Joaquim Jordà. Situational Cinema
Film and debate series
Curated by Carles Guerra
Joaquim Jordà's most recent documentary films have become references for a public no longer satisfied with the merely cinematographic. Since 1979, when Jordà shot Numax presenta (Numax Presents), his films have been linked to more extensive, overarching debates. Numax presenta (1980) witnesses the closing down of a Barcelona factory just when Spanish politicians were signing the Moncloa Pact. Later, El encargo del cazador (The Hunter's Assignment) (1990) put together the leading voices of the generation of the Spanish democratic transition. Mones com la Becky (Apes like Becky) (1999) questioned the limits of psychiatry. Later on, De nens (About Children) (2003) intertwined the urban regeneration of Barcelona's Raval neighborhood with a case of pedophilia. Lastly, Vint anys no és res (Twenty Years is Nothing) (2004) reunited the same characters of Numax presenta to show what had been done about those desires expressed twenty five years before. The life stories that each person tells create an atypical frieze of our recent history. In this way, Jordà's cinematography has been associated with the urgency to deal with contemporary problems that frequently receive intense media attention. In this case, the movie is just one more link in the chain of public opinion, and an instrument with which to enter into debate.
Jordà's participation in the Barcelona School, which saw the production of Dante no es únicamente severo (Dante is not Only Severe) (1967), as well as his following phase of militant orthodoxy while in service to the PCI, (Comunist Italian Party) and his return to Spain at 1973, when he took up film again, which he had momentarily abandoned, offer three radically different contexts and, at the same time, three very differentiated models of production in his personal career. However, we must not simply reduce Jordà's profile down to film, for he is also a screenwriter, literary translator, and professor.
From there Jordà became a point of reference for young directors who found in him a way to make films outside of the dominant production models. Jordà's rather hazardous trajectory shows that his films reflect disparate and, at times, antithetic models of production. Among his movies we find documentaries, works of fiction, and militant films, as well as different formats and a variety of budgets. However, this diversity confers on his works a realistic finish that does not necessitate him recurring to any naturalism to make them as such. On the contrary, his films sustain themselves through their capacity to reflect and accommodate the human conditions and materials he works with.
Jordà could be defined as an intellectual who has turned film into a common space in which the cineforum itself is integrated. Each of his productions has generated specific publics, each attracted by the promise of participating in a debate. Just as it has happened before, he is only interested in producing the situation. "I worry more about the mise en place of the scene and the plane, and less about how to capture it on film. I organize the situation, and after that step aside. I could even go out for a coffee, and return when it is all done." This is what we could, without a doubt, classify as "situational cinema."
From militancy to bio-politics
Free admission. MACBA Auditorium. Limited seating
Two roundtable discussions will focus on Joaquim Jordà's films since the late 1970s to the present time. Leaving aside his implication in the Barcelona School, Jordà serves as a referential example of the militant cinema of the 1970s (of which, unfortunately, few examples still exist), as well as a new kind of militancy in the bio-politics era. His most recent documentaries are excellent case studies in understanding the kind of critique that is possible in societies of advanced capitalism, where power is exercised diffusely and through institutions that often claim to be "working in our best interest."
Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 pm
Panel discussion with the participation of Joaquim Jordà, Nanni Balestrini, Paulino Viota, and Carles Guerra (chairman).
Friday, April 21 at 7:30 pm
Panel discussion with the participation of Marina Garcés, Manuel Delgado, Jordi Balló, and Carles Guerra (chairman).
Admission fees below. MACBA Auditorium. Limited seating
Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 pm
El día de los muertos (The Day of the Dead, 1960, co-produced with Julián Marcos. 12 minutes)
Dante no es únicamente severo (Dante is not Only Severe, 1967, co-produced with Jacinto Esteva. 78 minutes)
This program includes Joaquim Jordà's first work and the Barcelona School's most emblematic film. Both are the result of track collaborations. The first was filmed on the Day of the Dead at Madrid's Almudena cemetery. Leaving the grounds, the police intercepted the producers. Part of their recordings was purposely blurred so as to not be used against those filmed on the grounds. The censorship defined this short film as "a nauseating movie." Dante no es únicamente severo had just as hazardous a history. It was proposed as a movie that would include the collaboration of Pere Portabella and Ricardo Bofill, among others. At that time Jordà and Esteva ended up producing a dreamy film with a high degree of formal investigation.
Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 pm
Maria Aurèlia Capmany parla d'«Un lloc entre els morts» (María Aurèlia Capmany talks about "A place among the dead", 1968, 55 minutes)
What we see in this movie is not, following the original plans, what we should be seeing. Maria Aurèlia... adopts the form of an interview with a writer. Her book Un lloc entre els morts was going to be the starting point for properly written fiction, but this movie was never shot. When all is said and done, the result could be considered a "false documentary." The interviewer and the interviewee behave as accomplices in an historical fable that the annotated book narrates, and that they do no reveal until well into the film.
