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CONTINUUM

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Screenplay: Javier Aguirre, based upon the work “El Marinero” (the sailor) and upon texts from “En la floresta del enajenamiento” (in the grove of alienation) by Fernando Pessoa. Textual Translation: Angel Campos Pampano. Music: Jolly Braga Santos. Stars: Berta Riaza, Julieta Serrano, Paca Ojea, and the voice of Maruchi Fresno. Photography Director: Raul Perez Cubero. Edition: Guillermo Sanchez Maldonado. Make-up: Dolores Merlo. Executive Secretary: Marina Reyes Arias. Sound Engineer: Jose Mendieta and Manolo Gama. Camera Assistant: Jose Villalba. Electrician in chief: Mariano Cárdenas. Laboratories: Madrid Films. Production Manager: Manuel Muñoz Pombo. Production: Actual Films for Televisión Española (Spanish TV) Eurofilms. Colour.

Comments on the film

 

JAVIER MAQUA

I assert that Continuum (1984) is one of the most stimulating and touching films of the Spanish filmography after Franco’s years…/… one of the simplest movies to be described of the filmic universe …/… Continuum is a long-film made in an only one shot. It is not a false mono-shot film such as Hitchcock’s one “the rope” which has been really made in seven different shots but a real mono-shot …/… Continuum is also filmed, as it couldn’t be otherwise, in just a few parts, but it’s done naked, with no subterfuge or resource. It is tried to recover the illusion of an only shot, with no broken space or time but unarmed with no further trick…/… Everything in the film, which is exhaustedly rigorous, smells of sacred things (once again we are facing the ethical and aesthetical Aguirre’s asceticism)…/… one of the most beautiful texts, essential and hermetic of this Author and at the same time one of the pristine ones. In his words Pessoa gives free rein to his love for the paradox …/… this is the extraordinary material that forms this sort of Eucharistic play by Pessoa which had its own Beckett echoes much before the Irish author started writing. ../… the film is linked to the gothic genre by so many concepts, it is a one-shot horror film… /… from the super-general shot we reach the big sister close up an hour and a half later…/ … from the eyes of the elder Parcae, in close up (Berta Riaza) which are suddenly weeping…/ … the camera then is quickly moving back retracing its own steps and allows us to see the spotlights and the travelling, which were hidden when in its way. When it reaches the end of the rails, there is a 180-degree general circular view among hosepipes and other stuff to show the existing shooting and it focus on what was placed backwards, the entrance of the warehouse/vessel: the silhouettes of the Parcaes are drawn in the threshold…/… the light still must rise in the inner part of the warehouse/vessel (in a sort of interior inverted daybreak) until their faces become clearly visible , until we recognize them with no doubt: yes, it’s true, they are the same ones, the other side of the coin: these are the echo of what they have been, these are the echo of what they have been, these are the echo of what they have been…/ … What is the link between the texts by Pessoa and the cinematographic style of the film? There are so many Pessoa’s words that recall the movie but only a few, said by one of the sisters, are so clear: “Don’t move! This will be a gesture and every gesture interrupts a dream”. Aguirre’s camera moves undoubtedly, like it wanted to contradict too, to add some paradox to Pessoa’s paradox, but it does it in an imperceptible way for us not to be awaken from our dream, like filming a Zenon Paradox: in “continuum”…/… a marvellous movie, by God…/ … Continuum is an avant-garde movie as a film is an avant-garde one when it creates its own code; the codes we know, we are accustomed of, the codes from Hollywood, are useless if we intend to enjoy it; an avant-garde film rejects consumer-accommodating viewer; it is necessary to discover into the avant-garde film the code to enjoy it…/… so many people feel uncomfortable with Aguirre’s work precisely because of his austerity , the elementary and the minimalist he uses to build his codes, this ascetic radical nature which tenaciously touches the absurd. But, do not Beckett and Kafka work with the same austerity and radicalism as Aguirre?.

1995

 

 

EUGENIO DE ANDRADE

The movie, as Javier Aguirre informed me, was made through an only one shot, not capriciously /not just to please the author but to be faithful to the drama spirit and to the aesthetical proposal of the pictures: the imperceptible passing of the time, the unnoticed movement, and the changing of the light in a determined space. Javier Aguirre was facing a hardest challenge and to my delight I have to say that he got a real success…/… with the cruel and implacable slowness of the time passing by, the camera minutely moves between the “black horizon” during dawn and a clear early morning and this during around one hour and a half…/… A cold nightmare is developing into these naked walls, delayed, where nothing makes sense until we do not know if we are dreaming or we are being dreamed, like in the tale by Borges. As these women talk about the unreality of the real and the reality of the dreams…/ … Suddenly, to contrast with the minutely calibrated slowness of this much long scene, the camera moves back at full crazy speed to show the three sentinels in a frozen light perhaps under the last gateway, the eternal one…/… Thanks to Javier Aguirre’s intellect so close to instinct, a text from Neo-Platonism area, extremely difficult because of its darkness and its subtlety…/ … A gloomy text and vague, as I said, he changes it into a rigorous and calculated Kafka’s nightmare. We have suspected long ago that Pessoa a Kafka came from the same family but in this work “Continuum” it becomes pretty evident.

1989

 

CRISTINA CANO VARA

“Continuum” is considered the first fiction long-film made in an only one shot, as Aguirre would do again in the movie “Voz” (voice) (2000) which is, as I understand, the only existing adaptation of the work “Company”.