Ahead of their special double feature of El Futuro + Aliens for Scalarama Glasgow, Cinemaattic gather opinions and contextualise the importance of the work of Luis López Carrasco, sometimes referred as the ‘enfant terrible’ of Spanish cinema.
Who is Luis López Carrasco? Madrid-based artist Luis López Carrasco is a writer and filmmaker whose practice focuses on experimental documentary film. Luis’ work explores past generations in order to examine the present and future of the Spanish society, with a social and political endeavour. The artist is co-founder of the audiovisual collective Los Hijos. Luis has shown work in several international festivals, including Locarno, Rotterdam, New York, BACIFI and Viennale.
What is El Futuro? A provocative, 16mm experimental recreation of a party that is more than just a party. According to James Hansen, in Filmmaker Magazine:
Luis Lopez Carrasco’s stunning debut feature El Futuro pinpoints a wilful political ignorance in Spain following the socialist victory of 1982, through one of the most wild parties ever caught on film. Set to outrageously loud underground Spanish punk music from the ’80s and ’90s… El Futuro represents a young generation ready to party until the end of time without ever recognising the precarious social and economic climate that had been percolating all around them from the beginning.
With art-house gems El Futuro and Aliens, director Luis López Carrasco kills many myths around the Movida Madrilena and the Spanish political transition to democracy. To this day, we are told that the Spanish Democracy was a model of political transition from an authoritarian regime to a peaceful democratic system. We were also told that the Movida was an expression of artistic freedom, a wave of creativity that shook Madrid and Spain after the death of Franco.
With El Futuro and Aliens, Carrasco throws a direct challenge to the Spanish Socialist Party and the consensus of La Movida as a great explosion of creativity, à la the myth of Cool Britannia and New Labour. We need to revisit the narratives of the ’80s and debunk some of its myths. But Luis López Carrasco films go way beyond the political background of his films. A firm advocate of the importance of the film form, El Futuro is filmed in daring 16mm while Aliens is filmed in Mini DV and VHS, to add to the experience of the decade (and, according to López Carrasco, in an attempt to use the domestic format in this personal dialogue about memory).
Already considered a masterwork and one of the fundamental Spanish films in modern history by the main film critic magazine Caiman Cuadernos de Cine, Carrasco (and El Futuro) have been featured as one of the hopes of new Spanish Cinema by Cahiers du Cinema and Sight and Sound. In an interview for Mubi, Carrasco said:
Summarizing the 80s in Spain as a big flat party full of young people, where the music beating is so loud that you are practically unable to listen to any sort of dialogue, was a very conscious decision. (…) When leisure is way too extended it acquires almost like an added layer of thickness, and so the duration applied to each shot eliminated gradually that festive feeling. Why are they still in there? How long have they been inside? What are they dancing to if they seem to no longer hear the music?
To what music is Spain dancing still today?
What is Aliens? According to José Sarmiento Hinojosa, for Desistfilm:
Aliens is an invaluable portrait and magnificent documentary about Tesa Arranz, leader of The Zombies, one of the most characteristic figures of the eighties in Madrid. Aliens is a Martian VHS poem about this decade, its figures (Almodóvar, Zulueta, Berlanga, nobody escapes the memory of Tesa) and this necessity of López Carrasco’s to construct new narratives from Spain’s contemporary history. It’s a fantastic effort to rescue the fundamental discourses of a generation that is “now in power, trying to manipulate and control any dissenting discourse”. This articulation of the personal portrait and the testimony of the social array, is what makes the Spanish filmmaker so special. A VHS treat in 2017.
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