This Catalonian director assembles archetypal symbols to create expressive landscapes.
Albert Serra and his masterful anti-narrative films /
Albert Serra (Catalonia, 1975) raises himself as the heir to narrative lacking films. His films mostly depict living archetypes in overwhelming landscapes; these backgrounds cease to be backgrounds because of the plane’s long duration, thus becoming the main actor. The characters enunciate desperate organic lines that take us to the realm of the absurd; slowly leaving the argument behind. The important aspect is time, the presence of and absence of shadows in a single shot; the movement that life is ultimately made of.
Although its characters are on the borderline between the historic and the legendary, they become real in this almost fantastic film. This is due to the desperation the non-actor feels within a wardrobe that places him in a different dimension, where he becomes aware that he is being watched.
In Honor de Caballería (2006) we see someone who could easily have been the character of Don Quixote if he had existed in real life, disarmed of any kind of grace; beyond the comic romanticism that enabled him to be the figure that exists in our minds. This Quixote, and especially Sancho Panza, are pure characters seeking their essence. The manner in which they relate to each other reflects a completely human sincerity and fragility, while the field that surrounds them takes hold of the story. In this way Quixote’s madness is much clearer than in any other versions, despite the fact that this is always lurking this character in film adaptations.
El Cant Del Ocells (2008) portrays the three wise men as they travel through deserts, seas, mountains, forests and tundra, all for the sake of meeting the son of God. However, yet again, the most interesting aspect is the characters’ desperation before the enormity of the surrounding nature. They were never defeated, but like Herzogean heroes their sanity begins to dwindle, opening itself to true consciousness, to the universe from which they are separated and which they become a part of once more, before they die in a cinematic frame. Joseph and Mary decide if they will go to Egypt during what seem to be 15 endless on-screen minutes, while the wind moves the grass, and the shadows drift, imitating with precision, the actual event, which is refutably recorded.
Albert Serra dives into the collective unconscious to emerge in our minds and dislocate our notions of the myths that have shaped our mental structure.
The director was recently awarded the greatest distinction in the Locarno festival for his Historia de la Meva Mort (2013), where he uses popular archetypes of the collective unconscious once more, in this case turning to Count Dracula and Casanova.Tagged: Albert Serra, cinema, filmmakers, Warriors & Rebels