The Navarra Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival, which will be held at the Baluarte Auditorium, Pamplona from 10th to 15th February, will have a wonderful prologue by the Basque writer, Bernardo Atxaga, who will give a conference, entitled Ziburu accompanied by Chris Wertenbaker, who, at the age of eleven, starred in the documentaries filmed by Orson Welles in the French Basque Country. At the end of the conference, Chris Wertenbaker will give a short guitar concert with songs he learnt in his childhood on the Basque coast, accompanied by the Paz de Ziganda school choir.
The conference will take place on Monday 9th February at 8pm in the Baluarte Bulevar Hall. Entry is free after picking up an invitation at the ticket office. In the morning, Atxaga and Wertenbaker will speak to the media at a press conference, accompanied by Beñat Toyos, another participant in Welles’ filming.
As for the contents of his Punto de Vista conference, Bernardo Atxaga confirms that “in his film, Orson Welles asks Mrs. Wertenbaker why they chose Ziburu as their place of residence and the wife of the American writer, Charles Wertenbaker, replies mentioning the beauty of the landscape and the nobility of the people. But, could there have been other reasons? Perhaps. It is a question that is worth clarifying”.
Orson Welles went to the town of Ziburu in 1955 to film two chapters of his Around the World with Orson Welles series for British television. His initial idea was to meet an old friend, Charles Wertenbaker, editor of Time Magazine. However, the director of Citizen Kane found out that Mr. Wertenbaker had died and he then decided to involve his son, Chris, as a guide in the shoot that sought to capture the idiosyncrasy of the Basque people.
That boy who accompanies Welles through the treasures of this geography and who appears with his childhood friends climbing the blossoming cherry trees, later developed his professional career as a neuro-ophthalmologist in New York and has been immersed in his love for music over the years, as shown in one of the scenes in which he sings Haurrak ikas zazue for Welles. Nowadays, Chris Wertenbaker plays the strings in a group called Port O´Monkeys and is a fan of flamenco, as well as an expert in oriental string instruments.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles, this double bill will screen his two documentaries (The Basque Countries and La Pelote Basque) and will bring us closer to the foreigner’s vision of this part of the French Basque Country in those years, described by the author as a “land of legends in which a mysterious language is spoken”.