DOCUMENTAMADRID, is gearing up for another edition, and has announced the first of the film series that will be held parallel to the festival. Every year it devotes a retrospective series to a filmmaker whose work has made a significant contribution to documentary film. This year’s retrospective series, entitled CARLOS SAURA: THE MUSIC AND THE MIRROR, will feature the documentaries that Aragon-born director Carlos Saura (Huesca, 1932) has devoted to different genres of music, progressively closing in on – in his own words – his ideal of a “pure musical”. With exquisite use of light and in the absence of any contrived plot devices, each of his films allow the viewer to get lost in the music, which is portrayed with overwhelming beauty teeming with emotion.
The series will include the medium-length film SEVILLANAS (1992), in which the filmmaker explores the genre, gathering together its most prominent artists – from the most traditional to the most popular – with a meticulously minimalist aesthetic and scenography that hinges on colour. It will also feature screenings of two documentaries by Saura that champion dance, offering his take on the genre’s essence and its great artists: FLAMENCO (1995) and IBERIA (2005), the latter of which is an adaptation of Isaac Albéniz’s suite which won a Goya for Best Cinematography, and FADOS (2007), the final instalment in Saura’s trilogy on modern urban song (preceded by Flamenco and the feature film Tango, which represented Argentina at the Oscars), which explores the music of Portugal’s slums and docklands and won a Goya for Best Original Song (Fado da saudade) in addition to being nominated for Best Documentary at the European Film Awards. The series will also include FLAMENCO, FLAMENCO (2010), in which the director scrutinises various different styles of flamenco through song and dance, and his most recent work ZONDA: FOLCLORE ARGENTINO (2015), which sees him explore Argentinean folklore in a fascinating journey through the past, present and future worlds of a genre that shaped the award-winning filmmaker’s youth.
The festival, which is promoted by Madrid City Council through CINETECA and has become one of the leading events devoted to the genre, will celebrate its thirteenth edition with an Official Section featuring some of the best non-fiction films from across the world produced in the past season and never before screened in Spain, which will compete for the Award for Best Documentary.
Fourteen feature-length films and the best shorts will vie for the award, and the opening and closing ceremonies will also feature screenings of two documentaries not participating in the competition.
This year brings a new addition to the festival’s Official Awards: the Award for Best Feature-Length Spanish Documentary, which is intended to recognise the increasingly extensive body of films produced in Spain that are achieving widespread acclaim outside our borders. With this new addition, the Overview of the Spanish Documentary Section, which provides a special overview each year of the cinema of the real produced in Spain, will become a competitive category, as feature-length documentaries never before screened in Spain will be eligible to compete for the award.
As is customary each year, the programme will be rounded off by a parallel series screened at Cine Doré, the headquarters of Filmoteca Española (Spanish Film Archive), in addition to a range of activities that will be announced in the weeks leading up to the festival.
CARLOS SAURA: THE MUSIC AND THE MIRROW
"A filmmaker may have many kinds of relationships with music, from turning it into a servile element used only to heighten drama to building an entire film around it. He or she may construct and shoot a film with music or based on music. However, there are some who aspire to filming music itself, as in the case of Carlos Saura. Or to integrating it within a concept of audiovisual performance or narrative where, to use Saura’s own words, “it isn't just the music that makes the image powerful, it’s the image that makes the music powerful”. (...) Saura's films on music (and not with music) defy any kind of generic categorizing and are still pieces that simply cannot be classified within Spanish film production. Saura continues to demonstrate a blind trust in the ability of music to produce genuine aesthetic emotions that are universal and need no further explanation about their origins or contexts. In this sense, his films are intended for the layperson and the initiated alike, as the former may make merely intuitive contact with this music, while the deeply knowledgeable will perfectly understand the profound design on which each film is constructed. Beauty does not lie in the images or emotions that may be evoked by this music in each listener's subjective perception, but rather in the immediacy of the creative gesture, in that prodigious aesthetic effort that enables the performer to translate the world, with all its miseries and joys, into song, dance and music." by Roberto Cueto. Programmer at CINETECA and author of the article "Saura, music and the mirrow"
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