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It looks like a game, a search, a film on Man Ray. But Emak Bakia Baita is all these things together, or none of them. If men were capable of becoming films, this first feature by Oskar Alegria would be Man Ray turned film. More than a tribute, more than the search of the house where Man Ray shot his famous film Emak Bakia (1926), the movie by Oskar Alegria is the embodiment of the libertarian, playful, lawless spirit of the American photographer and artist. It is Man Ray in HD, a zigzagging, eventful road, a road to unlearning, in film as well as in life, in search of the simplest things, which tend to be the most difficult to understand: that clowns never die, that French girls dream of white horses, that there are princesses in Romania, that films are adventures, discoveries, unanswered questions, that pigs have dreams too. In an endless succession of boxes within boxes, a realistic reflection on surrealism, an irrational journey across that which cannot be explained, Emak Bakia Baita travels with no known destination – maybe the only way of travelling.
‘Some mothers love it when their kids behave like adults,’ Oskar said at one of the many festivals where his film screened last year, ‘but I’m amazed at the grown-ups who can still behave like children.’ In other words: Why did Man Ray choose a name in Basque for one of his films? Emak bakia, ‘leave me alone,’ is a suitable phrase to describe the work of Man Ray, and to understand the stance on life, art or even politics taken by Alegria in his film. ‘Leave me alone, let me do what I want!’ Isn’t it a great piece of advice?