The piece that Punto de Vista will exhibit to kick off the screenings is an extract of unpublished film in super8, filmed by the Basque sculptor in the 1960s.
“The mountains are mammals”, says Oteiza in his bible, Quosque tandem, and this header bears this out. The silhouettes of the profile of the mountains filmed by him seem to have a life of their own behind the eyes of the filmmaker. They breathe. Filmed in the 1960s with his own hand and eye in the Gipuzkoa landscapes of the Urbia and Aranzazu countryside, the value of these images is that they belong to an unpublished super8 that he defended with these words:
“All of the geology of the mountains is like the Apostles. They are open: one is half a cylinder, another here, another there and so on. I have a small film in super8 that begins by capturing all of the mountains as if they were the Apostles”.
“The man who flees enters into film”, according to Oteiza, but the man who films does the opposite: he becomes a recluse in a space that happily imprisons him, the landscape that surrounds him and works like the gap from where he looked at the sky on Orio Beach, where he buried himself as a child. Oteiza planted in the middle of his Pre-Indo-European space, in the heart of the Basque Country, shows us rocks, meadows, summits, passes and hills, and revolves around them like a lighthouse that never leaves a blind spot around it. Oteiza, advocate of the first place name, which goes back more than 80 grandmothers, shows with his camera the gap before the mountains and repeats: aizpitarte, the sensitivity to name the empty space… the man who looks at the gap.
The result is a party of diverse geometries recreated in nature that will be the aperitif to all of the sessions at the 2017 festival. Oteiza, the filmmaker without films, wants to capture everything here, from his small universe, and experiences a film drive in these images of the profile of the mountains that dominate what was initially going to be a familiar super8 (the family appears for just a few seconds, after all it is a recreational look at the landscape). Against those who advocate and defend an Oteiza detached from inspiration in nature, here is this testimony. The mountains: Apostles of the horizon.
Oteiza and his “tomavistas” (viewtaker) will be the feature of the forthcoming Punto de Vista Heterodocsias, the programme in which a Spanish filmmaker is rescued and which has focused on Isidoro Valcárcel Medina or José Antonio Maenza in past editions. The festival, in conjunction with the Oteiza Museum Foundation has prepared various programmes in which this challenge of portraying a filmmaker without film is developed. Oteiza gave up sculpture in 1963 and devoted himself in body and soul to film as a continuation of his experimental logic, but he did not film or bring to fruition any of the many projects and ideas that he left written down on paper, and which, on several occasions, were filmed by others, such as Actaeon by Jorge Grau or Operation H by Nestor Basterretxea. Punto de Vista has organized four sessions devoted to Oteiza and film, in which the entire 8-minute film to which this header belongs can be seen for the first time ever, along with various surprises found in his archives and which have never seen the light of day, such as Speech to the man in the film darkness in which Oteiza recites in his own voice his ideas on the seventh art and addresses one-to-one the spectator who has sought refuge in the hall.
The header for the festival will be an aperitif of this absolute artist, advocate of film of the moment without memory, Oteiza who shows us this swinging of mountains, like a Vertov of the terrain. His gaze is never still, it only stops in front of what is sacred, a group of horses in the distance, a totem animal for Oteiza. Like in an orientation table, the camera man appears to be repeating the mantra of the old place name, the line of summits filmed: Atxuri, Aketegi, Aizkorri, Aitzabal… and towards the other side: Andreaitz, Urdajamentu, Azkiola, Zulaiko, Arbalain… and once more: Arri-urdin, Erriko-aitza, Arkaitz, Botreaitz… Wrapped in light, he devotes two days to this film and at the end of the second day, it is clear that he is waiting for the day to fade away to see how the sun hides behind the mountains and leaves a play on shadows in which the sky and the earth can hardly be told apart.