Como foi o conto (Alberte Pagán, 2004)
Como foi o conto is a Christmas tale, with its mysteries, intrigues and unexpected ending. A Christmas tale told from an All Souls’ Day. A comedy about a tragedy.
Como foi o conto is an essay about the art of narration, about the structure of narration. About the narrator’s struggle to overcome the multiple obstacles set by the audience. About how the audience helps construct the story, about the rectifications, the clarifications. About the pleasure of narration. It is a meditation on the use of history as a source for myth.
Como foi o conto reveals how the power of our notions molds History, how our beliefs shape reality. We recover from reality only those facts which fit our preconceptions rather than adapt these preconceptions to the facts. Como foi o conto is a dialectical comparison between the objectivity of the first shot and the subjectivity of the following ones.
Como foi o conto is a home movie about human relations, about diglossia, about the generation gap, about religion, about education, about culture, about politics.
Como foi o conto is an analysis of the moving image and of the unavoidable influence of the camera on the filmed object. The videographic narration runs parallel to the personal narration and suffers the same interruptions and corrections.
Como foi o conto is.
Os waslala (Alberte Pagán, 2005)
The Waslala, peasants from the North of Nicaragua, Sandinistas persecuted by the Contra and the ReContra, undocumented citizens forgotten by the government.
The Waslala, squatters on Cocibolca island, expelled by the army time and again.
The Waslala, who fled the violence of the North, fed up with so many shootings and killings, ready to die in order to keep what has been conquered.
Os waslala, a documentary about Silvano, Taquín, Marcia. Three Waslala rescued from a sea of faces. Three faces and their gestures, their gazes, their serenity in the middle of anxiety, their dignity.
Os waslala, a structural-materialist film. Three faces, each with its own formal manipulation which hides them and discloses them at the same time.
An introduction and three portraits: four sections which may be projected as a four-screen installation.
More info: albertepagan.eu/cinema/filmografia/waslala/
Bs. As. (Alberte Pagán, 2006)
Bs. As. is a film about Buenos Aires and its relation with Galiza (thus, it is a film about emigration, which marked so many generations of Galizans). But it is not a film about the actual Buenos Aires, but about Bs. As. as a mythical, connotative, dreamed space.
Bs. As. searches the misery, the tragedies, the trauma, the departings related to emigration, which is still current today.
In a photographic prologue, the old images recover from forgetfulness the abstent relatives and the history of a family, so close to America. The photographs act as graphical anchorage to the story which will take place in the following sections.
The human voice is very important to the film. In the first part, a nostalgic, dialogical voice faces America from this side, faces absence from presence, the past from the present. At the same time, it is a voice from the past which looks for the present.
The second part of this diptic (both sections must be split, by distance, by the ocean, by language, by history, by time, the most terrible of distances) includes a voice from the present which gets to us from beyond the sea.
The first voice is ancestral, oral, dialogical: tales told by the fire. The second one is written, electronical, epistolary, modern. I engaged a reader with an accent, herself an emigré, because accent is the first feature of the emigrant, what identifies him/her, what discriminates him/her.
The epilogue is a long underground trip: it is the goodbye, the getting away from the big city. There is no contact, no voice: only the obsesive and insistent clatter of the train, which hit the traveller’s, the visitor’s, the spectator’s conscience. It is a clattering which takes the place of the voice, the place of the pain expressed by the voice.
more info: albertepagan.eu/cinema/filmografia/bs-as/
Pó de estrelas (Alberte Pagán, 2007)
“Pó de estrelas” est une Histoire de l’Univers. Des centaines d’histoires naissent parmi ses images et ses voix. De la naissance microscopique de la vie jaillit finalement le macroscopique. La ronde de nos déchets en orbite autour de la Terre dans un dernier rayon de soleil. Sa durée correspond au temps de prendre un café, de fumer une cigarette et de lire le journal au comptoir, alors que la frivolité des pubs TV siffle à vos oreilles. Mais l’Univers tremble quand nous ajoutons ce son aux terribles photos parues dans le journal. “Pó de estrelas” est une critique de la Société du Spectacle.
Pó de estrelas is a History of the Universe. Hundreds or thousands of stories cross its images and voices. From the microscopic birth of life till the final macroscopics. Space litter orbits around the Earth in the last shot.
Its length is the amount of time you need to have a coffee, smoke a cigarette and read the paper at the bar of the café, while the loud frivolity of the TV ads blasts your ears. But the Universe trembles when we take the sound off the ads and use it as a soundtrack to the photographs in the newspaper. Pó de estrelas is a critique of the Society of Spectacle.
The frames from the TV ads wander between stillness (isolated images) and movement. They carry two kinds of movement: that one which lingers from the ads, by means of the alternate editing of 10 frames from each ad, separated by other 10 frames from other 10 different ads; and the one produced by the similarity or difference of any contiguous frames. Thus, in spite of the strict editing, the speed of this section changes according to their content.
Tanyaradzwa (Alberte Pagán, 2008)
Best Galizan documentary at Play-Doc 2010
Image versus Narration
Tanyaradzwa is an experimental portrait midway between an Andy Warhol screen test and a talking heads confession. It’s about the Life, Opinions and Circumstance (in an Orteguian sense) of the woman portrayed. Three fourths of the footage is devoted to her circumstance. Only a small part of it is devoted to her life (17%) and opinions (9%). But the power of the WORD will make it look as a full-scale testimony: that is the challenge of the film, how to produce images which are valid by themselves, without the support of the word; how to escape from the dictatorship of speech, i.e. from narration. The stillness and duration of the shots are aimed at that.
Duration as a concrete dimension
The oral narration is the receiver of illusionist time: a whole life-span is being unrolled in front of us in just one hour. But that’s a pleasure only aimed at our ears, not at our eyes. The oral narration is embedded in long fix takes, which continue unrelentingly even when the voice stops, hesitates, disappears. To counterbalance this illusionist pleasure, the long empty shots fight the oppression of narration AND at the same time are the source of narration. The camera frames the woman, in silence; what was intended as a silent portrait becomes narration when the woman starts talking. But she wouldn’t start talking without the fixity of the frame, without the duration. Illusionist time would not be possible without the concreteness of duration.
The audience watches, the audience is being watched
While the non-narrative scenes try the patience and interest of the public, the narrative stream of the film, as a sort of visual (auditive) pleasure compensation, build up from opinion to the most personal and intimate secrets, to a climax not different to a strip-tease’s. But who’s getting stripped, the protagonist or the audience? The film is not about its protagonist: it’s about the public, whose reactions to what they see on the screen may lay bare their real selves, their misconceptions about “woman”, about “Africa” and “exoticism”. We watch Tanyaradzwa on the screen without realizing that it is actually US who are being watched by her. As Peeping Tom can only start when the protagonist opens his eyes, Tanyaradzwa can only end when Tanyaradzwa closes hers: We watch Tanyaradzwa watching us; she closes her eyes, the film ends.
Tanyaradzwa is the anti-Le Mystère Koumiko, Chris Marker’s trivial film.
Asahra hurratun! (Sahara livre!) (2009)
By Alberte Pagán. Voices and images. Sounds coming out of the sand. Poetry and politics: life.