In O Courel in Galicia, Spain, the dead dwell amongst the living. The film opens with images of a deserted mountainous region and picturesque villages over which a female voice begins her narration. But from the outset, her documentary commentary should not be trusted.
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Suddenly, images of people’s faces loom into extreme close-up as the inquisitive camera begins to observe their everyday rituals. This is a community for whom tradition is shrouded in myths and legends about wolves, the undead and missing women – and All Saints’ Day is by no means the only time that these phenomena put in an appearance. But the film also shows us a more down-to-earth side of life in O Courel, as we learn the proper way to pluck a chicken, work with slate slabs, collect chestnuts to sell, or how to hunt and skin a wild boar.
In her composed and beautifully observed film, director Diana Toucedo deliberately sets up red herrings in order to blur the border between real village life and invented stories, religion and superstition, true histories and dramatised ones.
The dead are amongst the living, and some of the living have suddenly disappeared.
Sometimes the invisible things that surround us invisibly become more powerful than what is visible. Those elements
that emanate from nature, from the earth or that are carried along by the wind can generate sensations and even memories
of presences, of past times, of scents, emotions… that we might not see, but we certainly feel. In this film I have wanted to investigate our great capacity to feel what we cannot capture through our eyes, but is only visible through our other senses.
Alba (Alba Arias, 13 years old) holds a pure and intuitive sensibility, as well as an eager and curious look. She approaches
the world that surrounds her, looking for what she does not understand and is not revealed in an evident way. This search
also happens in a very special place, the green and isolated mountains of O Courel, a mountainous region in the interior
of Galicia (Spain). Its people coexist with the direct assault of nature, the harsh winter, depopulation and oblivion. However,
they also bear a powerful weapon: their conviction that death is not the end but a transition.
This way of understanding life and death as intertwined elements in space and time, fascinated me from the first moment that I understood that the reality of O Courel was also more hidden than visible. O Courel is an iceberg, as the local poet Uxío Novoneyra used to say. The cinematic challenge of revealing something that is hidden but fights to remain present, seemed to me a necessary process to reclaim and regain the power of our senses.
Director: Diana Taucedo
Music: Sergio Moure De Oteyza
Cinematography: Lara Vilanova
Producer: Lasoga Films
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