- Oskar Alegria writes hyper-sensitive poetry with images and, above all, silences in a diary of his travels filmed with a camera, accompanied by a donkey, along forgotten paths in his native Navarre
Even Víctor Erice himself attended yesterday's screening of Zinzindurrunkarratz at Cineteca Madrid, as part of the Escáner competitive section of the 13th Márgenes Festival. The third feature film by Oskar Alegria, a filmmaker who was first a journalist, then artistic director of the Pamplona festival Punto de Vista (2013-2016) and now a teacher and director of, with this, three highly original, fascinating and poetic feature films: La casa Emak Bakia (2012) and Zumiriki [+see also:
interview: Oskar Alegría
film profile] (2019).
While in the last film Alegria went to live in a forest for months to portray loneliness, surviving with the bare minimum and the harmony of humans with nature, with his new work (which won the DOC Spain award for Best Film at the last Seminci after its world premiere at the Telluride Festival) he focuses on mobility and builds a kind of road movie. However, instead of a car, he goes on foot, accompanied only by a friendly and empathetic donkey called Paolo.
With the animal, the filmmaker travels along trails near his family's home village (in the mountains of Artazu, Navarre) to recover sounds and images of a past interrupted or tinted by the voids of a fragile and fragmented memory. And he does so with a super-8 camera, the same one that his father once carefully kept and with which Alegria records what he finds on this pilgrimage dotted with encounters, animals, historical (and human) relics and emotions that overcome him along the way.
With his own voice-over in the form of subtitles (which the audience has to read, not listen to), the filmmaker exudes a poetry in harmony with the landscape and the scenery where he and Paolo are picking up some fifty sounds that complete the silences of the films shot with the same camera by his family more than forty years ago. This film then becomes a diary of an anthropological journey, full of lyricism and with enough humour to never succumb to pretentiousness or pedantry. On the contrary, it becomes an amusing, entertaining and quite exciting journey, which emanates a love for cinema, ancestors and rural life.
In today's fast-paced times of image saturation and high noise pollution (the screening itself last night was adulterated by the sound of a mobile phone of some rude and disrespectful person who had not put their device on silent), Zinzindurrunkarratz promotes the slowness of movement, improvisation, empathy with the environment and, above all, silence, that which allows us to hear the wind and the voices of nature.
It is no accident that Zinzindurrunkarratz is a word created out of the onomatopoeic Basque pronunciation of a light breeze (zinzin), a falling stone (durrundurrun) and a summit struck by lightning (kurruzkarratz). A title of a unique, highly original, joyful and charming film about mourning and the fragility of memory, which transports the audience to a silent time and a place of transhumant shepherds, of sharing bread and being in harmony with the environment.
Zinzindurrunkarratz is produced (through Emak Bakia Films) by Oskar Alegria himself.
(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)
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