Beyond current affairs, film memory, the look across, reflection. Since its first edition, Punto de Vista has known that it is one of the main tasks of a film festival to work very closely with the people, inviting them to think about film and helping them deepen their knowledge. This is why the Festival has always created spaces to focus on names, trends, countries, or movements that are worth having a closer look at.
Right from the beginings, Punto de Vista accepted one of the main responsibilities of any film festival: to perform an educational role for the general public and rescue the memory of film from oblivion. Retrospectives was the section that took up this challenge. At every subsequent edition, Punto de Vista has attempted to raise awareness about the classics, provide access to filmographies under construction and give an airing to work from schools, currents and unknown cinematographies. Retrospectives provide the epicentre of the festival and define its tone, ambition and spirit.
These cycles can revolve around an author or a country or current. At the 2005 edition, for example, the spotlight was turned onto the French director and photographer Raymond Depardon, while in 2008 Ermmno Olmi was the focus; and in 2010, the work of Jem Cohen took centre stage. In 2006 it was Japan's moment of glory. The Film of a Thousand Years was a retrospective that recovered classic Japanese documentary films from the last 60 years. In the 6th edition, Las afinidades Vigo/Vigo affinities led us to rethink the French non-fiction film of the past decade, whereas Esencial James Benning/The Essential James Benning discovered the work of this American experimental filmmaker in 2009.
Other cycles might be organised around a common denominator, which could be a theme, an anniversary, an ephemerid or an historical event. They are transversal cycles that offer a cross-reading of the history of documentary film. The film-essay was the motif chosen for the 2007 edition. Entitled The thinking form, this cycle was the first retrospective on the contemporary film-essay organised in Spain, and one of the first in Europe. Two years later, in 2009, this section focused on found footage and appropriation in The afterlife of images, while in 2011, Personal is politics offered a tour of the intersections between feminism and documentary, and the retrospective Tupi or not Tupi. Cannibals vs. Vampires explored cannibalism in culture and film.
In 2013 Punto de Vista focused on two filmmakers: the retrospective Fragments of Seeking, about the german documentary filmmaker Thomas Heise, a chronicler of the continuities and changes in the unification of Germany; and Gaze and Voice, about the work of Eduardo Coutinho, the greatest Brazilian documentary filmmaker of the last three decades.
In 2015, there were three retrospectives: Chez les Basques, which was made up of documentaries about Basque traditions and culture; another about the Scottish film-maker, Margaret Tait, and a third one entitled Islas, in which the festival brought remoteness closer, looking at man in extreme situations.