Spearhead by Xurxo González

It’s being long time since I’ve been thinking over the current situation of the audiovisual scenery in Galicia, not about the industrial audiovisual one, of course, but about the most updated one, the real locomotive that pulls to contradict the static inertia of the established and conventional type of audiovisual. Now with this text I wish to set in order all my thoughts and start throwing out some conclusions. I am conscious that I am dealing with a topic where there is barely any Historical distance, but I believe there is already enough signs to try a systematization of what it’s recently happening within the Galician audiovisual scenery.

Before I do anything else, I would like to clarify that talking about the Galician audiovisual brings together a lot of ontological disquisitions. A series of concerns that if years ago were over doubts, nowadays are certainties and that, in another time it meant doing a voluntary inventory, currently it has certain expansive and globalizing shade in accordance with the course of the discipline within the international panorama. But my intention is to zoom into Galicia’s audiovisual and pay attention not only into the proposals not backed up by the industry, but, that, within these ones, go deep into the most radical tendencies, into the “most peripheral” creators who make up the real “spearhead” of which, definitely, the Galician audiovisual should start flaunting.

And I start with another irony. I talk about the “audiovisual” because it is what it brings less qualm for me to use, since I believe it is the concept that best fits with what it’s happening within the wide range of technologies that make use of the moving images. It is clear that talking about cinema means going through the aureole of the tradition and of the artistic, but the unstoppable magnetic-digital drift turns incomprehensible for me the “homesick” for the celluloid.

And yes, it was the crowning “democratization of the means of production” what motivated new alternatives to show up against the continuous generational exhaustion that constantly characterize the future of the Galician audiovisual scenery. A History that offered episodes worth mentioning, like the Video creation from the 80’s or the series of works from the EIS during the 90’s, but these were landmarks without continuity, showing the surrender of a conservative way of “understanding the cinema”.

Nowadays there is another peak within the Galician audiovisual creation, basically due to the push from the, fragile but intense, Agencia Audiovisual Gallega. There, it appeared new names called to be an alternative to those who at that time continuously misused their opportunities in wounding productions. But, once again I make another turn in the plot, and my interest in distinguishing between the new names, those which are useful as a bastion in favor of the detection of future waves. Other looks, other cinemas of people with the necessity of expressing themselves in an audiovisual media without servitudes or surrenders. And it is exactly about this, what I want to talk about.

This vanguard of the Galician audiovisual is derived from people who posses a coherent trajectory, where there is a necessity of searching within certain aesthetic and reflection parameters about the possibilities of the audiovisual media. And to get to this point they show a creative freedom never seen before, with risky proposals, not within their production and execution, but within their cinematographic conception. Almost always films have to be produced skipping the lack of understanding from the professional hierarchy of the industry and almost always corresponds to possible individual efforts thanks to the goodness of digital technology.

Until today, all this magma made of “digital cinema” (another interesting naming) had its culmination with the presence of the full-length film Todos vós sodes capitáns, from Oliver Laxe, at the International Festival of Cannes 2010. But, where did all start?

The beginning of everything was in the figure of Alberte Pagán. It is going to be almost a decade that the director from O Carballiño started making small screen works that moved up what it will be his most prominent works: Bs. As, Pó de estrelas and Tanyaradwa. An autodidactic trajectory, that it was used as a mirror and as the only Galician referential point regarding the possibilities of new ways of considering the audiovisual creation. Pagán was the reference for those creators who were looking within the self-management the possibility to materialize their films without diminishing, for this reason, their creative aspirations.

At another level it can be found those filmmakers who studied in Schools, almost always outside Galicia, who try to make room for them into the panorama looking for the validation of festivals and critics less permeable to corporate interests. Within this group stands out, of course, Oliver Laxe, characterized by the appointment by the artistic process, but at the same time, it must be mentioned the des-automated happiness of Vicente Vázquez, the filmic digestion of Ángel Santos, the poetry of the daily routine of Lara Bacelo, the estraubianos outbursts of Eloy Enciso, the existential aspects of the form by Lois Patiño or the socio-recreational critic of Peque Varela. The majority of these names come from the diaspora, who decided to come back and try to adapt to the Galician situation, without creasing up their look.

Although they are all young directors, they are very well prepared; their hands don’t shake to bet on daring works in which it can be discussed the contemporary frame of mind in which cinema can be found. A line of “non-reconciled” arguments that don’t have anything to envy to what it is been doing in the international panorama. So, they come over and over to a meaningful repetition pointing at the future: to the meta-linguistic reflection, to the singularities of the look, to the documentary-fiction hybridization, to the personal and territorial identity, to the assessment of the spaces, to the exhortation of the memory, to the artistic pollution, the impressions of time, the formal experimentation, to the creative irony….

But, from time to time, other filmmakers from the main stream or from other disciplines (Fine Arts, Music) get close to these leading positions and propose works which participate in these beginnings of avant-garde: Cousas de Kulechov, by Susana Rei, Bata por fóra, by Claudia Brenlla, Fatum, by Pablo Millán, Manuscritos Pompeianos, by Marcos Nine… A very complicated area to remain since many times the “survival” of the creators is at stake.

To finish, I would like to be brave. I hope this text will help expelling these authors and their works out of the oblivion, and I would like that it could promote new rapprochements and studies about the rich diversity and quality that this new wave from the Galician audiovisual is currently offering. Summing up, I can say that these creators that act as “spearhead” are the ones who can bear my nerve that we are in front of what it can be called: THE NEW GALICIAN CINEMA.