on the Mondego river near Montemor-o-Velho using sound elements from the environment, together with percussion, wind instruments and electronic devices. Project designed especially for the Citemor festival with the participation of seven musicians/partners and the collaboration of different people from the locality. Produced by María Ordás / Video recording Hugo Barbosa, Pamela Gallo, Adán Santiago / Video editing Raúl Alaejos, Nilo Gallego / Citemor technical coordination Carlos Ramos / General coordination Vasco Neves / Production Joana Macias / Citemor Festival directed by Armando Valente, Vasco Neves
Nilo Gallego is a musician who produces performances based on experimentation with sound. In his works, which always involve a playful component, he seeks interaction with the environment and the quotidian. He plays drums, percussion and electronic instruments. He also creates music and designs sound space for theatre and contemporary dance companies, is part of the experimental action group Orquestina de pigmeos (with Chus Domínguez) and regularly collaborates with creators such as Silvia Zayas, Alex Reynolds or the company Societat Doctor Alonso. Pigmeus do Mondego are Nilo Gallego, Noemí Fidalgo, Ana Cortés, Raúl Alaejos, Varis Fuertes and Pedro Sousa Coias, with the collaboration of the musicians Katsunori Nishimura and Markus Breuss, and the participation of Guilherme Barbosa, José Dias, Pedro Miguel, Mario Neves, Andreia and Jessica, Ignacio Martinez, Saul García, Sinead Conolly, Jessica, Joana, Joí¢o, Mariana, Mariana Pardal, Mariana Vizinha, Rafael Nobre, Ruben, Tiago and Clube de Canoagem do Infante Montemor.
Respiración oceánica Itziar Okariz with the collaboration of Izar Ocariz
This work is built from a chorus of breaths. Ujjayi is a type of breathing used in yoga. The word means I victorious and is usually translated as ocean breathing because that is the image it evokes. The piece is figurative in nature, between the abstract space of the sound of breathing and the image it generates, as if sign and sense were separate, fractured.
Itziar Okariz works within the framework of action and performance, questioning the ways in which language is regulated and the signs which define us are produced. Her work —vocal performances, instantaneous acts, videos, installations and pieces of text— examines the ties between architecture, territory, body ritual, sexuality and semiotics. Often associated with feminist practices, punk rock and queer criticism of normative constructions of gender, Itziar deploys a form of aesthetic dissidence associated with Situationism. Her projects include: Unquiet Objects, Disjecta, Portland (2021); Respiración oceánica in Moving Words, Rimi Scenekunst, Stavanger; Personae, máscaras contra la barbarie, Els Baluard, Palma de Mallorca; La noche de las ideas, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2021); Las Estatuas, Fundación Oteiza, Alzuza (2020); Bodies of Water, 13th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai (2020); Perforado por, Spanish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, together with Sergio Prego (2019); Footnote to a Footnote, Academia Española, Rome; I Never Said Umbrella, Tabakalera, San Sebastian (2018); Una construcción… CA2M, Madrid (2018); Ideorritmias, MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2017); Itziar Okariz, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel (2017); Dream Diary, Ars Parcours, Basel (2017). Izar Ocariz likes reading, writing, drawing and doing karate. They both live in Bilbao.
Acciones para la pantalla Bruno Delgado Ramo + Paula Guerrero + Esperanza Collado + Javier Montero / Las Synergys
The rectangle was here before we came, and it will be here after we have gone. So it seems that a film is, first, a confined space, at which you and I, we, a great many people, are staring. Hollis Frampton
But were the light reflected on our faces to come from a window, and the image projected parallel to it were to be lost in the sunlight of the landscape, were the film to have been sustained in time for a week or so, and we found ourselves there, observing, waiting, what form would the absence of the screen then take? We think of the missing rectangle, and yet, from our empirical location and experience, we always saw a trapezoid, many trapezoids, all different, and each person, at each instant, had ours. Starting up the screen, giving it certain autonomy, could help us confirm the proposition that Isidoro Valcárcel Medina expounds in 9 secuencias sobre la pantalla: projection as servant of the support on which it rests. In the projection environment, the audience’s level of attention fluctuates and is nuanced according to different environmental parameters while some specific elements are maintained, favouring attention as a shared gesture, a filmic gesture. Kidnapping the screen would undoubtedly disrupt attention, but what if the state of confusion and the need to search for a support for the light brings back that shared gesture?
