Looking for an island
Masterclass of Óskar Alegría
Conducted by Giacomo Caldarelli
Duration : 90’
The author will speak in Spanish with a translation in Italian in the room
“But the most beautiful of all islands is the one which has not been found …” and so starts Guido Gozzano’s poem “The most beautiful”, a poet who lived between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
What does it mean dedicating ourselves to the search for an island? What does it mean to devote to an island as a utopia? An island as art, as the art of memory, as the art of nostalgia. An island as truth or as an illusion of the cinema of the real. An island that exists, if it exists, only on the pirates’ cards or perhaps even in Óskar Alegría’s cinema which is itself the island that appears – forcing us to leave- and the island that disappears – leaving us alone to the pleasure or pain of the search.
From 2013 to 2016, Oskar Alegria had been film and artistic director of the Punto de Vista International Film Festival in Pampelune in Spain. His first feature film La casa Emak Bakia (2012) narrating the story of the search for a house on the Basque coast where Man Ray shot his film Emak Bakia. A building which was believed to have disappeared and whose name, meaning “leave me alone ” in Basque language, was the motto of the American artist’s career. His second feature film Zumiriki (2019) relates the experience of the director himself, isolated in the forest of his childhood for four months, in a log cabin in front of an island which disappeared due to the construction of a dam. Zumiriki had its international preview in the Horizons section of the 76th Venice Film Festival, it was translated into 15 languages and awarded as best documentary work in the New Waves section at the Seville European Film Festival and as best film at the PerSo – Perugia Social Film Festival 2019. Oskar Alegria is also the author of the photographic project Las Ciudades Visibles, of the essay Oteiza, notas al margen, on the work of Jorge Oteiza, editor of book Time (with texts by John Berger, Víctor Erice, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Georges Didi-Huberman and Nicole Brenez) and is currently preparing an entomology and philology project on the 127 different names of butterflies in the Basque language.
Ma bella più di tutte l’Isola Non-Trovata:
quella che il Re di Spagna s’ebbe da suo
cugino il Re di Portogallo con ﬁrma sugellata
e bulla del Ponteﬁce in gotico latino.
L’Infante fece vela pel regno favoloso,
vide le fortunate: Iunonia, Gorgo, Hera
e il Mare di Sargasso e il Mare Tenebroso
quell’isola cercando… Ma l’isola non c’era.
Invano le galee panciute a vele tonde,
le caravelle invano armarono la prora:
con pace del Ponteﬁce l’isola si nasconde,
e Portogallo e Spagna la cercano tuttora.
L’isola esiste. Appare talora di lontano
tra Teneriffe e Palma, soffusa di mistero:
«…l’Isola Non-Trovata!» Il buon Canarïano
dal Picco alto di Teyde l’addita al forestiero.
La segnano le carte antiche dei corsari.
…Hifola da – trovarﬁ? …Hifola pellegrina?…
È l’isola fatata che scivola sui mari;
talora i naviganti la vedono vicina…
Radono con le prore quella beata riva:
tra ﬁori mai veduti svettano palme somme,
odora la divina foresta spessa e viva,
lacrima il cardamomo, trasudano le gomme…
S’annuncia col profumo, come una cortigiana,
l’Isola Non-Trovata… Ma, se il pilota avanza,
rapida si dilegua come parvenza vana,
si tinge dell’azzurro color di lontananza…
Guido Gozzano (1883 – 1916)