Loving cult film and idiosyncratic musical portrait of summer festivities in the Catalan village of Crespià, with early performances by the well-known faces from the work of Serra (Honor de cavalleria and El cant dels ocells).
Crespià, the Film not the Village is a portrait of a Catalan village in the summer. It oscillates between documentary and fiction, like Fellini’s Roma. The film is an artificial but nonetheless realistic re-creation of life in the village in the 1980s.
Albert Serra (1975, Banyoles): ‘I meant to make a work of art, but I was unable to fulfil my ambition; I ended up making an ’auteur’ film. The idea was born four or five years ago. I happened to be spending a Sunday afternoon in Madremanya, in the Catalan countryside. There was a popular fete in the village. This is where I saw most of my personal mythology synthesised. I immediately realised that this was my personal Hairspray or Cry Baby. I only had to add a few details to complement the reality I saw in Madremanya.
Is it fiction or a documentary? At first it was fiction. That explains the artificiality of the interpretation and musical sketches. I hate documentaries. They are the perfect excuse for people with no imagination. But as the film is a portrayal of a world that has almost vanished, it could be considered a ‘document’. This annoys me a bit, because I consider myself an artist. I believe the film has at least three or four unforgettable moments of beauty, which justify the rest.
Is it a musical? More or less. It does have good music in it, and some wonderful ‘sardanes’ by Manel Saderra. And live music of the ‘fete.’ —International Film Festival Rotterdam
Albert Serra was born in Banyoles, Catalunya, in 1975. A Hispanic Philology and Comparative Literature major from the Universidad of Barcelona, his first feature was Crespià, the Film not the Village (2002). He has written, produced and directed Honour of the Knights (Quixotic) (2006), selected by Cahiers du Cinéma as one of the top ten pictures of 2007. He has also written and directed Bird Song, which was premiered at Cannes 2008 and is now in this Festival’s competition. He’s currently working on a new film, and writing a play commissioned by the Teatre Lliure of Barcelona. —Mardelplatafilmfest.com