Bruno Delgado Ramo approaches his interdisciplinary work as investigations based on the experimental, material and spatial practice of cinematographic media in which the ideas of specificity, procedure or spatial reading are important, leading him to see filming and projection as light processes at specific locations in specific contexts. This time, he has prepared Acciones para la pantalla with Paula Guerrero, Esperanza Collado and Javier Montero as the group Las Synergys. The idea was devised with the participation of the Gabinete kino~okno project, which the group develops in Espacio Santa Clara in Seville, with which it shares its inquiry into the connections between the window and cinema. With the support of Ayudas Creación Injuve
We are screening this film programme as part of the actions which make up the intervention at the Museo Jorge Oteiza. Continuing with the same reflections which drive the most manifestly spatial moments of the proposal, with this series of films we aim to trace different hypotheses on the filmic experience resulting from sensitive investigation of the network of connections between screen and window, and support and light. Under this premise, each film presents us with a hypothesis. This relates different states, materials or actions linked to the luminous instant that projection and the window activate. Far from establishing a code, these concepts could configure a structure in which to begin to support a tautological exploration of our conventions and uses of the screen and the window. We learn to inhabit the projection with the grounding of the window. We project on the window the sensitive education we have developed on the screen. Although the circumstances of projection and the windows vary (we are not talking about an ideal scheme), our sensitive training activates certain elements or perceptual structures in the absence of their intrinsic factors. In general terms, we recognise three components in the use of the window implicit in the practice of projection: the cut (outline of a field), the insurmountable threshold (a boundary which, embodied in the support, is not designed to be crossed but sustains the coexistence of two divided spaces) and the irruption of waves in a stable environment (vectors, for example, of light, sound or wind). The interplay of these three components heightens the tensions between the contained and the expansive, between the interior and the exterior or between the surface and depth. In particular terms, each window and each screen motivate specific factors. And so it is with the programme. The order of the films can be seen to trace a sequence of concrete notions, part of a path to walk without interruption. First of all, the focus, in search of a figure, squinting towards that luminous moment we were talking about and depositing our attention through it. We leave that other space in which we find ourselves, a void nuanced in shadow, where our body is immersed and sustained by the conditions of the environment. While our eye receives the light reflected by the flat support, the rigid fabric on which to pour the two-dimensional image has the ability to transform the space in which we find ourselves. A place shaped by the concentrated light and by its absence outside the limit established by the support. Like the window (we are talking about the window that is no longer door), the screen actualises a threshold which our bodies, in principle, do not cross. We see the wind, but it does not cross the threshold. This is the interface of the luminous instant. Sunlight reflecting off the landscape, the glare of the projector reflecting off the screen: both light sources have the potential to dazzle, the glare could imprint black or blue spots on our retinas. That is why we will always choose to see the reflection, being at most the only thing that we can see (the reflection on things), which will produce softer retinal persistences.
