Once in a while you feel fortunate, you’ve made a personal discovery! I’m not talking about a record this time; I’m talking –at least for the moment– about a film. Coming across a great film, without expecting such an impact, is a comforting experience. You enter to the cinema –without even knowing exactly what you’re going to see (it’s usually my case, I try to know if a film can appeal me with very few signs, without knowing much about it)–, you take a seat and you just let the film flow.
I’ve told how good the film is, but I haven’t given its name. The film is Eldorado XXI by the young Portuguese film director Salomé Lamas.
The film explains in a very precise and sensitive way the life of gold searchers in La Rinconada, the highest settle on the planet, in Los Andes, Perú. The content of the film –you can also call it documentary, if you want– is as special as its form, divided in two clear parts. The first one concentrates on giving the spectator first-hand information of the place reality. You see for a long while a fix plan of La Compuerta, a key access to the mining pits, and at the same time you hear a collage of local radio cuts telling events and incidents of the daily life in La Rinconada. The second part depicts the previously given information with dynamic footage of enclaves and activities of the place. So clear and so radical!
Here it’s not the place to give further explanations and interpretations of the film. If you look for more information you’ll find for sure very interesting articles, as well as a couple of filmed conversations with Salomé Lamas –the film director– herself. This is what I did after seeing the film because I wanted to know more! I wanted to know who was behind this demanding but rewarding film.
Looking for more information about the film I found that Salomé Lamas wasn’t actually a film director in the usual manner, she was an artist using cinema as one of her ways of exploration. And I also found that the film Eldorado XXI was part of a broader project, which also included a video installation, called Mount Ananea (5853). And even better, as a result of this installation, an LP with the same name had been issued by Fundação Serralves, in Porto. As you may imagine, the fact that a film that touched me so much, one of my favourite films in 2016, had a related LP was a great coincidence.
After contacting the Fundação Serralves, Discos Paradiso could acquire some copies of the record: Mount Ananea (8853). The LP is an unusual soundtrack of the film and the installation. Like the film, the record is divided into two clear parts, one on each side. The liner notes of the record give a clear explanation of what we can expect here:
Mount Ananea (5853) (2015) is an installation produced from materials collected during the research in September / October 2014 for the feature film El Dorado (2015), directed by Salomé Lamas and produced by O Som e a Fúria (PT) in co-production with Shellac-Sud (FR).
Side A 20’27’’- track Y arriba quemando el sol by Bruno Moreira & Salomé Lamas is an eclectic soundscape collection; a patchwork composition of ambient sound, interviews, direct sounds, radio news, folkloric tracks, etc.
Side B 22’47’’- track Untitled by Norberto Lobo & João Lobo is a carte blanche invitation resulting from Lobo’s enthusiasm with Andean guitar folk music and comprises a melodic drone approach to La Rinconada y Cerro Lunar’s landscape.
Both sides of the record are studies to, variations for, drafts, dreamed dialogues, free-approaches to La Rinconada’s reality.
The record, as the film, is a mesmeric trip difficult to explain, so better here listen than talk! I can only say that Norberto Lobo, here hand in hand with João Lobo, has never disappointed me, without exception!
You can say a piece of Art is important to you when you’re writing about it nearly a year after getting to know it. And here it’s the case, in my opinion a powerful project from all points of view. Give it a chance, it won’t disappoint you!
Text by Ignasi Molina i Montasell. Double check by Narcís Molina i Montasell.
Post-date: in Discos Paradiso there are a couple of copies of this great record. Contact them if you want to have it.