How do you organise a retrospective of a filmmaker who never made a film? At Punto de Vista, as people who love a challenge, we have leapt into the unknown and embraced the risk involved into filling four evenings of cinema devoted to the non-existent work of Jorge Oteiza.
Heterodocsias is the section of the festival devoted to Spanish filmmakers who have been pushed into a corner - either due to injustice or because they have been forgotten – or whose work has not been screened much or at all either at festivals or in cinemas, due to being overlooked. Jorge Oteiza is without doubt the film maverick par excellence, someone who has never filmed any of his many screenplays or the film ideas that he devised in his head, but who left us with a wonderful and not insignificant legacy of all of his potential films written on paper, in notes and scripts.
If Oteiza did not shoot films it was for several reasons: above all due to the technical issues that existed in film during his time which meant it had to be a team effort, losing the individual driving force of the filmmaker in the process, it being diluted or distorted in the end result. As a result, his films almost always remained, either voluntarily or involuntarily, in this initial phase of hesitant freedom, not passing the first stage in which it remains loyal to its creator, pure and true. That is why he was sometimes heard to cry: “When film progresses technically, someone let me know!”
The Oteiza programme is based on three lines: the films that were born from his ideas but were made by other people, such as the two sessions that we are screening which are entitled According to Oteiza, in other words, cinema inspired by Oteiza. Secondly, the films that we have found hidden in his archives in the form of Super 8 films that he made himself and sound recordings concerning his film ideas: the cinema treasures of Oteiza screened under the name The man who flees. And finally, the gala screening of the festival, where through the weaponry of audiovisual theatre we get closer to the unfathomable creator from Orio in a final screening that links him to film and to the theme of this year’s festival, FLYING, as well, called Oteiza and the moon.
Jorge Oteiza was born in Orio in 1908, and is the Basque sculptor par excellence, along with Eduardo Chillida, and was the winner of the international sculpture prize at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1957. His work, unlike that of others, is based on a radical proposition concerning emptiness and unemployment – like his films which focus on the moment, and are aimed at a man devoid of memory. He decided to abandon his sculpting career in 1963 when he saw that he had exhausted his discourse in this discipline and recognised with great honesty that he had nothing new to contribute. He then devoted himself in body and soul to poetry and film, to the mainstream technique of cinema as he said himself, where he hoped to capture the man that he had not managed to capture in either sculpture or poetry. As such, this drift into film and abandonment of sculpture is the result of experimental logic and not a whim. He said, for example, that the first film he worked on was really his last sculpture: Acteón, the only feature-length screenplay that he did and which made it to the screen (but directed by Jorge Grau, and Oteiza was so angry with the end result that he asked for his name to be removed from the credits). “I was a sculptor in the cinema”, this unreserved artist told us, removing all of the barriers which make the arts stagnant and lifeless. With this in mind, we hereby present Jorge Oteiza full of life and a resuscitator, who was as paradoxical as he was ingenious, as a great filmmaker without films but full of them.
A verse, a border sculpture, a geographical journey, the Apostles, a house… are some of the sources of inspiration of the filmmakers in these first sessions devoted to the sculptor-poet-filmmaker… to the artist, in one word, Jorge Oteiza. Having stolen the title from our festival mentor, Jean Vigo, this About intends to be a heartfelt tribute and demonstration of how a filmmaker like Oteiza, in spite of not having any films of his own, has not stopped provoking it in others. Here, we are not dealing with the documentaries that have been made on him and his work. It is not a film that explains his life and miracles, but the film that emerges from him to establish particular works by each author, works derived from seven different outlooks based on the Oteiza universe but not necessarily remaining with him. This is Oteiza’s film as a muse, divided into two sessions, personal and free film, which he undoubtedly also dreamt of making.
Third session on the artist from Orio in which we offer his greatest and scarce film treasures from his archive, making them all the more valuable. It is a session especially built for the festival and never shown, in which two super8 films shot by Oteiza himself will be put on screen, as well as sound recordings that he left with instructions and ideas on film creation, along with some other emotional surprises, such as Oteiza singing Iru gabean in Basque, a song that he himself wrote and which was later put to music by Oskarbi. The session essentially consists of two sound archives and two films, in addition to the short film directed by Nestor Basterretxea, Operation H, in which Oteiza participated in some ideas and in its making, and which is important for the purpose of this session, which is to raise awareness of the artist’s bulbaceous film attempts through outlines and ideas.
Saturday 11th March, 8pm, Chamber Hall
Final session devoted to Oteiza and which combines the Basque artist with this year’s theme of the festival, flight, through images and theatre. Oteiza in flesh and blood will reveal his theories on flight faced with a winged animal in the depths of a cave that is reminiscent of the sky or in his ideas of a cemetery like an empty airport. Oteiza spoke of flight a lot and wrote various poems like the beautiful I know I will fly. As the poet, Carlos Aurtenetxe, said “In Oteiza, everything falls, even flight”. The final culmination of this flight without a destination is the moon. Bil Argi for pre-Indo-European studies which Jorge Oteiza said was not the light of the dead as in today’s Basque, il argi, but a more cinematographic moon, bil argi, translated as light that moves and fades away, a fugitive moon like the one we will see next after this gala in the final film: Our Century by Artavazd Pelechian. The Basque artist and the Armenian filmmaker are united in the flight towards the unknown.
Tickets will be sold online via a link published on the Punto de Vista website (www.puntodevistafestival.com) nest Friday 24th February and on the Baluarte website (www.baluarte.com), as well as at the Baluarte ticket office (Plaza Baluarte s/n).
Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office from 11am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm between until 7th February and from 9.30am to 2pm and from 4.30pm to 10.30pm as of Tuesday 8th February. Tickets to the film screenings cost 3€. In the case of conferences and presentations, entry is free after picking up an invitation at the ticket office.
All sessions in this edition will be held at Baluarte. The full festival programme can be consulted on the Punto de Vista website, where a programme handout can be downloaded.
Further information at the festival office:
Public Opening Hours: 9.30am – 2pm and 4.30pm – 8.30pm
Telephone: 948 066 199 / 948 066 200