Altered States Competition
3 questions for Samuel Delgado and Helena Girón
The directors of They Carry Death talk in detail about their film, featured in the Altered States Competition
You have said that They Carry Death is a film about mourning but, at the same time, you use it to mark a critical positioning toward the era of the Conquest and the present. Was the merging of these ideas always part of the genesis of the project?
As you said, in the film deals with the question of mourning, the fear of discovering what we are going to transform into when that important bond disappears, or the vertigo that one feels after the death of our loved ones. But, something that was also always present, since the genesis of the project, was the idea of generating a possible history of the disinherited, of those that we never knew, and of the invisible ideas and memories that were buried under the weight of history. In this sense, the film encompasses a pain that is also related to the absence of those bodies, of those worlds and imaginaries that the colonial and patriarchal order sought to eliminate.
What was the idea of intervening with materials already filmed such as the film Alba de América (1951, Juan de Orduña) and including it in this feature film?
In the film, we seek to include different historical representations that could problematize that seamless vision that is so often imposed from the past. To do so, we worked with materials of different natures, such as the images that you named from Alba de América. That film was a super production under Franco that sought to extol old myths and "glories" of the past, such as the figure of Columbus or the Conquest. As we were looking for some way to show the violence that underlies these images, it occurred to us that we could alter and deviate their original meaning, turning the courageous conquerors into the threat from which the characters in our film flee. On the other hand, while seeking to generate more mysterious images that were integrated into the narrative without giving evidence of their archival status, we decided to modify their original color with a bluish tint that would refer us to the day-for-night effect of classic cinema.
How was the process of thinking about the past from the contemporary point of view? How was the work in terms of the material quality and from the script itself?
With the film, we never wanted to generate a historicist story, but rather to make it possible to meet the specters of the past and the mystery of their possible existence. We like the idea of evoking an era, rather than representing or describing it. In the film, we seek to create tension and open a gap between times, between stories, myths and imaginaries. On the one hand, there is the time represented in the film, the year 1492, of which we practically only have the references offered from the position of power that wrote history. On the other, the time lived in the present, in which the values and aspirations that we have as a society today inevitably interfere. Investigating this tension through cinema has always seemed fruitful to us when it comes to unveiling problems and wounds that are still open or latent.