In Memory of Carlos Saura. Double Screening
In memory of Carlos Saura (1932–2023), this programme screens two films: Las paredes hablan (The Walls Can Talk, 2022), the film-maker’s final work centred on artistic impulses that extend from pre-historic cave painting to contemporary graffiti, and Deprisa, deprisa (Hurry, Hurry! 1980), one of Saura’s early films and a major landmark in his oeuvre.
To speak of Carlos Saura means to speak of the history of cinema in Spain. His filmography spans seven decades, moving through censorship under the Franco regime, democratic developmentalism and contradictions in the Spanish welfare society. With a unique approach, he managed to move beyond realism to create powerful socio-political allegories and transcend social costumbrismo in dramas chock-full of anti-heroes, emotional contradictions and the will to live. His filmography also engages with other languages like photography, literature, theatre and art, and responds to multiple reflections around the question of what exactly the aesthetic, political and social idiosyncrasies of Spanishness are.
Film-makers Elena López Riera and Javier Rebollo, along with producer Anna Saura and Spanish film scholar Sarah White, see out this programme with a conversation on the director that follows the screening on 20 May.
Elena López Riera is a film-maker and producer. She is the director of the feature film El agua (Water, 2022), which premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, and the short films Las vísceras (Entrails, 2016), first shown at Locarno, and Los que desean (Those Who Desire, 2018), exhibited at MoMA (New York).
Javier Rebollo is a film-maker, screenwriter and producer who holds a degree in Information Science from the Complutense University of Madrid. He has directed the films Lo que sé de Lola (What I Know About Lola, 2006), La mujer sin piano (The Woman without a Piano, 2009), El muerto y ser feliz (The Dead Man and Being Happy, 2012), among others.
Anna Saura is a producer and the daughter of Carlos Saura. She studied Journalism and Advertising, in a joint honours degree, at Francisco de Vitoria University, where she currently lectures. Since 2015, she has managed and developed all of Carlos Saura’s artistic projects.
Sarah Thomas is an associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Brown University (USA). Her research is focused on contemporary Iberian cultural production, especially film and the representation of subjectivity, gender and childhood. She is the author of the book Inhabiting the In-Between: Childhood and Cinema in Spain’s Long Transition (University of Toronto Press, 2019).
—With a presentation by the artist Suso33 and Pedro Saura, a lecturer of Photography in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid and a researcher specialised in palaeolithic cave art
Historian Alois Riegl once said that there is a will of art with different manifestations across all of humanity’s eras and civilisations. Las paredes hablan (The Walls Can Talk) responds to this idea, a film devoted to the relationship between pre-historic cave art and contemporary urban graffiti — both observe an artistic need above any system, order or rule. Saura’s final film sees him, with unbridled curiosity, walk and guide around the outside and origins of art.
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
— With a conversation between Elena López Riera, Javier Rebollo (by video), Anna Saura and Sarah Thomas once the screening concludes
“For months I crossed Madrid from one end to the other, and I can say now that I know the city well, particularly its suburbs and streets, cafés, and clubs and, of course, I know many of its inhabitants […]. And so I was surprised by how little I knew of a city where I had spent most of my life, and the changes that had occurred in recent years that had completely altered its structure […]. Perhaps that is why I’m so drawn to the way of living, almost exclusively in the present, of the guys in Deprisa, deprisa. That desire to gulp life down in one go, without thinking about the consequences of their actions, passionately living life, avoiding restraints or ties that suppress individual freedom. Maybe it is a form of protest against a society full of holes and a warning that we are entering a new phase”. Carlos Saura.
Sabatini Building, Auditorium