We find that the films implicitly contain, within themselves and between each other, concepts which could be antagonistic, such as, for example, the most obvious one, light and darkness. But we also seek, through them, other analogous figures, such as the window and the screen. This leads us, firstly, to understand certain mechanisms of vision and, secondly, to reflect on the conventions of the filmic situation on the basis of these observations of everyday life. Bruno Delgado Ramo, Paula Guerrero
Focus I Jenny Okun United Kingdom, 1977, 3 min, 16mm, colour, silent
A Proposal to Project in 4:3 Viktoria Schmid Austria, 2016, 2 min, 16mm, colour, silent
Windmill II Chris Welsby United Kingdom, 1972, 8 min, 16mm, colour, silent
Room Window Sea Sky Peter Todd United Kingdom, 2014, 3 min, 16mm, colour, silent
Arequipa Barbara Hammer USA, 1981, 12 min, 16mm, colour, silent
Window Stan Brakhage USA, 1976, 10 min, super-8, colour, silent
Eye Eclipse + 3 Suns + Solar, the blindman eating a papaya + Heat Ray João Maria Gusmao, Pedro Paiva Portugal, 2007-2011, 9 min, 16mm, colour, silent
Double feature: Elena Asins
Líneas y puntos Elena Asins, Gorka Alda Spain, 2010, 5 min, DCP, B&W, no dialogue
In her later work, Elena Asins experimented intensely in the medium of video alongside the composer Gorka Alda. It was a way of giving a new, temporal development to her long-standing investigations into geometry. Líneas y puntos is one of the twenty-two videos which remain from the collaboration between Alda and Asins, one of the artist’s lesser known and least studied bodies of work. It has been chosen by the composer to open this session.
Olga Sevillano is head of Digital Projects at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. She is in charge of coordinating, managing and developing the museum’s website and won a 2018 Webby award for the best cultural institution site. Javi Álvarez is a musician and artist. He makes video, outreach and documentary pieces. He won a 2017 Ondas award for the podcast Catástrofe ultravioleta.
Aquí no hay nada que comprender. Un documental sobre Elena Asins Javi Álvarez, Olga Sevillano Spain, 2020, 62 min, DCP, colour, Spanish World premiere
An exploration of the uniqueness of Elena Asins’ work, which spans a wide range of formats and media, from concrete poetry, drawing and video to sculpture and installation. An ensemble story in which different voices try to answer many of the questions posed by a strict and demanding art. Film presented in collaboration with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Each year, since 2010, Punto de Vista has been inviting three filmmakers to submit a project for a documentary essay film to be shot in Navarra. The X Films Project is named after the Navarra film company founded by Juan Huarte in 1963 with the idea of producing films that “have a unique artistic interest”, in which artists such as Jorge Oteiza, Néstor Basterretxea, Rafael Ruiz Balerdi and José Antonio Sistiaga, to name but a few, took their first steps in the world of filmmaking. Reviving this spirit of sponsorship, the festival aims to offer emerging filmmakers the opportunity to create a new project while, at the same time, bringing new voices from the non-fiction scene to Navarra.
In this edition, Blanca Camell Galí, Hugo Amoedo and Magdalena Orellana have been invited to present their proposals. This year, the jury formed by Anna Manubens, Miquel Martí Freixas and Catarina Boieiro will select one of the projects, which must be produced in the course of 2022 as a personal essay film, with a minimum duration of twenty minutes. The winning film will then be premiered at the next edition of Punto de Vista. Furthermore, this year features the premiere screening of San Simón 62, by Irati Gorostidi and Mirari Echávarri, the twelfth film to win X Films. Likewise, the audience will get the chance to enjoy a session showing some of the previous works by this year’s candidates, and also to attend the presentation and pitch of their projects in a dynamic, interactive session.
X Films Jury
Anna Manubens is the director of Hangar, an art production and research centre in Barcelona, and teaches at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in San Sebastian. Before this she was an independent curator and producer with a preference for hybrid roles in the intersection between writing, research, programming, project support, institutional analysis and exhibitions. She was in charge of public programmes at the CAPC contemporary arts centre in Bordeaux, and before this combined her independent work with teaching at the Pompeu Fabra university and regular work with the artist-run Auguste Orts platform in Brussels, devoted to production and exploration of artist’s films. She has worked on films by Herman Asselberghs, Sven Augustijnen, Manon de Boer, Anouk De Clercq, Emily Wardill, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Fiona Tan, Joachim Koester, Dora García, Alex Reynolds y Adrian Schindler, among others.
