From Spanish Documentary Film during the Transition to the Documentary Panorama.
In addition to the Official Selections, Documenta Madrid presents in its tenth edition two cycles specifically dedicated to the Spanish production which, as a mirror, reflect the great changes generated in our society during the last 40 years: The Documentary Cinema in the Spanish Transition versus the Panorama of the current Spanish Documentary Film.
The years of the Spanish Transition are one of the richest and most intense epochs of the history of Spanish documentary film. Despite the difficulties in getting premiered which some of the films encountered, due to “complications” with the administrative authorities, the documentary cinema of those years managed to make itself a place in the screens and even obtained an astonishing echo in the written press. And what was even more meaningful, it played an active and intense role in the debates which nurtured the transition process from dictatorship through to democracy.
The largest part of the documentary films produced between the years 1973 and 1982 initiate, in an innovative way, the deconstruction of myths and believes promoted by the Franco regime, as well as building up the framework of a new modernity which will slowly, bit by bit, impose itself. At that moment, under the waves of change, of turning a new leaf, a new form of documentary film begins. The construction of a portrait directly opposite from that which had prevailed until then, implied the rejection of the codes which ruled up till that moment in what seemed the only possible path for documentary film: that represented by No-Do. Thus, for example, opposed to the dominant presence of the all-knowledgeable, neutral voice (main characteristic of the official Franco news reports), a considerable part of the documentary films of those years decided to include the direct testimony, which at times became a confession, of various members of both the political and civil society.
It is probably that presence of specific and diverse voices and looks which made the documentary film an arena so fertile and varied, which clearly symbolizes the step from dictatorship to democracy, reflecting the public coexistence of various ideas. That is probably the reason why films such as Queridísimos verdugos, El asesino de Pedralbes, El proceso de Burgos, Informe general…, Función de noche, Ocaña, retrato intermitente y Después de… still manage to get across so clearly the image of a society and a cinematography faced with change.
As a reflection of this, the section dedicated to the current Spanish documentary Panorama brings us a snapshot of the present, with a call of attention: creativity is not suffering a crisis! Many of the documentary films look at the story of our country: from the closed mine pits of Alamadén, to the activity in a farmstead in the Pyrennees, the story of a mental hospital in Galicia or the astonishing revelation of the school in the religious sanctuary of the Valle de los Caídos… other go to Tunisia or El Salvador to look for other realities… but all of them tell in a talented way the stories of what Jean Renoir defined as “pieces of life”. The documentary cinema in Spain is currently going through one of its most fruitful moments. _
QUERIDÍSIMOS VERDUGOS (DEAREST EXECUTIONERS)
Directed by Basilio Martín Patino
Spain, 1977, 103 minutes
EL ASESINO DE PEDRALBES (THE MURDER OF PEDRALBES)
Directed by Gonzalo Herralde
Spain, 1980, 86 minutes
EL PROCESO DE BURGOS (THE BURGOS TRIAL)
Directed by Imanol Uribe
Spain, 1979, 134 minutes
INFORME GENERAL SOBRE UNAS CUESTIONES DE INTERÉS PARA UNA PROYECCIÓN PÚBLICA
Directed by Pere Portabella
Spain, 1977, 240 minutes
FUNCIÓN DE NOCHE (NIGHT FUNCTION)
Directed by Josefina Molina
Spain, 1981, 90 minutes
OCAÑA, RETRAT INTERMITENT (OCANA, AN INTERMITTENT PORTRAIT)
Directed by Ventura Pons
Spain, 1978, 85 minutes