Camera: Oskar Alegria
Edition: Oskar Alegria
‘Do clowns really die? Do princesses answer letters? Do we picture death as a white horse? Where do old words go when they die? These are some of the questions in Emak Bakia Baita (The Emak Bakia House), a documentary on the search for the house on the Basque coast where Man Ray shot his first avant-garde film. The American artist was having a holiday in a mansion near Biarritz called ‘Emak Bakia’, a name that captivated him, becoming one of his mottos. The name, a phrase meaning ‘Leave me alone’ in Basque, was suitable indeed, for the house was a shelter by the sea. When Man Ray arrived, he flipped his camera into the air, thus making a statement on freedom in art – freedom even beyond the horizon. Eighty years after the shooting, Oskar Alegria sets out to find the house on the basis of four clues: the house’s mysterious name, a photogram of a window, a photogram of a door and an image of the sea. The road leading to the house, a long and winding road, takes accident as its banner, claiming the same freedom for itself.
”Emak Bakia” (a phrase in Basque meaning ‘Leave me alone’) is now written with an exclamation mark thanks to a walking project praising curves, paying tribute to the wind and loving meanders. Nothing is straight in this film, and the chance-inspired search and its detours lead to a great many surprises: an immortal clown, the memories of a Romanian princess who was a table tennis champion, the nightmares of a herd of pigs, or a lonely whistling oak tree living far away from the wood and asking a final question: “Why do rivers keep putting their end off?”’
Oskar Alegria (Pamplona, 1973)
Trained as a journalist, he began working as a reporter in Madrid on news programs for Canal Plus and CNN+. He has been an editor of cultural programs and the coordinator of shows dedicated to literature for the television channels Telemadrid (Los Cinco Sentidos-”The Five Senses”) and Euskal Telebista (Sautrela). In the area of gastronomic documentary, he has written and co-directed the series “Masters of Basque Cooking” for ETB-telebista with the chefs Arzak, Subijana, Aduriz, Berasategui and Arbelaitz.
Since 2002, he writes travel reports for the supplement to El País, El Viajero, and is the author of a photographic artistic project called “Las ciudades visibles” (“The Visible Cities”), endorsed by the author Enrique Vila-Matas. Since 2009, he is a professor of documentary scripts in the Masters of Audiovisual Scripts from the University of Navarra and he has led a Workshop in Abstract Photography for children in the Chillida-Leku Museum.