Special 30th : Exquisite Corpse

Work in Progress

En Construcción

José Luis Guerín

Spanish with french subtitles

A film chosen by Nicolas Philibert

Guerín's Work In Progress takes place in his native Barcelona. The film's ostensible subject is the construction of a building of condominiums in the city's "El Xino" quarter. This rough neighborhood is a home to workers, immigrants, squatters, prostititutes and drug dealers. The construction site represents an attempt to "improve" the neighborhood – by pushing some longtime residents out. Such is the backdrop to the film, which is made up of staged and semi-staged episodes featuring neighborhood residents and workers at the construction site. Guerín magically spins spellbinding cinema from the simplest elements of urban interaction.

There are filmmakers who see the world as if it were immutable, and there are those for whom the world is, to the contrary, ever-changing, like a worksite, under ‘construction’. For the former, the stakes of filming equal playing the predicted score and trying to make the most of it, whereas for the latter, the act of filming is an open process, the promise of a thing to come, a step forward towards the unknown, moved by the will to explore new paths. That is the category to which José-Luis Guerín belongs, and En construcción is a great film about time, wherein past, present, and future never cease to fold upon themselves. But it is also a great film about the hopes and dreams that inhabit human beings... or abandon them. Little by little, as the cement mixer trucks and mechanical shovels remodel their neighbourhoods, the inhabitants—the most vulnerable of whom will soon have to go into exile—become the bearers of stories in which the imaginary and the lived experience are closely intertwined...

Within the galaxy of great filmmakers, at least amongst those who pursue changing the rules, there is from now on another JLG (Jean-Luc Godard).

(Nicolas Philibert, translated by Naomi Vogt)
Alex Gaultier
Amanda Villavieja
Mertxe Alvarez, Nùria Esquerra, Catherine Zins
Arte France, Ovideo TV, INA

Films in the Retrospective