Mini DV/HD /16:9 / 86′ / 2015
Amazed looks, *** minds, hesitant footsteps… The camera traces a rear window and sound the deserted landscape looking for life. All is aridity, , loss.
The old village emerges to the surface of the reservoir and it becomes a touristic highlight, monument, souvenir. A macabre mirage, an historic revenge. The past bursts in silently and spoils the ‘party of oblivion’. Around the corpse, among the shards, a battalion of paparazzi takes positions. The necropsy begins, the dressing (cutting up), the tragicomedy of our time. Here starts the end of the world.
Reality and fiction, ethic and esthetic, glamour and decadence dissolves in this frivolous and insolent Venezia. A scatological scenery where the mess is the refuge of loneliness, nostalgy is the voice of disenchantment and progress is the face of decrepitude.
We contemplate with excitement its ruins, our own ruins.
I remember the day this film started emerging. Sailing through the online press I bumped into a revealing picture (image): the ruins of a village surfaced in the middle of a lake, 20 years after its
The appearance took place at the waters of Lindoso, a reservoir in Southern Ourense, but this become trivial. Aceredo was just the first of a wake of corpses that, during a historical drought, surfaced all over the galician geography the next years. The first of many Venices.
The next morning I took the camera and went to meet that mesmerizing vision. I arrived at dawn, all was deserted, it was sunday. The aride sides confered the landscape an apochalyptical, beckettian air. I felt like an astronaut looking for signs of life on the surface of the moon, like waiting for something.
Soon the show started. A bunch of curious transformed that inhospitable scenery into a touristic highlight, a sort of grotesque funeral parlour. A mummy. A spectacle.
The postcard was magnetic, phantasmagorical, as morbid as desolating. Those houses agrounded in the center of that lake seemed to be a dellusion. The calm surface of the waters turned into a mirror and doubled every stone, making us confuse reality and its reflection, like in photography. A platonic cave made of water. A giant developing studio.
All looks stayed fixed down there, lost in reflexion, observing and, sometimes, being observed. A sunday walk for some, a disturbing encounter for others. Often they seemed to shield behind their cameras and their smartphones to avoid looking at the death in the eyes.
The protagonism of those ruins was so obvious that I felt tempted to turn my back on them. It took shape the idea of a inverse staging, a mirror-game: to avoid thouse ruins and stair its visitors, isolate them, nake them with the same impunity they profane the grave. We would discover Venize through their eyes.
During my paparazzi mission, a neighboor came to me. He told me that, if I wanted to tell the story that layed under the waters, he had everything documented in many VHS cassettes. Eureka, because of destiny or because of the Archimede principle, the idea of this filmed jumped out, those ruins seemed to araise as a gheiser, they ressurrected to claim for revenge.
But the promise of those VHS’ was as ephemeral as the vision of the ghost village. Few weeks after, the proactive peasant dissolved/fade away like those ruins. Apparently, he gave/promised his valuable archive to another film that would narrate the concrete drama of that place. Reality interposed in the way of the documentary, pushing it towards fiction, leaving it adrift.
What seemed to be misfortune turned luck soon. The film withdrawed, expanded to the field of mythe, of fable, of tragedy. It wasn’t just a land any more; it was The Land. After that lake come many other ones that started filling up with characters, with voices, with mystery. That mosaic of brand new shards was composing the tale/chronicle of an imaginary time, a paradise that now I should desacrate.
Venezia revived this macabre Venezia, pathetic, carnivalesque, to celebrate the party of oblivion, the wreck, the slaughter; with the same vacuous and postmodern look that it promised/tryed to riddicule.
“Nothing stays, everything dissolves”
Direction, camera and edition: Xoel Méndez
Starring: Carlos Villa, Paula Carballeira, Pepe Penabade, Comba Campoi, Marisa Boceta, Karlos Hurtado
Production: Xoel Méndez
Sound: Meli Souto
DCP and Distribution: Noveolas Producciones
Graphic Design: F. Javier Hurtado