Let’s take a bad metaphor. Let’s imagine a big building. A big, sad, old, and almost empty building where nobody wants to go. Imagine that this building starts to collapse. Little by little, very slowly, almost in slow motion. But, surprisingly, the disappearance is not showing the empty landscape that we thought we will find behind it, but a crazy, seething, and energetic population that was growing and living in the shadow of the enormous, ugly building.
The big building is the official Spanish cinema, which is currently dying, killed by outdated structures, endogamy, lack of vision and political decisions (more taxes, less subsidies, and a lot of non-payments) aimed at killing a cultural industry in heavy conflict with the right-wing party currently in government. This war started in 2003, when during the Goya ceremony (the local version of the Oscars), the gathered industry expressed a clear opposition to the governmental decision of involving Spain in the war against Irak. As a slow revenge, 11 years later, with the excuse of the economical crisis, the traditional industry is demolished, without offering a real alternative.
Sad or not, this slow death of the old industry is proving that the real force of contemporary Spanish cinema is not at its center, but in a more peripheral world, a parallel reality completely separate from the center. A new, complex and non-homogenic reality much more active, risky, and even dangerous than the official cinema anchored to certain ways of thinking. A new cinema, born with the explosion of the digital technologies in the beginning of the 21st century, is exploding and growing with an unusual force. Like Oliver Laxe once said: "The most beautiful flowers always grow in graveyards."
Right now, Spanish cinema is living through one of its most exciting moments of recent history. With the entire country facing a real political and economical crisis, the periphery of Spanish cinema is punching with energy, and in some cases — and this is new in recent Spanish cinema — a strong political point of view. This new cinema is not an organized movement; it is heterodox, involves fiction, documentary, and experimental filmmakers (obviously, no one is using these categories in an orthodoxical way, neither me nor the filmmakers). But there’s a common sense of freedom and a slight idea of community. Using the title of one of the first series around this other Spanish cinema, programmed years ago by Josetxo Cerdán and Antonio Weinrichter: it is a d-generation. Say hello to it!
Titles? Names? The list would be enormous, but here are some: Árboles (Los hijos, 2013), El futuro (Luis López Carrasco, 2013), Costa da morte (Lois Patiño, 2013), Dime quién era Sanchicorrota (Jorge Tur, 2013), VidaExtra (Ramiro Ledo, 2013), El modelo (Germán Scelso, 2012), El jurado (Virginia García del Pino, 2012), Invisible (Víctor Iriarte, 2012), Mi loco Erasmus (Carlo Padial, 2012), Mapa (León Siminiani, 2012), Ilusión (Daniel Castro, 2013), Los ilusos (Jonás Trueba, 2013), Ensayo final para utopía (Andrés Duque, 2012). But there’s one film that expertly portrais this sense of freedom: Gente en sitios (Juan Cavestany, 2013), which premiered in Toronto and is probably the most strange and fascinating film made about the secret civil war which is happening right now in Spain.
Gonzalo de Pedro Amatria (@gdpedro) is Artistic Director of the Márgenes film festival, Programmer at the Distrital film festival and a film critic for Caiman, El Cultural and SensaCine.