UFO alert in Spanish cinema

Back in 2008, when the internet was still a field and it was so good, on the forums there was enthusiastically talking about a short film about a boy who was waiting Attack of the Nebula 5 robots in the field of shitting the dogs next to his house. This was the only enclave on the planet that the aliens had planned to respect.

Since then nothing has happened, we are still here, nor has it crossed our minds to move from the site. More than ten years later we are still lounging in front of this screen while Chema García Ibarra, director of that cult piece from Elche, has been persevering in a singular filmography (Protoparticles, Mystery, The disco glows, Golden legend, Uranes) that now, without leaving the town, is dressed as a feature film and in it finds the safe-conduct to access the circuit of commercial rooms.

Contemporary cinema and yet tangible given that it is filmed on 16mm celluloid, Holy spirit it is, like all the titles of its author, a film bent on the miracle. A story attentive to the stars who does not realize that the stars have looked back at him.

We want to believe

In his argument two main ideas are intertwined. The first, which speaks of a potential reality, is embodied by a pilgrim group of members of the UFO-Levante UFO association, aware of a cosmic secret that concerns us all, a coming. The obvious reality, on the other hand, also has to do with an absence and is encrypted in the disappearance of a girl, specifically a twin of another who now, obediently, is acting as a model for the search.

Chema García embroiders those two frames with sad comedy thread and some stitch of thriller, although only a few notions, a vague memory of what a thriller since their interests go in other directions. And so, he wanders the free zone where genres fall apart, uses the known codes to lead to his failure and makes his way to a wasteland of the imagination where the spectator, touched by stupor, will be left to his fate. But this is only a saying.

Holy spirit, despite his efforts in that poached science fiction whose touchstone was the Code 7 by Nacho Vigalondo, is a film that does not rest, vibrant in each of its images, planes that are painstaking love vignettes to signify Spain, the fantasy and desire of Spain, that colossal longing that gravitates on the painful lives of all Spaniards, here represented by Spaniards from Elche, a bizarre place but as suitable as any other to reach the universal not only from the local but from the domestic, in slippers.

Everything we expected

Everyone blessing a movie is an indication of its low interest, but Holy spirit, which opens after a festival tour that brings with it the bread for today of hyperbole and dithyramb, is free of suspicion, since in the best of cases it will conquer the great minority affects that cinema indie of wild gestures that is somewhat irritating for the common of the spectators. A small and sophisticated cinema, never to be confused with cinema underground, in recent times represented in the works of directors such as Ainhoa ​​Rodríguez (Brave flash), Julián Génisson (who has on the doorstep Inmotep) or Sosa Ion (Androids dream), Ibarra's comrade who is employed here as an executive producer.

Holy spirit it shares that generational timbre but it comes from further afield, from further back, from Daniel Clowes' stunned mid-shot characters and from the atmospheric narratives that David Lynch sanctified, although mentioning David Lynch at this point seems to mean nothing. Ibarra, in any case, relies on an autochthonous choir where talents as stimulating as those of Leonor Díaz, Beatriz Lobo, Marcelo Criminal or Lorena Iglesias appear to make a very written film, made of sediment, which begins to curdle in the generous direction of art and ends up raising the yeast in his zero-grade, highly conscientious performances. It happens this way because none of its protagonists is a professional actor or tries to appear so in front of the camera, and in that decision oblique performances are achieved, without aftertaste, new declamations of lashing and an impact close to reverie. Something similar to what the reverse side of the cinema must be. They are characters who hinder the empathy that is often requested from films in their nature of lies, but who operate for the benefit of a poetic whole.

Despite being so premeditated in the unexpected, Holy spirit it is free from cynicism and is forged in the heart of a longing that ultimately defines us. It is more ethnographic than traditional cinema, which observes the human being from the outside, from the ends of the galaxy, and from him comes to understand a single concept, compassion.

In Elche, meanwhile, as in the whole of Spain, the most enigmatic signals come from inside our heads, from inside the house, from television, without going any further, or from this same screen on which we now read. "This is all the same", says at one point the protagonist of the film trying to orient himself in a cemetery.


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