This is a peripheral tale and its main characters are castaways. It might be a set of portraits of filmmakers and their films, captured during their moments of creative drifting and indecision, though it might also be a set of portraits of their witnesses, the spectators. Any description would be incomplete, unjust, hasty. Let's just say, then that what this book seeks is something very simple and complex at the same time: to leave the path of following the story and walk progressively away from it to record the parts that often are left aside; not to offer an alternative story though, instead to speak about permanent things that we will never be able to arrange into the past. In the pages of these Intimate Elegies no attempt is made to tell the facts; the intention is rather to record the feelings that are stirred up. Our first question was not what is Film, nor did we concern ourselves with discovering who makes it; what we were interested in doing was discover the “why” behind all of it. Why film? Why Orson Wells or Jean-Luc Godard? Perhaps what we intended was not so much to rebuild images as it was to rebuild visions. Perhaps.
Today, there are a lot of people – too many – who sense a certain instability in film genres; no one seems interested in whether it is our perception that has become more unstable. Documentaries, however, seem to make the most of this and have taken the lead more than ever. And, of course, this book hopes to benefit from both things: the instability of fiction and the leadership of the documentary. Jean-Luc Godard said many years ago that films might be understood as “documentaries about his actors”; we thus turned this book into documents about those who wrote them, into autobiographical fragments that, together, might lead to a film genealogy, a story about fathers and children, about orphans and those who never left descendents. About unfinished work, diaries, trips, truths and lies. Some of the best documentaries made today reveal the artifice hidden behind their directing, their directors aware that there is no better way of recognizing that this artifice is a significant part of the situation being represented; this itself is what the creators in Intimate Elegies are trying by attempting forms of writing far from film critique, in search of some kind of different, alternative truth.
Hilario J. Rodríguez
© 2008 documenta madrid web: animo.es