Review: Wandering Star
by Alfonso Rivera
- With his second film, Spaniard Alberto Gracia drifts through ghostly places inhabited by individuals addicted to audiovisual stimuli
After his virtually unclassifiable cinematic contrivance entitled The Fifth Gospel of Kaspar Hauser [+see also:
film profile] (FIPRESCI Award at Rotterdam in 2013), Alberto Gracia is back to befuddle us with his sophomore feature, Wandering Star [+see also:
interview: Alberto Gracia
film profile], the world premiere of which has taken place at that very same International Film Festival Rotterdam. Although in this case its narrative thread has a more recognisable structure, a whole host of bizarre, symbolic and even enigmatic elements run wild throughout its running time of just over one hour.
Los fiambres, a music group active in the 1980s, serves as the bare bones for this film, which fires questions at the viewer and allows the myriad responses to be built up from a series of shots, people and, above all, sounds: indeed, the soundtrack, courtesy of Jonay Armas (Europa [+see also:
film profile]), captures the viewer’s attention even more than what appears on the screen.
Starting off with one of the members of that band, Rober Perdut, and an unsettling interview that he once gave to a local TV channel decades ago, Gracia follows his footsteps today, his encounter with photographer Nacho Alonso and his meanderings in search of heroin. But this is not the only drug to appear in the film, which owes a great deal to Iván Zulueta’s Rapture, is dedicated to George A Romero and is a close relation of the most diabolical of David Lynch’s works: the consumption of images is the most powerful drug, to which we are all addicted and which conditions our lives, personalities and memories, to such an extent that it has turned us into zombies.
In fact, one of Los fiambres’ songs shrieks: “We will live forever, dead for life”, while another makes no bones about the fact that “nostalgia doesn’t matter” and a kiosk-cum-restaurant that the main characters pay a visit to is eloquently called “The Lost Souls”. In case anyone had thought about mythologising industrial cities such as Vigo, Gijón and Ferrol during the final few decades of the last century, when they were true trailblazers, today they would find that they are sad, ghostly ruins of a buzzing, solvent and ostentatious past, destined never to return. If it’s any consolation, while we, the immature masses giddy on digital opiates, search for protective maternal love everywhere, we can still continue relentlessly devouring images on any screen, much like an addict in search of that hit that will never quite manage to satisfy him completely.
Wandering Star, with its script, production and editing all handled by Alberto Gracia, and its cinematography entrusted to Mauro Herce (Dead Slow Ahead [+see also:
interview: Mauro Herce
film profile]), was shot over six days by a crew of four people. It is an El Horlá, Zeitun Films and El Viaje Films production, with grants from AGADIC and the Ferrol City Council. It saw the involvement of Hangar.org, Álamo Studio, 4ojos Studio, Morelli Producciones, the Galician Film Association and the Vigo Film Commission.
(Translated from Spanish)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.