HD / 16:9 / color / Galiza / 90′ / in production
To give birth a being, an idea, a film… is a dark trance. While making love is a matter for two, birth is a selfish act. The utero becomes a foreign forest that causes in men as much curiousity as restlessness. The new of a pregnancy marks the beginning of a mutual trip, but of a farewell too. It marks the point where solitude emerges… and this film.
Woman rises, she turns enigma, totem. Down below, the man, spectator, intruder, scarecrow that looks his fellow dissappear into the thicket (bushes), on the way to the hill, to death and poetry. The film follows the trace of light, as who stares (at) an eclipse, as who tries to break in a wild horse.
Covada is an act against nature fruit of impotence, of contempt, of naivety, of fascination. The author squirms on his assigned seat, he resists to loose the control of the story. He turnes back his eyes towards (to) the little window and tries to discern: a hand of the projectionist, a piece of film, something that allows to find out (decode) the sense of his life.
The announcement of Kora, my first daughter, faced me –together with the challenge of paternity- with a moral dilemma: to attend or not as a filmmaker –not just as a father- the most sacred of rites, the purest image, the drama in capital letter. In one hand, the desacration of a body, of a place, of an energy. In the other, the desacration of some principles, of a vocation, of a compromise.
The decission was not easy cause I knew that I would count on my partner’s acquiescence, the main victim of this sacrilege. Generous (and aware of my stubbornness), she would consent the intromision of the camera even in the hardest moments, as well as my intromision as a filmmaker, as a narrator, as a stranger. The coexistence of those two persons during the gestation and the birth trance were actually a collision, a personality crisis, an imposible tango. In this costume-party , the fear and anxiety of the author, traverses every fibre of this anatomy.
In addition to the annulment of the right to initimacy, we add to our tacit contract an exceptional clause: she could abandon at any time, no matter in wich point the film was. This part redeemed me of an intrinsic remorse dued to birth’s filming. But that fact didn’t eliminate the necessity of a weighed logistic and psychological stratagem, of a milimetric staging that would let me tackle the most arduous sequence of the film without disregarding my little – but essential- function as a partner. So, It was urgent to simplify the steps in order to prevent the choreography inside the birth room turned into a cinematographical, ethic and even affective disaster.
Covada must be understood as a celebration of our dark, contradictory but (and) wonderfull nature. But it’s a bittersweet celebration, conscient of the place and the time, of the different price that life has in different societys, in different economies of affection. A chant to our specie, an allegation against our extinction –undeserved perhaps- that is confused with the echoes of the extermination that come from outside, from every direction, more and more closer and frequently.
From the french word ‘couver’ (incubate), “covada” is the syndrome that makes man emulate his partner before and during the birth process. This implies to share everything: pain, fear, seclusion, diet restrictions and sexual tabus. In the huichol tribe from Center America, some of the testimonies tell that, during birth, the men tie their testiculles with a cord-end and give the other cord-end to the woman in labour. With each contraction, the woman stretches the cord opressing the genitals of her partner, inflicting an intense pain that is his relief too (as well).
For some (authors) the ‘covada’ is just a desperate trick of man who tries to recover his lost protagonism, for others it’s the prove of his frustration and solidarity. This film, that believes in this second diagnosis is an attempt by the author to ease the impotence of knowing he is just an observer of the most crucial moment of his life. But it’s also an attempt to tame his own look, the plot, the cinema. An exercise of anthropology, of fascination, of serenity. The female body as a creative entity, as an enigma, as a machinery: a totem. The forced split of the director into spectator and co-protagonist, fills the chronicle of these nine months with friction, nuisance, disagreement.
The film will stay beside the pain, firm, silent, stalker. Like a stone.
It’s all it can do.