A highly personal documentary from Carla Subirana which traces the lives of three generations of women in her family in a bid to retrieve both personal and historical memories from her aging grandmother and ailing moth...展开er before it is too late. An extended introduction by Emma Leather, Cornerhouse Engagement Manager to look at current themes running through contemporary Catalan film.
Existing in a family of women, the filmmaker, Carla Subirana is fascinated by the mystery of her grandfather, who may or may not have been a revolutionary, in Franco’s Spain. Surrounded by supportive women, she seeks out this unknown and idealised man. Her imagination has transformed Juan into a film noir detective, who stands in badly lit streets smoking, looking enigmatic. This is a film that questions memories, and the ability to keep them. It also brings up some rather confronting questions about family stories, who do they belong to and who has the right to tell or not tell them.
Relating the experience of making this documentary to swimming underwater, or at times drowning, this is a culmination of many years of filming. Carla’s home footage of her mother, Ana and grandmother, Leoner are tender, but disciplined- as if she doesn’t want to lose anymore history. This footage, especially of Leoner, displays the love the women have for Carla. They tolerate the intrusion into their lives, submitting to Carla’s direction, often with only a hint of a rye smile.
Like a good afternoon movie, Carla’s experience in trying to uncover her grandfather story, gives her a better understanding of what is truly important. The family she has and knows. But don’t expect the candy sweet you get with most stories of self-discovery. This documentary highlights the fragility of life and the cruelty of aging’s by-products. The terrible realities of undiluted dementia are harsh on the screen. This idea that we have to know where we come from to know where we are going is a merciless lesson if the future suggests a genetic time bomb like Alzheimer’s.
Whilst examining the lives of those around her, Carla, manages to remain largely out of frame. Why her grandfather is such an enticing search, but her own father is not, is never properly explained- perhaps this will be a question she will have to field from her children. There is something captivating about the women in Carla’s life that makes this documentary a rewarding experience. Her story, whilst very personal is one which will resonate with many viewers, who will see fragments of their own histories.