The Archeology Of Woman Personality

in 49th Valladolid International Film Festival

by Jiri Cieslar

María querida (2004), by José Luis García Sánchez, was screened as part of the FIPRESCI competition. A portrait of the formidable but almost forgotten Spanish writer María Zambrano, María querida consists of many formal and semantic layers. We can see in the film Zambrano’s role in the modern political development of the Franco-era where she had to emigrate, and documentary aspects are included to illustrate this totalitarian time. The visuals are tops (colour camerawork of Juan Amorós), and Pilar Bardem, as the title character, is passionate. The essential quality of the film is formed by Zambrano’s free and complex personality, seen through the eyes of young journalist, Lola (Maria Botto), who decides to make a film on her. In this manner we follow Zambrano from the standpoint of the observer. The little but basic difference between reality and Lola’s personal image arises here – this difference is the mystery of Sánchez’s film.

The second film in my selection is the short docu-narrative, Lo sguardo di Michelangelo (The Look of Michelangelo, 2004) by Michelangelo Antonioni, which won a special prize by decision of our jury. This film shows the essence of Antonioni’s work: the narrowing to the absolute beauty with which the filmmaker sees Michelangelo’s Moses. This beauty appears here as emotional and rational, maybe a little frigid, but it doesn’t exclude deep insight into reality. For me Michelangelo was the main experience in the whole festival, an homage to the great sculptor and also Antonioni’s self-portrait as an old man contemplating Plato’s idea of beauty.

Jiri Cieslar