The Museo Reina Sofía and Cineteca Madrid jointly organise the second part, and conclusion, of the retrospective devoted to the films of Gonzalo García-Pelayo (Madrid, 1947) with the international premiere of one of contemporary cinema’s most ambitious projects: the production of eleven feature-length films made by the director between 2021 and 2022.
Gonzalo García-Pelayo is a cult film-maker within the landscape of new European film, following his retrospectives at Viennale (2013) and Jeu-de-Paume (2014) and his premieres at BAFICI (2022), in the spirit of early Jean-Luc Godard and with traces of Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman. Manifestations of counterculture, experimentation with film language, the non-distinction between fiction and documentary and the desire for a society to emerge after the dictatorship in Spain characterised García-Pelayo’s film practice from 1975 to 1986, explored in the first part of this retrospective: Stop Prohibiting Because I Can’t Disobey Everything. The Films of Gonzalo García-Pelayo. After a lengthy hiatus, in which he shelved his film-making to focus on music production, publishing work, the mathematical speculation of gambling and the financial system, this against-the-grain director returned to affirm the excess and rupture of any convention.
The Year of 10+1 Films is a project bearing little resemblance to the filmed diary or films about daily life. Rather, it sustains the thematic coherence and conceptual structure of his original work. These eleven pictures — one made in collaboration with Pedro G. Romero and another with Paco Campano — are imbued with common ideas and elements which impart a unique identity to the series. One such example is his vision of cinema as a kind of emotional geography. The films cross places visited previously by the film-maker (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Kazakhstan, Tierra de Fuego, Andalusia, Alentejo, etc.) and characters which, as in the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièlle Huillet, resonate with and reverberate in these places to reflect the histories and feelings they awaken. Moreover, García-Pelayo uses the same cast of actors to play roles across the eleven films — a technique used by Fassbinder to introduce an anti-actor notion of performance — and to share an element of metafilm, film inside film, a constant in his work since Vivir en Sevilla (Living in Seville, 1978). Other common ideas among them are music (in a range of genres) as an expression of the storyline, the philosophical conversations between characters and sex as a torrential force, alluding, in line with the paradigm of Surrealist mad love, to the triumph of instinct over culture. The zenith of the 10+1 films is a numerical calculation that adheres to a basic principle: accelerating the average of the usual filming time in Spanish cinema (three years for a film) up to 33 times, the speed most commonly used to produce vinyl records. Thus, García-Pelayo returns with an unparalleled film corpus to show how film is a way of life before being an industry or profession.
These eleven films are screened between the Museo Reina Sofía and Cineteca Madrid.