“Only the autumn mists that cover the high peaks will be the same today as they were yesterday, and the same tomorrow as they were today”. Navarra Cuatro Estaciones, by Pío Caro Baroja.
The programme about time could not miss out on a golden opportunity, a triple celebration of time and a way of bringing this subject closer to Navarre. Firstly, with this final session, we will be paying tribute to the recently deceased Pío Caro Baroja, one of the most eminent ethnographic documentary filmmakers with close links our landscapes and traditions. Secondly, it is also a wonderful opportunity, by way of an epilogue to this Ten years older edition, to show two chapters from his film Navarra Cuatro estaciones, undoubtedly the most closely linked with the passing of time, along with a previously unseen interview with the author. And finally, chiming with our theme of time, back in 2005, the first edition of Punto de Vista dedicated a special programme to his work. And so, a decade on, by focusing our attention back on him, we are pausing once again back at our point of departure, as an ingenuous yet firm demonstration that the passing of time can be more circular than we might think, and that the autumn mists, as he himself pointed out, are immortal and eternal.
At the age of 87, Pío Caro Baroja’s heart stopped on 30th November. In autumn, one of the seasons he loved the most. Nephew to Pío, brother to Julio, within the Baroja family he was the custodian of family memory, as shown by his books on the subject, almost always in the form of guides: Guía de Pío Baroja. El mundo barojiano (1987) and Itinerario sentimental (Guía de Itzea) (1997). He was also no stranger to the world of literature and he left us some interesting memoires in epistolary form addressing the people who surrounded him, even those beyond the grave: La barca de Caronte (Epístolas para la otra orilla) (1998).
A Law graduate, he lived in Mexico between 53 and 56, where he became involved in the world of film as a critic for the newspaper Claridades. He also wrote a book dedicated to his most beloved cinematic genre, El neorrealismo cinematográfico italiano (1955), and in 1957 he published Estructuras fundamentales del cine, a compilation of film reviews and his impressions of the aesthetic of film.
He took his first steps as a filmmaker in Mexico, collaborating with Manuel Altolaguirre, Emilio Fernández and the German photographer and documentary filmmaker Walter Reuter. There he shot his first films Carnaval de Tepotzotlán (1955) and Fiesta Vasca en México (1956), documentary shorts that already contain glimpses of the broad brushstrokes that would define his filmography.
Back in his homeland, he made over 50 documentaries for NODO and TVE, filming all around Spain, particularly after 1964 when, together with his brother Julio Caro Baroja, he set up the production firm Documentales Folklóricos. This event marked the birth of authentic ethnographic documentary film in Spain, of which they were pioneers. In addition to these television films, he also made 40 of his own films, including Navarra, las cuatro estaciones (1972) and Guipúzcoa (1980). Mediaeval castles, the stained glass of Toledo Cathedral, pilgrimages, El Greco, carnivals and dancing devils paraded before his curious and restless eye, which never slept until he finally boarded, as he himself put it, Charon’s boat to embark on the last of his films.