Miquel Martí Freixas. Programmer, cultural manager, teacher and film critic. Specialised in non-fiction cinema. His practice focuses on the construction of audiences and the creation of cultural events that connect with citizens. Programmer in several cultural spaces (Documenta Madrid, États généraux du film documentaire, Filmoteca de Catalunya, and ZINEBI, among others). Member of the team that reopened the Zumzeig Cinema, which received the City of Barcelona Award 2018. He is the co-director of La Inesperada Film Festival. Guest lecturer at ESCAC since 2009, and founder of the online magazine Blogs&Docs, the first publication in Spain dedicated to the analysis of documentary film.
Catarina Boieiro is an independent producer, curator and researcher. Her work focuses on the documentary image and contemporary creativity off the dominant film circuits. She works with Stenar Projects, a platform for producing and distributing films by artists like Ana Vaz, Filipa César, Deborah Stratman and Emily Wardill, among others. She staged the exhibition “Résistance Visuelle Généralisée. Livres de photographie et mouvements de libération (Angola, Mozambique, Guinée-Bissau, Cap-Vert”) (2021-2022, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, funded by the Gulbenkian foundation), the result of a process of historical research and curation together with Raquel Schefer. She was editorial coordinator of Doc’s Kingdom – International Seminar on Documentary Film in 2021.
X Films filmmakers
Blanca Camell Galí (1990) studied Audiovisual Communication at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona, and was awarded a master’s degree in cinema at the Université Paris 8. She continued her studies at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains. Her films explore female desire, working with reality to make it reverberate in fiction. Her shorts L’oreig, Ídols, Tombent les heures and Pol·len have been screened at festivals such as IndieLisboa, Festival de Málaga, Seminci, Cinespaña, D’A Film Festival, Premiers Plans d’Angers and Côté Court.
Hugo Amoedo. I am a filmmaker and live in Brussels. In my shorts, I have worked fiction, documentary and filmed diary. I have addressed themes such as love, solitude and uncertainty, trying to mix intimate and political aspects, as well as drama and comedy. My current interest is in work, friendship and walking. In my first feature film project, To Redigit, produced by Atelier Graphoui (Belgium), I am going to film two guys working in a studio for large scale digitisation of archives; it will be a film on gestures, ways of looking and some archive images that will shatter the digitisation machines.
Selected filmography Pol·len (2019), Tombent les heures (2018), Ídols (2016), L’oreig (2014)
Selected filmography Europa (2017), On n’a pas fait l’amour (2014), Camping Wesertal (2013), Robin&Robin (2012)
Magdalena Orellana (Buenos Aires, 1990) is a filmmaker and designer living in Madrid. She studied at the Design faculty of the University of Buenos Aires, at ECAM (Madrid), and at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian), where she shot Todo esto es aún más intenso si a esa hora tardía se visita a un amigo para ver cómo le va, premiered at ZINEBI. Her work has been shown at institutions such as the Círculo de Bellas Artes, The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, Cineteca Madrid and Tabakalera, among others. She is currently working on her first feature film Hasta que el lugar se haga improbable, a project that is supported by the Festival of San Sebastián, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, the Márgenes Festival and Matadero Madrid.
