Filmmaker Jose Luis Guerin documents his experience during a year of traveling as a guest of film festivals to present his previous film. What emerges is a wonderfully humane and sincere ...
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After his classes, a teacher is questioned by his wife, who mistrusted the academic project is plotting her husband. The teacher's intention is to create a "school of the Muses" inspired by... See full summary »
José Luis Guerín
Filmmaker Jose Luis Guerin documents his experience during a year of traveling as a guest of film festivals to present his previous film. What emerges is a wonderfully humane and sincere portrayal of the people that he meets when he goes off the beaten track in some of the world's major cities. Written by
When Catalan director Jose Luis Guerín was invited to several film festivals around the world for his movie 'In the City of Silvia', he took the opportunity to document his experiences as a guest in the places that he visited: Venice, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Hong Kong and Israel/Palestine.
'Guest' offers quiet moments of solitude. We also get to see a bit of the action at some of the festivals. But the main focus is on regular citizens, which Guerín actively engages in conversation wherever he travels. Most of them are poor and destitute and many of the discussions revolve around politics or religion. We are introduced to advocates of both the left and the right and it's not entirely clear whether we're supposed to be more persuaded by one or the other. Instead, I understood the message to be that the poor have it tough everywhere, regardless of the political system. Most of the interviews are powerfully poetic, while a few, in my opinion, could have benefited from a little more editing. In an article for twitchfilm.com, the director explained that while he's no expert in sociology, ethnology or politics, his main goal was to express his solidarity to these people and to just listen. The contrast in lifestyles between the traveling filmmaker and the subjects of his documentary helps add perspective. At some point one of them asks him about the price of his hotel room and he replies that he has no idea, as it's all paid by the festival. Not everyone gets to enjoy the relative luxury and glamor of the film industry.
Guerin (best known for his excellent 2001 documentary, 'En Construcción') has a special talent for producing lyrical images in black and white of a universe that seems remote, yet very real and authentic. It's a very low-key movie, but one that I will never forget.
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