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IBIZA 2024

Critique : Un volcán habitado


- David Pantaleón et José Víctor Fuentes montrent, dans un documentaire à la fois magnifique et terrible, comment la vie quotidienne se transforme en éruption volcanique sur l’île canarienne de La Palma

Critique : Un volcán habitado

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

Screened in the Panorama official competition section of the eighth Ibiza International Independent Film Festival – Ibizacinefest after garnering praise at prior gatherings such as Visions du Réel, Seminci, Cinespaña Toulouse and Márgenes (where it scooped the Escáner Jury Prize), An Inhabited Volcano is a non-fiction film directed by José Víctor Fuentes (A veces el amor) and David Pantaleón, whose previous opus, also set on the Canary Islands, was Rendir los machos [+lire aussi :
fiche film

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As was the case in that film, the landscape becomes the one, true protagonist here, with the titular volcano dominating every single one of the frames in the movie, because even when we can see little more than the darkness enveloping the screen, the topic being discussed by the voices we hear is directly related to its violent awakening. Indeed, on 19 September 2021, after half a century enjoying a lack of seismic activity, the island of La Palma was thrown into turmoil by the eruption of a new volcano, which had lain concealed and dormant until then. All of the world’s media covered the event in minute detail and even made the trip to the archipelago with their equipment to broadcast live pictures of the disastrous consequences and the measures that were adopted to save the island’s people, animals and land from the lava flows.

However, what An Inhabited Volcano achieves, unlike hundreds of those reportages, is to show the tragedy from a day-to-day point of view: a dreadful event that every one of the island’s inhabitants had to live with, up close and personal, armed with nothing but solidarity. Through conversations recorded on mobile phones, several friends ask each other for help, offer information, blast the sensationalism of the media and, above all, provide each other with a great deal of encouragement, support and affection.

Pantaleón and Fuentes successfully allow us to once again relive this disaster from an intimate, personal perspective (a more unusual side not shown by the TV channels) – a catastrophe that forever changed the destiny of an entire island, especially economically speaking, its dwellings and sources of wealth having been completely wiped out. They do so with a camera that is attentive to the framing and the minute details, and which is able to convey the irresistible beauty of the eruption and the lava flows alongside, for instance, a herd of horses that carry on grazing while the cloud of ash spewed out by the crater fills the sky noisily in the background.

Other priceless moments in this beautiful and formidable documentary home in on the residents who join forces to sweep countless kilos of ash from the roofs of their houses and the local children who play in this volcanic dust that has whitened the entire landscape. There is also a scene where an old lady reminisces about past volcanic eruptions as life goes on, despite the fact that a natural, untameable beast is roaring just a few kilometres away: a fearsomely ferocious monster that came calling, and which these people had no option but to live with, standing united in the face of adversity.

An Inhabited Volcano is a production by Chukumi Studio. Its international sales are handled by Kino Rebelde.

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(Traduit de l'espagnol)

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