Ihes puntua = Punto de fuga = Vanishing point
Big made-up eyes look at us and a song starts playing on the radio: Love is strange by Mickey & Sylvia. The bare feet belonging to Holly (Sissy Spacek) and cowboy boots belonging to Kit (Martin Sheen) follow the beat of the music. They are in a forest, hiding – fleeing to nowhere because he has killed her father. Kit looks like James Dean; Holly, ten years younger than him, is a teenager. They are the protagonists of Badlands, Terrence Malick’s first film (1973). The film is based on the true case of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, a young murderous couple who fled from the law through South Dakota in 1958. Holly and Kit’s escape will mark the beginning of the Tabakalera summer film season Vanishing Point. It is a film season that will take in escapes, landscapes, cars, photos, love, deserts, breakups, boats, painting, beaches, friendships, disappearances, trips, trains and the sea. In other words, the summer itself.
But what is a summer film? I see this time of year as a break from the routine, a little escape, perhaps to another possible life. Something similar to the effect that films have, giving you the chance to imagine other possible lives or even to live them.
Johan van der Keuken portrays his holidays in the film The Filmmaker’s Holiday (1974) and invites us to reflect on photography and cinema: “A photo is a memory. A film doesn’t remember anything. A film always happens now.” Another way of looking at the camera, that of Monika (Harriet Andersson) in Ingmar Bergman’s film Summer with Monika (1953), marked a before and after in cinema with its breaking of the barrier between fiction and the viewer. And from Denmark in the 1950s we go to New Jersey in the 1990s. More specifically to Wildwood, a summer resort town. Directors Carol Weaks Cassidy and Ruth Leitman walk along the boardwalk interviewing mostly girls and women and constructing in Wildwood, NJ (1994) a portrait of a specific era, capturing the views of the time about abortion, sex and the body itself. In Husbands (1970) John Cassavetes introduces us to Gus (John Cassavetes), Archie (Peter Falk) and Harry (Ben Gazzara), three friends who lose a fourth and who, after the funeral, leave their jobs and lives to start a journey that will end in London and from which only two of them will return. From Cassavetes we move on to another great director, Jim Jarmusch, who in Mystery Train (1989) presents three stories, and three journeys, which converge on a single hotel, the Arcade Hotel in Memphis, on the same night. The first journey follows a couple obsessed with Elvis travelling from Yokohama to the US. The second, an Italian widow who has come to take her husband’s coffin back to Italy. And the third features three friends fleeing from the police after robbing a liquor store. In the three stories at the Arcade Hotel, we hear Elvis’s Blue Moon and a gunshot that will also mark the end of July in the Tabakalera cinema.
We start August with a road movie called Touki bouki (1973) which means “hyena’s journey” in Wolof and is directed by the Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty. The protagonists of the film are Mory and Anta and they both have the same dream: to escape to Paris. The film was awarded a prize by international critics at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. It has been restored thanks to the World Cinema Foundation. We then continue with Albertina Carri who will also present us with a road movie in The Daughters of Fire (2018). In this film, one of the protagonists wants to make a lesbian porn film. It becomes a journey through Ushuaia, picking up different women along the way, and together they create a tribute to pleasure. The next summer we come across in the Tabakalera film season will be that of Yuki and Nina (2009), two nine-year-old close friends who are spending their last holiday together: Yuki’s parents then separate and her mother moves from France to Japan with her daughter. It is a portrait of friendship and the first conflicts of life addressed through play and fantasy. Antonioni also tends towards fantasy when in the only film he shot in the United States, Zabriskie Point (1970) – with co-writer Sam Shepard – he puts together a series of explosions: explosions of buildings, clothes, refrigerators, food and books. Particles caught in slow motion to the rhythm of Pink Floyd. From the American desert we switch to the very young Candela Peña and Silke who, under the direction of Icíar Bollaín in Hola, ¿estás sola? (1995), her debut feature, play two friends who run away from home to live a new life. This includes a wonderful scene where they travel in a car that is transported by a train. In the next session we return to the American desert and also, once again, to a script by Sam Shepard. This time we are in Paris, Texas (1984), winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival. Travis (Harry Dean Stanton), after being missing for years, is found by his brother Walt, but he has stopped talking. During the film we discover what happened in the past and embark on a journey of searches and encounters. In the film season we will also have the opportunity to see one of the best-known films by Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le Fou (1965). In this film, the protagonists are the couple made up of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, who are in a state of endless flight. And Vanishing Point, Tabakalera’s summer film season, will end with the film by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, Chronique d’un été (1961). The anthropologist and the sociologist walk the streets of Paris in the summer of 1960 asking people if they are happy. Are you happy? Perhaps it’s a good way to say farewell to the summer, to the numerous escapes, trips, adventures, and to all those other possible lives ... and to return to ours.
Lur Olaizola Lizarralde
Audiovisual Programme Coordinator