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Interview - Carlos Ruiz Carmona



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Interview with Carlos Ruiz Carmona (Director)

How did you come up with the idea of the documentary?
Portrait arises from my personal interest and need to understand better the post Spanish Civil War generation, which my parents belong to. In this sense, it represents an attempt to get as close as possible to their life experience, their way of seeing the world, their intimate concerns, feelings, desires and their way of thinking. It also helps to understand how their "way of being", their personal vision of life reflect and conditions the mine. For this reason I believe that somehow the idea of the documentary was created as an exploratory study of my past and my roots.

On the other hand, for Portrait represents a psychosocial and emotional analysis of being a man and a woman in the dictatorship times, in a time of oppression, resignation, poverty and silent. It's a portrait of a generation whose life choices were severely limited by their lowly status and lack of education.

Why to do a portrait of that generation with your parents and not with others?
I wonder why would I do it with other people but my parents? For me, in this particular case, given the subject and content, it wouldn't make sense to make this reflection and generational analysis with other people. That would mean to escape from the primary source of inspiration which first motivated the documentary.

Why black and white?
The black and white emerged as a natural choice to blend the present and past in one space and time.

The narrative aims to create a temporary dream where the present and the past are based on still time. It's a self-reflective space where my parents and I can discuss, remember and think about our lives.

A memorable moment in the film is when your mother says "I've never been happy", is that true? How did you react to such statement?
My mother said "I've never been happy"" at the beginning of the narrative and this statement serves as a dramatic element that introduces the character, my mother and her way of seeing the world. The narrative then explores, discusses, questions and analyzes the emotional and psychological content of that statement.

The narrative also presents other reasons: my mother did not have parents, she lived eight years with her grandparents and then went to live and work for families with a privileged social and economic situation. Through her adolescence she worked tirelessly for twelve hours a day in exchange for food and a bed to sleep. As my mother says, she feels she had no childhood. She had no time to play as a child, or to study and learn during her adolescence or even to naturally grow emotionally. Like many others, she's the result from exploitation and injustice that emerges of being poor and illiterate women.

Regarding to how I personally feel about that statement, I'm obviously frustrated. I wish I could have had the opportunity to provide my parents, and in this case my mother.

Are you working on any filming project at the moment?
Since 2005 I've been working on a documentary tentatively titled Culture. This project was filmed in Porto and the surrounding area during a period of approximately five years. It mixes city symphony of authors like Vertov, Ruttman or Vigo. The story examines and explores the concept of "culture" through an intimate portrait of life in the city.

On the other hand, I have two documentary projects that are candidates for funding through European programs. These projects are dedicated to a historical analysis of the dictatorship and its relationship with democracy and the process of globalization.

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