Wednesday, May 3 at 7:30 pm
Portogallo paese tranquillo (Portugal, a tranquil country, 1969; 32 minutes)
Lenin vivo (Lenin Alive, 1970. Co-produced with Gianni Totti; 31 minutes)
These two movies are the only ones that remain from the period of militant orthodoxy associated with Joaquim Jordà's time in Italy. Portogallo paese tranquillo reflects "as objectively as possible" about the loss of the Portuguese colonies in Angola. Making use of Carles Duran's honeymoon in Portugal, they filmed street scenes and interviews with oppositional militants and military deserters. Lenin vivo, the official film that celebrates his birthday centennial, was the beginning and the end of the collaboration between the PCI and Joaquim Jordà. On the other hand, we do not know where the other films from that era, such as El perché del dissenso and Spezziamo le catene, ended up.
Wednesday, May 10 at 7:30 pm
Numax presenta ... (Numax Presents..., 1980; 105 minutes)
Numax begins as a militant film and ends with a visionary display. The workers at a Barcelona company request that Joaquim Jordà document their process of self-organization. The film shows us one assembly after another. At the end, the Numax strike resolves itself with a party that decries its end. However, the decision to desist ushers in a new era in which working in a factory has lost any semblance of prominence and lacks meaning.
Saturday, May 13 at 8 pm
Vint anys no és res (Twenty Years is Nothing, 2004, co-directed by Laia Manresa; 117 minutes)
Exactly twenty five years after Numax, Jordà finds the workers that appeared in that film. With a tone closer to that of Eric Rohmer as opposed to a militant filmmaker, each participant offers a personal testimony and a life story. The democratic transition and the evolution of the notion of work revolve around their reflections. Is it triumph or defeat of a working class that no longer exists? May he who can judge do so.
Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30 pm
El encargo del cazador (The Hunter's Assignment, 1990; 90 minutes)
This film is the result of an assignment made by Daria Esteva, daughter of Jacinto Esteva. In his last will and testament, he requested that something be done with his film legacy, which leads to El encargo del cazador . This was, in fact, a commission made by a dead man. Perhaps that is why Manuel Delgado defined this film as a "documentary of terror." Constructed as if it were about a Greek choir, the film composes a portrait of a family circle and a group of filmmakers that belonged, in some way or another, to the Barcelona School.
Saturday, May 20 at 8 pm
Un cos al bosc (A Body in the Forest, 1995; 84 minutes)
If it weren't for this film, we would think that–referring to the last twenty five years–Jordà was just a documentary author. Un cos al bosc is the only fictional work that Jordà has made in all this time. After Mones com la Becky , it was also conceived as fiction, though it was never produced as such. The story of Un cos al bosc situates itself in deepest Catalonia. It all begins when some hunters discover the corpse of a young murder victim. Rossy de Palma stands out for her role as Guardia Civil lieutenant.
Saturday, may 27 at 8 pm
Mones com la Becky (Apes like Becky 1999, co-directed by Núria Villazán; 97 minutes)
Mones com la Becky uses a footnote as a starting point. Joaquim Jordà was translating for Anagrama publishing house Jean-Didier Vincent's Biology of Passions when he first encountered a reference to Egas Moniz, winner of the Nobel Prize for his discovery of angiography. During this time, Joaquim Jordà suffered a stroke that brought him even closer to the story of the Portuguese doctor. The result is a personal and complex critique of the methods of modern psychiatry.
Wednesday, May 31 at 7:30 pm
De nens (About Children, 2003, co-directed by Laia Manresa; 186 minutes)
This film is most similar to a novel by Emile Zola. De nens conjugates a story of moral regeneration with another of urban regeneration, all taking place in downtown Barcelona at the beginning of the 21st century. The judge in this well known "Raval case," a case of child molestation with huge media repercussions, gave Jordà the opportunity to film what Foucault would call the exercise of bio-politics. The institutions of justice, medicine, mass media, and modern urbanization use rhetoric to tear apart the accused.
Wednesday, June 7, 7:30 pm
Agnosias (Agnosias 2003; 18, 30, and 9 minutes)
Agnosias shows Jordà's interest for memory disorders, this time focusing on Esther Chumillas' case, with whom he first became familiar through an article published in newspaper El País.
This session will be completed with films of recent or in progress production.
NOTE: Some screenings will be accompanied by material such as documentaries and televised interviews.
The films will be shown in their original language. Programme subject to last minute changes.
With the participation of NOTRO Films, MASSA D'OR PRODUCCIONS, S.L., ELS QUATRE GATS A. V. S.L., Filmoteca de Catalunya, Filmax and TVE.
Special thanks to: Joaquim Jordà, Filmoteca de Catalunya
Tel. (+34)93 481 33 58
mrubio [at] macba [dot] cat