7.1/10
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3 user

...ere erera baleibu izik subua aruaren... (1970)

A set of words without any meaning, forms the title of the first and only feature film in the history of Spanish cinema made entirely by hand-painting directly on celluloid.

Writers:

José Antonio Sistiaga (screenplay), José Antonio Sistiaga (story)
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A set of words without any meaning, forms the title of the first and only feature film in the history of Spanish cinema made entirely by hand-painting directly on celluloid.

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If you didn't have epilepsy before...
29 October 2019 | by benrossgSee all my reviews

...You will after watching this. Yet, I'm unsure if one can exactly "watch" this, let alone call this a "film". The reason for my rating reflects this: As a film, it's nonexistent. Effervescent nothingness. A prolonged seizure put to screen. None of the "paintings" last long enough to be appreciated individually, not that it matters as so many seem to bleed together as they hemorrhage onto the screen. That aside, if you can put up with the eerie lack of any noise or music at all, you can meditate on the barrage of blobs and splotches of colors racing before you, entering an odd trance, perhaps one of self-reflection or contemplation. This is borderline Stockholm Syndrome, to me. It's irrational to expect a non-film to entertain. However...

As an art piece, it's fascinating. I can easily see this playing endlessly on a loop in the background of a tucked-away area in the Milwaukee Art Museum or the Chicago art galleries. If this were an installation piece in a place like that, it would be mesmerizing, if only for a short time. I cannot imagine anyone sitting to watch the full thing without growing uncomfortably bored, especially during certain points like the black-and-white television-static like section between the 26 and 34th minute mark. What makes it even more intriguing is that the film begins with an odd prolonged series of shots of stretched and squished together words which, upon looking closer, are actually the words of the title of the movie. It goes two words at a time, until "izik subua", where suddenly the "film" begins. AN HOUR AND TEN MINUTES LATER, the stream of painterly patterns abruptly ends with the end card of "ARUAREN...", as if it were supposed to say "FIN". This is almost the only bit of "narrative" the film has, waiting in bated suspense to see the final word of the title, which in and of itself is nonsensical Basque. Odd, considering this is a Spanish film, that aired in France. However, it is worth noting that the Basque itself translates as follows: "... also burn as if we were under the age of ..." Certainly, the sights of amorphous technicolor blobs will be burned into your retinas by the end. Perhaps it speaks of the atomic age? ...Maybe I'm overthinking things as usual.

I knew the 70s were weird, but this only serves to cement its bizarre reputation further in my head. Something like this had potential, but the fact it's presented to us as a film and not something like the aforementioned art installation is baffling, as the director himself admits it should not be interpreted as one, but rather that it "invites participation". What I would love to see more is the literal filmstrip itself, stretched out and taped to a giant light board, while a copy of the movie plays on the other wall on a loop. This way, it would retain its relevance and significance as art while avoiding being touted as cinema. The entire "movie" is available on YouTube. I do recommend people watch this, at least a part of it, just to glimpse the truly indescribable nature of this "film", despite all I've said here. It is a piece of art, but it helps to know that going in. I know there are lots of movies such as this, ones that are not meant to be necessarily narrative or structured as an experience that relates information or tells a story. I'm not giving it the score for that reason alone. Really, I just wish it had some music to go with it. When you think about it, Fantasia isn't much different, being a series of animated vignettes set to classical music. If something similar was done here, like in the vein of Allegro non Troppo, there really would be something special here.

This is the kind of thing you discover tumbling down the endless rabbit hole that is the history of cinema. It floats past you as you scour databases such as this, as was the case with me. But rather than feeling like a biblical epiphany, it reads more like a schizophrenic daydream. My mind ends up filling in the gaps made by the silence, whispering strange and disquieting things, mostly along the lines of "Why am I still here?" or "What's taking so long?", and the like. It's more fascinating reading other's reactions to the movie, or even reading along with it. I'm hoping someone finds a Led Zeppelin album that syncs up with this movie the same way Dark Side of The Moon syncs to Wizard of Oz. It'd probably be from something like Boy George or Matmos. Maybe even Daft Punk or GWAR. ...This movie does strange things to my head.


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Country:

Spain

Release Date:

November 1970 (France) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

X Films See more »
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Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
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