Selected filmography Todo esto es aún más intenso si a esa hora tardía se visita a un amigo para ver cómo le va (2020), A smile is not a paradigm (2018), I’ll wrap my words in paper bags (2018), Sobre la mesa las escaleras (2018), Last Night I Dreamt People Were Playing Football on Ice (2018), Conversaciones (2016)
Session of previous films
Conversaciones Magdalena Orellana, Spain, 2016, 5 min, DCP, colour, Spanish
Last Night I Dreamt People Were Playing Football on Ice Magdalena Orellana, Spain, 2018, 3 min, DCP, colour, English
Sobre la mesa las escaleras Magdalena Orellana, Spain, 2018, 5 min, DCP, colour, Spanish
A smile is not a paradigm Magdalena Orellana, USA, 2018, 4 min, DCP, B&W, English
Todo esto es aún más intenso si a esa hora tardía se visita a un amigo para ver cómo le va Magdalena Orellana, Spain, 2020, 8 min, DCP, B&W-colour, Spanish
Europa Hugo Amoedo, Belgium-Spain, 2017, 28 min, DCP, colour, Spanish
Tombent les heures Blanca Camell Galí, France, 2018, 26 min, DCP, colour, French
X Films 2021 Project
San Simón 62 Irati Gorostidi, Mirari Echávarri Spain, 2022, DCP, colour, Basque-Spanish World premiere
Image, direct sound, production Irati Gorostidi, Mirari Echávarri / Editing Mirari Echávarri, Irati Gorostidi, Ainara Elgoibar, Usue Arrieta / Selected filmography Mirari Echávarri: San Simón 62 (2022), Cuerpos #1 Santa Águeda (2017), Irati Gorostidi: San Simón 62 (2022), Unicornio (2021), OT-IL (2020), Euritan (2017), Pasaia Bitartean (2016)
In the 80s a monastery in Lizaso (Navarra) housed the eccentric Arco Iris (Rainbow) community. The building’s anodyne walls were decorated with enormous floral motifs and its halls hosted large gatherings to experiment with new age-style cathartic practices. Today the building is home to a closed community of monks and that episode has left almost no traces. The authors of San Simón 62 go there following the testimony of their mothers who, trying to cast off the after-effects of the Franco dictatorship and deal with the personal and political challenges of this new period in Spanish history, spent time in the Arco Iris community.
Another year on, the festival is shaping activities specifically for younger audiences, as a commitment to its current and future community. The Punto de Vista educational programme wishes to give children and young people the chance to experiment with cinema as a form of art and knowledge, by putting on screenings, activities and workshops. As usual, we will work with Drac Màgic, presenting two children’s workshops held in the Civivox headquarters, and this year we will also welcome the A Bao A Qu association, that will curate and guide sessions for children at the Golem cinema and young people at Filmoteca de Navarra. Furthermore, also through A Bao A Qu, this year we are starting off the Young Programmers by Punto de Vista project, that aims to initiate a group of young people in the programming work required by a festival: guided by teachers, programmers and filmmakers Mercedes Álvarez and Arturo Redín, they will pick a film from several suggestions and present it in a session open to the public.
Images for the Planet In partnership with the Civivox civic centre network and Drac Màgic, we are organising two workshops aimed at children and young people.
Drac Màgic is a social cooperative founded in 1971, devoted to study and education about audiovisual creativity and its use in a range of educational, social and cultural activities. Its goal is to stimulate thought and action around images to help build a responsible, active and creative society.
Ecologist audiovisual editing
Portraits of Mendillorri: The Instant Magic of Printing
Starting from an archive of pictures of different natural and human ecosystems, we’ll experiment with ordering images, music, sound effects and voice to create little film utopias concerning the future of the planet. The workshop uses a piece of technological genius, the MashUp Table, to enable us to work on collaborative, creative film editing.
With light-sensitive paper, an object and a little light: let’s create a photo! It might look like the recipe for a magic potion, but this is the basis of photography. Starting from natural elements to be found around the lake of Mendillori, in this workshop we will explore the mechanisms that make it possible to capture an image to generate experimental photographs.
Discovering the world
A Bao A Qu proposes a cinematographic adventure in three acts that invites audiences to discover characters and places in countries very different from our own. Together with Fatima, Reza and René we’ll ask questions, laugh, doubt and be excited. The session is a hymn to film and music, as well as opening up a space for reflection about our own and other people’s emotions, the world of children, the adult world and our relations with nature and the city.
