“Ventana” / through the eyes of…

“Ventana” seen through the eyes of Alejo Franzetti, member of the preselection team of Berlinale Shorts.

UMBRAL

Light, sound, air. A window is not only an immediate connection with the outside world, but also an instrument of physical and psychological health that humans have learned to incorporate in their buildings. A threshold between the public and the private space.

In his handmade, homemade film, Edgar Jorge Baralt uses a window not to access another space, but another time. The starting point may feel, at first sight, trivial: an anonymous photograph in his childhood home which could be considered as just an “insignificant” photo of a window.

But Edgar Jorge Baralt seems to know two things: firstly, that there’s nothing more sincere and true than an “insignificant” photograph, taken randomly and instantaneously, without too much deliberation or thought. Secondly, that in a photograph, movement is frozen, but not time.

A photograph is never just an image. We are always invited to see the invisible; its reminiscences and traces. Even with an “insignificant” photo, memories arise.

The filmmaker doesn’t know who took this picture of his childhood window, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is a memory around that window:

“… an eight-year-old boy feels the cold air on his face as his dad listens to the record player. He imagines with a child’s unbroken attention what his life as an adult would be like”.

Light, sound, air. In “Ventana” (“Window”), the (feeling of a) family home is revisited with the unbroken attention of a child. The film digs into the past (a photograph) to look into the future (the film’s present).

But the past can never be repeated. Our childhood homes will always remain an abstraction that is impossible to reproduce. It’s the same with a photograph: you can reproduce its image, but not the act of taking it. What lasts, what remains, is an abstract feeling: colours and forms. Edgar Jorge Baralt may go in search of that abstract feeling when he uses (digital) screens featuring contrasting colours.

At its end, the film tries to reach (a photograph of) the sky, going deeper and closer. 2020 forced us to remain at home and not to travel in space. But who said it is not possible to travel in time?

Alejo Franzetti is an Argentinean director based in Berlin. He is both a member of the selection committees of Berlinale Shorts and Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg.

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