This entry was posted on August 8th, 2017

Ha Terra! (Ana Vaz, 2016)

By Aldo Padilla

“I came to Comala because I was told that my father lived here, someone named Pedro Páramo”. That’s the start of the Juan Rulfo novel, which is a search of a ghostly figure in a town which seems to be a strange representation of limbo. Meanwhile, the questions about the land where the dying live arises, and also the question if the land itself is dying, a land whose blood circulates in form of lava, that from time to time needs to depurate some wounds through the raising of volcanos. It’s likely that the earth has our own life cycle, with the same intensities and passions, with the same nostalgia and apathy, and that the characters that inhabit books and films are the mirror of how the earth spend its days, years and centuries in real life.

Pedro Páramo is a mirror where Cilaos looks at itself, a film that is inspired in a character that looks for his father, La Bouche, an elusive being that appears to be a legend more than a tangible person, as well as Pedro Páramo, the omniscient character. Both characters are driven in codes that can only be understood through stories that distort and magnify themselves while being transformed in melodies. The way that Camilo Restrepo uses creole is a thing of vital importance, which give the songs of the film roughness, libido and force. One must understand that Cilaos is a place without return. “La Bouche is alcohol itself”, says one of his sons, a phrase which is repeated with little variations, in drum language, in small tappings in a table or through the sound of a hose that twirls in the air and whose sound is cut. Cilaos is a story that opens a road through multiple languages.

The idea of a living town, Comala, in the Juan Rulfo book, which is close to the Colima volcano, connects the idea of the book with the film Burning Mountains that Spew Flame, which works on a concept of earth as a being of multiple layers, where volcanos are connections between the earth and mortal humans, sort of burning portals that reminds us that time has a meaning. The filming in 16mm helps writing that oneiric quality that Girón and Delgado search for. A new question arises from this, are the stretch marks left by lava being spewed from earth manifestations of life or mere rales?

The Brazilian film Ha Terra! Is the end of the road, where the earth is seen as passive observer of the role that each subject chooses to take, pray or animal. Cars that chase each other and a man in the middle of nowhere decide to remind himself that there’s still a piece of land to conquer. Cannibalism where the pray satiates its appetite, the connection between man and nature through an inversion of roles, where the foreign capitalist seems to have right of which he barely knows. Ana Vaz enjoys pursuing the spectator, raising questions of their role in front of the screen.

Rulfo’s purgatory joins these three works in a strange way: the ghost who searches, the land which manifests itself and observes. All the participants of this legend seem to have their role unclear, the floor is lava, the floor is reality.

Artist: Camilo Restrepo
Country: Colombia / France
Format: 16mm > dig 13 min

Montanas Ardientes Que Vomitan Fuego (Burning Mountains That Spew Flame)
Artist: Helena Girón and Samuel M. Delgado
Country: Spain
Format: 16mm > digital
Duration: 13 min
Year: 2016

Há Terra!
Artist: Ana Vaz
Country: Brazil
Format: 16mm > digital
Duration: 13 min
Year: 2016