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VOZ

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Director: Javier Aguirre based upon the novel written by Samuel Beckett named “Company” Screenplay: Javier Aguirre. Adaptation: Antonia Rodriguez-Gago. Producer: Javier Aguirre. Photography Director: Jose Luis Lopez Linares. Music: Eduardo Polonio. Script: Emma Cohen. Starring: Fernando Fernan Gomez. Translation and adaptation: Antonia Rodríguez Gago. Length: 79 minutes. Actual Films, 2001

Comments on the film

 

ANTONIA RODRIGUEZ GAGO

The effect is a chiaroscuro that remains us Rembrandt, Goya or Solana’s “black paintings”…/ … when the old man is lying down the straw mattress; both his face and his hands got illuminated while the rest of the body is nearly invisible. This corporal picture causes an impressive effect as both the head and the hands seem to be mere fragments apart from the rest of this body they seem not to belong. Besides, in this movie like in another one named “Vez y Nana” (time and lullaby) the incorporeal voice seems to be independent from the silent figure of the listener, an effect Beckett always looked for…/… the movements and the gestures of the silent figure are really slow and stylized…/ … through the asynchronous use of the sound, Aguirre intends to underline, in my opinion, the discontinuity between both the listener’s voice and the figure such as these were two fictions, figments of the same imagination. ../ … the stylization of movement along with the use of light in the movie “Voz” is closer to Beckett’s theatre late aesthetic, as shown in some of his plays like “Trio of Spectres”…/ … When making “Voice”, Javier Aguirre has created another great experimental movie which will be, undoubtedly, a controversial one…/ … Javier Aguirre, director and producer of this film, “Voz”, is a well-known moviemaker in Europe mainly due to his audacious experimental films named Anti-cinema. He is a great admirer of Beckett’s art so he has always wanted to film one of his works and accounted himself lucky for getting Jerome Lindon’s permission for producing a film based upon “Company” and for having Fernando Fernan Gomez playing a leading character in the movie. In the film, Aguirre creates the immobile picture of a man who is alone in a dark room listening to a voice. Fernan-Gomez has a powerful presence as a silent listener and has a much touching voice which has been recorded separately and which emerges from the outside. “Voz” is a polemical and admirable movie created by Javier Aguirre.

2000

 

CRISTINA CANO VARA

We are facing the first cinematographic version of “Company” made in a only one shot lasting about eighty minutes and with Fernando Fernan-Gomez playing the leading character, one of the best Spanish actors… /… “Voz” is a film that seems to broke every cinematographic guidelines, such as Beckett did in theatre…/ … Using a musical word, Aguirre explains he has used Beckett’s text as an appoggiatura, that is, the text allows him to carry out experiments on both cinematographic time and space, as he had done before when making other movies… / … The director met the executor of Beckett’s copyright, Jerome Lindon, in Paris and explained his projects to him in order to adapt “Company” to cinema. Later, Lindon sent a letter to Aguirre, giving him the right to make the film, mainly based upon the fact that if Beckett would be alive he would be delighted with the candle as a part of the movie picture. Because of the stillness of the picture in the screen, the touching voice of the actor showed to be, as Aguirre suggests in his article “El cine, imagen y sonido” (cinema, picture and sound) (Ayala 1995: 19), a leading role. We can find several examples, in Aguirre’s cinematographic production, in which the sound dimension becomes as relevant as picture. According to Aguirre’s opinion, the oral quality of a movie is so rich that it should be exploited in more different ways. The importance of the sound and especially the human sound is also one of the characteristics of Samuel Beckett’s late prose works. ../ … the recitation was so relevant to Beckett’s opinion that he asserted not to have written any single word without having it pronounced before…/ … it doesn’t seem strange to us that the Irish author chose a provisional title such as “Voices in the dark” (Worth 1999: 164). The higher importance of the voice and the fact of telling if compared to the told story is what Aguirre carries out with a non-standard adaptation of the work “Company” which he names “Voz” (voice) echoing the provisional title Beckett gave to his work… / … although some film critics have seen some elements of the scenery that remain the last film by Krapp, the stylized movements of the silent character along with lighting effects that sometimes fragment the body of the actor, bring the image close to the most formal and abstract Beckett’s late works (Ghost Trio, Fragment of Monologue)…/ … we are shown the image of an object -a candle- whose importance in the film gets progressively increased, unlike the human body of the actor… Like Aguirre, Beckett tried out some activity forms focussing the stillness and his researches showed the intensity and the emotions which can produce latent states of mind…/ … Aguirre’s long film manages to create a pure image capable to communicate without a narrative or referential connection, he is able, as Beckett, to conjure up emotions and sensations ad infinitum. .. /… we have analysed how Aguirre’s artistic interests and Beckett’s poetry have melt in the film “Voz”. According to Jose Henrique, the film critic, it is suggested that the image in the film “Voz” could have been difficultly conceived without using a text like “Company”. Nevertheless, as we have intended in this article, and I think we have succeeded in demonstrating, “Voz” is surprisingly different from some previous adaptations, because Aguirre does not illustrate the literary text but uses the novel to go on researching about the representation of both cinematographic time and space. Anyway some of his artistic experiments show the existence of a concomitant link between the moviemaker and Samuel Beckett.