THE FIRST DOCUMENTARY GESTURE

FILM PORTRAITS OR THE FIRST DOCUMENTARY GESTURE

by Marta Andreu

The clay modeller’s daughter found the way to withstand the imminent absence of her beloved. While he lay his head delicately upon a wall, briefly before setting off to war, Kora dips her finger in paint to trace his profile’s shadow, projected on the wall by candlelight. This was in the 7th or 8th century B.C., and according to Pliny the Elder, this gesture would make her the first ever painter in History.

Thus, it seems to be that portraits came first, and that first drive to try to preserve time in the form of a face would also create the documentary gaze.

From fragment to fragment of contemporary documentaries, we will trace a path, an out-loud reflection to define the concept of film portraits. In order to do so, we will establish connections between cinema and other cultural and artistic manifestations, experiences, ideas, anecdotes and speculations which are essential in identifying the portrait as that foundational gesture in documentary creation.

Friday 24th, 10 a.m., Sala 2

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