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OBJETIVO 40º (Objective 40º)

Production: Actual Films, Spain, 1970. Idea: Javier Aguirre. Photography: Raúl P. Cubero. Sound: Jesús Ocaña. Black & White, 351 metres.


Comments about the film


The weird thing is that “Objetivo 40º” is among the ones I preferred. If you ask me why, it’s because I love people.




The thing that mostly interested me, that caused me the highest stress was the man in front of the camera who stays there without moving for a long while.




I thought of Jean Vigo playing “A propos de Nice” (about Nice) while I was viewing it. But it has nothing to do with it. It is, from my own point of view like a magical discovering of what is obvious…/ … Let’s see once again and so other many times this short film – “Objetivo 40º” by Javier Aguirre! To stop the camera in a whatever place discovers such a world!.




The sensation caused by the film is so much weird (more abstract the first time I saw it): it is a weird parade of an exotic fauna, a series of people – as they were human – that cause a heartrending impression. It would be interesting to test that this experiment would radically change – considering the results – if the camera was put in Sweden or, inside the city, if it was set in the Calle Serrano (Serrano Street), or in Vallecas instead of the Puerta del Sol (Sun Square, the very centre of both Madrid and Spain itself). The Puerta del Sol is none of these and stands for a Spanish medium level. Considering, obviously, that objectivity does not exist… /… It is strange to see that if one goes outside and walks the same place at the same hour, the people one passes although the same people do not cause the same impression. On the other hand, if one focusses on the screen, the same people gain a new dimension, an interest that really – paradoxically- they don’t have… /… I think that experiment is as convincing as “Uts cero” (Uts zero). And I believe that both coincide with radically different processes in a same thing: the study of the void.




Starting from the false neorealist objectivity, in an attempt of complaining and surmounting, the New American experimental cinema has tried to make the total objective work where the reality is totally respected in the movie. Aguirre’s approach in the film “Objetivo 40º” is, at first, dissimilar. But, apart from the temporary difference (the New Cinema respects the real time of the action filmed while Aguirre settles the time of the filming), Objetivo 40º precisely expresses the impossibility of the total objectivity, the necessary participation of the author.




What it seems a virtuous exercise on objectivity banishes him as film director: It is said in Objetivo 40º “It is not on objectivity but on demystifying the objectivity”, an applied abundance of sincerity.




“Objetivo 40º” installs us like many other people in front of the camera. And, like those, just in front of the projector, we remain perplex, sawn by the objective of an --- empty--- objectivity.




A film that approaches my way of writing and feeling literature, or the way I approach to it. Objetivo 40º is the one that approaches the human eye the most and this is the reason of the title. The camera is motionless, with no hand of a man behind, automatically filming a certain time and people in the street run away non-stop. A film of social connotations, an art to my taste such as political art, but I have to insist that the Art do not have to be this or any other thing or has to be this and has to be everything.




Objetivo 40º is the height of objectivity. Installing a lonely camera, with no cameraman for twelve minutes, with no stops, in any angle of the Puerta del Sol, is a terrible challenge, mainly as the film is this and only this, that is with no ulterior adjustment when in staging process. Nevertheless, the author is aware that this cinematographic display of objectivity is also a demystifying of the objectivity itself, or at least it is an objectivity subjectively chosen. The result is audacious and polemic.




Objetivo 40º is a real discovery! It offers so many possibilities, so many interpretations can be open and so many films can be done from this film. It helps to see the reality in a different way. In a certain way it is returning to the most primitive cinema, Lumiere’s one but from a different conception. And I understand that the key, the secret of its singularity consists on the camera – as explained by the author himself – is left alone, with no cameraman behind it so people pass in front of it and do not pose.




The daylight passes over and do not see us. Well, placed the camera in the street, alone with no pressure, about the imperious materialization that contends an object which is mechanically built, it gives us, blind and disinterested in its mental plate, let’s call it like this, condemning us to a figurative super-existence which torment us. Why? We don’t know. We have appeared there, sunk in a sort of traveling void we call life. And pay attention: then I said to myself: the realism in the cinema is abusing; its realism not its truth.




It’s the most atrocious thing I could imagine: the camera installed in any place of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid filming during twelve minutes in an only continuous shot, without cutting everything passing in front of it. Nothing that Ramon saw, nothing to do with Larra’s romanticism. Nothing to do with Bolivar visiting his girlfriend up to the Calle de la Montera (Montera Street), with the 17th century gossip shop or the well-known true Madrid. Only horrendous mates, vulgarity, sickly ones, chubby people, ragamuffins, big tits and big bottom of women in their dressing gowns, no grace and no beauty, human beings come from country long ago and then vulgarized by Madrid in the Puerta del Sol. I have felt so unhappy to be born in Madrid, only a few times, blacken and hunchbacked because of these pictures, but no one of them has the sparkling heroism from other ages, when people fought Napoleon, right there; I want to strangle Aguirre’s camera like if I was a Frenchy.




I found fascinating the movie featuring people passing in the street.


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