Nan va Koutcheh (The Bread and Alley) Abbas Kiarostami Iran, 1970, 10 min, DCP, B&W, Persian In his first fictional short, Abbas Kiarostami narrates an everyday adventure. A child is going the usual way home through the streets of his neighbourhood. He has a little mission: to bring the bread home for dinner. But he comes up against an unexpected obstacle: the fear of a dog he finds in his way. Will he be able to make it?
Petite lumière (Little Light) Alain Gomis Senegal, 2003, 15 min, DCP, colour, Wolof-French A journey through the inner experience of Fatima, an 8-year-old Senegalese girl who tries to understand the world. Does the light in the fridge stay on when the door is closed? Are people still there when we have our eyes closed? Through her eyes, the sounds that surround her and her sensory experiences, we witness the discovery and questioning of a world that does not always match the adult version of itself.
Rentrée des classes (Back to School) Jacques Rozier France, 1955, 24 min, DCP, B&W, French The summer holidays are coming to an end in a small village in Provence and René, who hasn’t done his homework yet, asks his old friend Susu for help. When the first day of school arrives, in response to a dare by a classmate, he throws his satchel into the river. This is to be the start of a great adventure of discovery of nature. Jacques Rozier’s first film is a hymn to freedom and an ode to the senses through which René sees, hears and discovers.
Portraits, Words, Emotions: Between Fiction and Documentary
In partnership with Servicio de Bibliotecas and Filmoteca de Navarra, A Bao A Qu presents a double bill aimed at young audiences: two shorts released last year, with the authors taking part in the session to talk about their creative processes, cinematographic choices and the wishes and needs behind their films. Mikel Gurrea through fiction, Lur Olaizola through a documentary packed with poetry, explore the value of words, the strength of youth, memory, the material, sensitivity.
Heltzear Mikel Gurrea
Spain, 2021, 17 min, DCP, colour, Basque San Sebastian, 2000. The Basque conflict is still going on. As she writes a letter to her brother who is away, Sara, a 15-year-old climber, is in training for the most difficult climb of her life. The film explores, in a subtle, evocative way, the transition from adolescence to adult life, the strength and power of climbing as a sport, absence and silence. Heltzear premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it was the first short in Basque to go into the official competition.
Zerua blu Lur Olaizola Lizarralde
Spain, 2020, 14 min, DCP, colour, Basque On 24th January 1954, Mamaddi Jaunarena boarded a ship in Le Havre bound for New York. She was 22 years old and all she knew was where to meet the lady for whom she was to work as a maid. The voyage took seven days and six nights. This could be the beginning of a story. Or a film. Because Mamaddi’s journey begins in the cinema in her Basque village, Ortzaize, with images that leap out of the screen, enter her life and remain with her forever: a beautiful Cadillac, a young woman, the blue sky.
Young Programmers by Punto de Vista
A Bao A Qu is a cultural association founded in 2004 specifically dedicated to projects that link creation and education, involving children and young people, creators (filmmakers, photographers, artists...) and teachers. Among the programs developed by the association are “Cinema in progress”, “Photography in progress”, “Creators in residence in Barcelona high schools” and the European projects “Moving Cinema”, “Inside Cinema”, and “CinEd”.
For the first time the festival is organising the project Young Programmers Moving Cinema, a programming space run by young people between the ages of 16 and 19 who will be responsible for selecting and accompanying one of the films that will be part of the festival. During the workshop, a group of young people will meet over several weeks to watch a series of films proposed by filmmakers, programmers and teachers Mercedes Álvarez and Arturo Redín, and then discuss them in order to select one to be screened at the festival, presented by themselves. Drawing up a film programme involves watching films carefully, knowing about filmmakers’ work, establishing relations, thinking about how to show a film to make it a special experience for spectators and coming up with ways to support and publicise it to enable it to be discovered and appreciated. By engaging in these processes, the Young Programmers will forge a very special link with the films they see and program, and can pass this on to other young people. “Jóvenes Programadores by Punto de Vista” is possible thanks to the collaboration of Fundación Caja Navarra and is part of the European project Moving Cinema, led by A Bao A Qu since 2014, and which has already been part of other festivals, including Festival de Cine de Sevilla, D’A Film Festival, l’Alternativa, BelDocs (Serbia), Kino Otok (Slovenia) and Vilnius Film Festival (Lithuania).
