Portraits of the body: A workshop with Isaki Lacuesta
At the 52nd Festival dei Popoli and on the occasion of the retrospective devoted to the film-maker Isaki Lacuesta, the author will hold a 2-day workshop in Florence. An event organized with the support of the Ramon Llull Institute, Barcelona.
About the author
Isaki Lacuesta was born into a family of Basque origins in Girona, Spain, in 1975. After his film studies, he took a course in Audio-visual Communication at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and later a Master Course in Documentary of Creation at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
Lacuesta was defined ‘a cineaste with a capital C, and the most promising Spanish cineaste’ (Jaime Pena, Buenos Aires Film Festival). He was included by Phaidon Press in the trend-setting book Take 100 - The Future of Film: 100 New Directors,, an overview of the 100 film-makers who will shape the future of film.
In September 2011, Los pasos dobles was awarded the Concha de Oro for Best Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
About the workshop
Isaki Lacuesta has been experimenting with several film genres since his earlier works, exploring the multi-faceted forms of the visible and often breaking the boundaries between artifice and reality, between fiction and documentary, and between filmed image and synthesized image. Given the originality of his work, the Festival dei Popoli has devoted a retrospective to this author on the occasion of its 52nd edition. In the framework of the retrospective, Lacuesta will hold a workshop entitled Portraits of the body that will take place over a span of two days – Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, November 2011 – for the duration of 16 hours. This will constitute a unique opportunity to come in contact with a radically and intriguingly challenging approach to film making.
About the Workshop Programme
• Saturday November 19th, 2011 (morning) – Explanation of methodology of work; approach to the subject to be executed.
• Saturday November 19th, 2011 (afternoon) / Sunday November 20th, 2011 (morning) – One-to-one discussion between the participants and Isaki Lacuesta. He will follow and help in their individual works.
• Sunday November 20th, 2011 (afternoon) – Presentation of the completed projects.
How to subscribe
This is a restricted access workshop. The subscription costs Eur 120.00. The workshop subscription includes access to the 52nd Festival dei Popoli valid throughout the entire Festival and the Festival catalogue. To participate, please apply with a request of subscription to the workshop including your CV by November 1st, 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org _________________________________________
Portraits of the body
An Introduction to the work of Isaki Lacuesta The workshop participants are requested to present a completed project in the form of short film, self-portrait, installation, exhibition, or performance connected to the proposed subject and realised during the workshop.
‘This is a story about someone who visits the artist and commissions a painting from him. The artist tells him that he executes two genres of painting: portraits and landscapes. - Which is the less expensive? – asks the man.
- Landscape. – answers the artist.
- Fine. Paint a landscape of myself.’
(from the film Nobody’s Business by Alan Berliner)
The workshop is aimed at working on the various methodologies for filming bodies and faces. Every film can be looked at from various points of view at the same time: as an example, the narrative can be left aside, and the story can be created by focusing on the shapes and traces left by the filmed bodies. Ernst Lubitsch used to say that before filming people it is important to learn to film mountains: this was a way to highlight that cinema is the first and most important form of physical art, and that all character feeling or psychology are hard to portray unless you are capable of filming their ‘geography’ – meaning his/her material presence. Most of all major films include the art of portraiture: an art that, in its most successful instances, shows the person portrayed and the artist portraying at the same time, including their relationship – ranging from complicity to competition.
Born in 1975, Isaki Lacuesta studied film and specialized in the documentary genre. His work with and on the image has developed in the course of time, but is based on a conviction that challenges the notion of ‘pure’ cinema (according to which literature, painting, or music would be successive additions). Such conviction is derived from the hybrid nature of cinema, fuelled by a continuous influence and intensity of the encounter of several gazes rooted in the persistent necessity of searching for the new. In spite of his willingness to always make something different, a link between his works can be found as if they were looking at each other in a sort of continuous dialogue: in the shape of epistolary conversations, like in In Between Days, or of the peculiar dialogues proposed in Las variaciones Marker and Traços/Traces. Lacuesta’s research on the image is not limited to film, and he has tried himself in different fields, including installations: the above mentioned Traços/Traces (2007), a four-screen installation made for the Barcelona-based CCCB; Los cuerpos translúcidos (2008), a 16-monitor installation produced by Pantalla Partida; La luz azul (2008) made with Isa Campo and produced by Pantalla Partida; Lugares que no existen. Goggle Earth 1.0. (2009), made with Isa Campo; and El Retablo de las adivinaciones (2011) made with Isa Campo, Bòlit, and the Girona Centre for Contemporary Arts. Besides being a film director and a script writer – mention should be made of Lacuesta co-writing the script for Garbo, directed by Edmond Roch in 2009 and awarded at the Seville European Film Festival – he also contributes as a film critic to several newspapers and film magazines ("El viejo topo", "Lateral", "Individu Ocult", "El País", "La Vanguardia", and "Cahiers du Cinéma").
Moreover, he teaches at Spanish universities and film schools, like the Malaga University (course in documentary film, 2005-07), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Master in Documentary of Creation 2003 through 2011), and the Barcelona Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2000 through 2010 teaching both audio-visual film direction and Documentary of creation).
With Los Pasos dobles, he won the Concha de Oro for Best Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September 2011.
After realising a few short films, he made his first feature-length documentary in 2002, Cravan vs. Cravan,, that won the Sitges Film Festival Award for Nova Autoria (young authors). This film is an inquiry in-between documentary and fiction exploring the existence of a mysterious figure of the early 20th century, poet and boxer Arthur Cravan. His second feature, La leyenda del tiempo (2006), follows the steps of some characters, unknown to each other, who find themselves in an Andalusia location because of their love for flamenco. This film went to film festivals all over the world and won the Special Prize of the Jury at the Las Palmas Film Festival and the Best Spanish Film Prize awarded by the Cataluña Film Critics Association, among others. With his third feature, Los condenados (2009) – about two former Argentine guerillas meeting 30 years later – Lacuesta won the FIPRESCI Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Lacuesta’s short films hang between fiction and documentary, aiming to explore the different forms of the visible: from Microscopías and Ressonàncies magnètiques (both 2003) through Las variaciones Marker (2007) – based on the French filmmaker’s re-edited, commented, and reworked pictures – and Traços/ Traces, Marte en la Tierra (both 2007), Alpha and Again. (Lugares que no existen n°1), co-directed with Isa Campo, Soldados anónimos (both 2008), In Between Days (a cinematic correspondence co-directed with Naomi Kawase in 2009), up to 2012 (2010) and El rito (2011). The author maintains that short films are the ideal ground for experimentation and research, but also for the encounter of different gazes (Isa campo, Chris Marker, and Naomi Kawase) and different forms of cinema.
About the retrospective at the Festival dei Popoli
The 52nd Festival dei Popoli, Florence, November 12th to 19th, 2011, presents the first retrospective in Italy devoted to this author. Daniele Dottorini is the curator of Isaki Lacuesta: Swimming in a sea of images, a programme of 23 among feature-length, medium-length, short and extremely short films that will guide you in a sea of images as mysterious and intriguing as is life itself.