At first, it was the Island. We could say not only to embrace Man of Aran, but also Nanook, as Robert Flaherty chose people surrounded by the sea in both cases to give his own starting pistol to the history of the documentary. In his film on the Irish coast, the waves that erase the human figure in the middle of the storm unveil something even more terrible: the first death in the film industry is represented by a natural fade-out to white. Since then, the cameras have not ceased in this crazy geographic insistence which consists of visiting the most remote islands to bring the remote closer, regain the passion for the furthest corners; in short, portray man to the limit.
These will also be the themes around which the new Punto de Vista edition will revolve, an edition that will start with a key question: How to tell an island? The first response will come from the filmmaking pair, Rudolf Thome and Cynthia Beatt, who opted for a voluntary and anthropological shipwreck on a Polynesian island in 1978 and portrayed the whole experience in a cult film that has not yet been screened in Spain, Descripción de una Isla. The most curious thing that the German filmmakers admitted is that the longer they spent on the island, the less they understood it.
Just a few thousand nautical miles away from Flaherty, Jean Epstein started on his Breton poems in the 1930’s, trying to trap the final reasons why people were determined to inhabit an island of just 3 kilometres long lashed by a sea that made them have three graveyards. The ISLANDS programme will make a make a place of honour for his film, Mor´Vran, where we will see how, in 25 minutes, there is not a single shot in which a fierce wind is not blowing. A landless film, made of air and water, in which Epstein shows that to get to the bottom of things, it was necessary to film in verse, like the Scottish filmmaker and poet, Margaret Tait, another islander, from a reduced area on the Orkneys, to whom Punto de Vista dedicates the retrospective and a collection of poems that accompanies this special programme on islands.
Flaherty, Epstein, two islands with one outlook, but the programme also offers the possibility of the opposite: the same island with two outlooks. Jean-Daniel Pollet and Werner Herzog with their different questions on the same geography, the island of Spinalonga, move forward in the concept of the island as a reductionist apace where the horror of reclusion is concentrated in L´Ordre or the agony of a present in Last words. A same island for Meredith Monk and George Perec who, instead of taking an interest in the most unpopulated, opted the most populated for their tales: Ellis Island, the island that was the gateway to the American dream, through which 16 million people passed, speaking 25 different languages, a perfect place to develop the temptation to trap a non-place.
Lost and found paradises, prison islands and Edens, lands of Robinson and deportees, the Punto de Vista ISLANDS programme presents a film archipelago that will concentrate most of its 2015 map, along with contemporary films, with a view of the most abstract islands. An invitation for the public to come to the cinema through the eyes of Viernes, the ally of shipwrecks, and serves to underpin the festival on the world scene as well as an island. All in all, the final answer for everything lies in Mallory’s wise answer when asked why climb Everest: Why the islands? Because they are there.