Sources of the images
p10 Archivo Real y General de Navarra stereoscopic photography (AGN, FOT_AMAT_174) p41 Back cover of the magazine Nejma (1987) with an advertisement indicating that Ahmed Bouanani is looking for a publisher for The Seventh Gate p46 Still of Amghar (Mostafa Derkaoui, 1968) p49 Still of Mémoire 14 (Ahmed Bouanani, 1971) p50 Still of Si Moh, pas de chance (Moumen Smihi, 1971) p52 Still of 6 &12 (Ahmed Bouanani, Majid Rechiche, Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi, 1968) p54 Still of Alyam, Alyam (Ahmed El Maânouni, 1978)
Sources of the screening prints
p68-69 Still of Paddle to the Sea (Bill Mason, 1966)
p47 Tetuán, la blanca. Copy provided by Filmoteca Española
p78-79 Still of O Movimento das Coisas (Manuela Serra, 1985)
p47 La fugue de Mahmoud. Copy provided by Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA)
p85 Still of MS Slavic 7 (Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2019) p99 Portrait of Paulino Viota (Óscar Fernández Orengo) p107 Aumentar el caudal de un río (Luz Broto, 2014) p108-109 Aumentar el caudal de un río (Luz Broto, 2014). Aerial photography HoverFilms APV p110-111 Image of Pigmeus do Mondego (Nilo Gallego)
p58-59 Actualités marocaines, promotional image [no date]
p112-113 Image of Respiración oceánica (Itziar Okariz with the collaboration of Izar Ocariz) at Perforado por, project curated by Peio Aguirre for the Venice Biennale in 2019
p62-63 Still of Rentrée des classes (Jacques Rozier, 1956)
p134 Still of Petite lumière (Alain Gomis, 2003)
p66-67 Still of Douro, faina fluvial (Manoel de Oliveira, 1931)
p47, 51, 55 Amghar, Marta, Une ombre parmi d’autres, Chant pour la mort des adolescents, Adopcja, Zofia i Ludmila, Lekcja 41, Elzbieta K. Copies provided by Łódź Film School p48, 51, 53 Tarfaya ou la marche d’un poète, Visages de Marrakech, Forêt, Le rocher, 6 & 12, Sin Agafaye, La nostalgie du naïf, Mémoire ocre. Copies courtesy of Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM) p55 Alyam, Alyam was restored in 2015 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with Ahmed El Maânouni. Restoration carried out at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory; 4k scan performed at Eclair laboratories p56 Transes was restored in 2007 by The World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata in association with Ahmed El Maânouni and Izza Genini. Restoration funding provided by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority p64 L’Hirondelle et la Mésange, An-Nil oual hayat. Copies provided by Cinémathèque Française p66 Douro, faina fluvial. Copy courtesy of Cinemateca Portuguesa
COURTISANE FESTIVAL NOTES ON CINEMA — 21ST EDITION — 30 MARCH > 3 APRIL 2022 GHENT BELGIUM WWW.COURTISANE.BE
IMAGE: ‘PSEUDOSPHYNX’ BY ANA VAZ
Palermo Cantieri culturali alla Zisa 30 May —— 5 June 2022 twelfth edition
SICILIA QUEER 2022 INTERNATIONAL NEW VISIONS FILMFEST
Septiembre 2022 | Buenos Aires - Argentina
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60 th VIENNA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 20–NOVEMBER 1, 2022 viennale.at
Porto/Post/Doc 9th Film & Media Festival 18-26 Nov 2022
www.filmfreeway.com/portopostdoc · www.vp.eventival.eu/portopostdoc
V 22 I
open from Jan 1 until Aug 31 2022