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GENTE / PERSONAS (People)

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Lightbox Gallery : horizontal

Production: Actual Films. Photography Director: Polo Villaseñor. Edition/Setting/Staging: Storyline: Vicente A. Pineda; Screenplay: Vicente A. Pineda and Javier Aguirre. Soundtrack: Jose Mendieta. Adding of the Soundtrack: Tecnison. Laboratories: Foto Film Madrid. B/W, Colour. 1983.

Comments on the film

 

JAVIER MAQUA

The reverential rapture used by Aguirre has a mystic timbre: he names, over and over again, this primitive reality, original and immaculate that men try to appropriate, even when men are really humble and despite their devotion while trying to keep it naked and intact. Nevertheless, Aguirre decides to cover this path of knowledge, which is the film itself, with resigned persistence. A path that does not take to any place apart from the corroboration of that we already know, that means honesty, asceticism, admirable. Equally mysticism and asceticism is what disconcert us: this is present in so many of Aguirre’s films but mainly in his general attitude towards cinema and perhaps towards life. It is this humble previous acceptance of the film uselessness. The staging of a tautology: “reality is reality; cinema is cinema” – this mixed to his obstinate insistence in making the film. This makes that most of the people who face his films turn away from these as they are not able to understand this respect for the Fate and the superb humility he shows while he covers the path of Fate until the end which situates Aguirre close to a Saint. This is the reason of his tremendous creative loneliness, misunderstood by all those around him…/ … Try to understand me: I do not want to give Aguirre’s work a religious or idealist sense; on the contrary the Basque director is one of the few who try to harmonize certain algebraic, mathematic rigours with the cinematographic art; it is a flat materialism fascinated by the numerology and the esotericism. I have called him “Saint” intending to focus on the ethical rigours of the saintliness, a really unpleasant attitude – because of so strict, so exemplary- to all those who are not saints…/… Let’s analyse this movie in a classical way, considering it an author-film while its confessed vocation is to reduce the author to the bare minimum. Let’s try to define the author’s features of an author who tries, like Aguirre, to erase authorship, who tries to delete his features. Acting this way – giving him the author’s status- perhaps, we will be able to drive him close to critics and moviemakers, who are capable to solve a work only from the author-politics perspective, thus these will recognise a so meritorious and unusual filmography. We will be probably capable to alleviate Aguirre’s creative loneliness or at least improve glances unconnected with his work…/… It seems to show that Aguirre suffers from a sort of “Horror Vacui”: the fear of the quietude, the stillness, the absence of Men…/… The innocence of Good Savage, Nanouk or Lumière’s manufacture workers does not exist anymore when he films the pedestrians; everybody knows the use of this artefact, the film camera, so its presence cause a certain effect in the passers-by: some of them wave at the camera just in case it’s necessary, a few move out of the way, the one who has just passed comes back to check if the camera is switched on; another one stops just in front the camera and streaks his hair; the ones who are far away and see it, talk to each other in a whisper while they’re approaching…/… As a general rule the author-cinema points dictatorially the spectator look, drives it where the author wants, it does not allow the spectator to do as one pleases ; Gente/Personas (people) do not… /… It is a hazard vocation, respectful to what could happen. This makes Gente/Personas to become a both sociologic and anthropologic useful document, a real sample which can be seen and analysed in so many ways, nearly so many and so rich as this reality Aguirre describes as uncatchable in its integrity…/ … But there are so many personal adventures in it, as many as people captured by the camera. The one which moved me the more was the young girl’s story, caught by the camera while waiting for her date: the girl moves restless, on the alert, without a clue of what to do, forced to stay to her regret in front of this annoying eye…/… Maybe just in the last films by Jacques Tati (Play Time, Traffic), which consented a multiple look, a pacific choice, the viewers’ gazing of one single corner of the frame, a look to a humble acting person they could follow and observe.

1995