Glasgow and Edinburgh will host a retrospective dedicated to the last 40 years of Basque cinema from late April to June.
The selected films reflect the vision of three generations of Basque filmmakers.
The programme #ScotlandGoesBasque, supported by the Etxepare Basque Institute in conjunction with other Basque institutions, got underway this past January. The initiative is designed to promote Basque culture in Scotland, and to build bridges between artists, cultural stakeholders and events, forging bonds through culture, art and language. The programme kicked off with music, with several Basque groups performing at the Glasgow Celtic Connections world music festival.
Now it’s time for Etxepare to shine a light on Basque culture through cinema. From 25 April until the end of June, within the framework of the CinemaAttic platform and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), a retrospective will focus on the evolution of Basque cinema from the 1980s to the present. The films will be screened at historic cinemas and art centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh (the Glasgow Film Theatre, Center of Contemporary Arts and Lauriston in Edinburgh), accompanied by parallel activities. The retrospective will also travel to other cities in the UK, including London, Manchester and Leeds.
Different genres were considered in the film selection process. The idea was to present the Scottish public with the broadest possible cultural palette of Basque cinema. The retrospective includes classic feature-length fiction films, more recent releases, documentaries, shorts, experimental animation, and more. The selected films are meant to provide a multi-dimensional portrait of Basque culture and society today and how this reality has been reflected in film over the years. In addition to the screenings, various parallel events will also take place, including talks with directors, master classes, workshops, a ‘pintxos and films crawl’, among others.
The retrospective will feature work by three generations of Basque directors over the course of four decades. Feature films by the first generation of filmmakers in the retrospective are Tasio and Obaba, both by Montxo Armendariz, and El espíritu de la colmena ((The Spirit of the Beehive) by Víctor Erice. The second generation is represented by Vacas (Cows) by Julio Medem; El día de la bestia (The Day of the Beast) by Álex de la Iglesia; and No habrá paz para los malvados (No Rest for the Wicked) by Enrique Urbizu. These are some of the most significant Basque films of the period, films that marked a milestone in the history of Basque cinema. The third generation of directors, often associated with a new ‘golden age’ of Basque filmmaking, will feature Dantza (Dance) by Telmo Esnal; Loreak (Flowers) by Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga; Mudar la piel (The Spy Within) by Ana Schulz and Cristóbal Fernández; and Oreina by Koldo Almandoz.
Scotland will also screen the best Basque short films selected by Kimuak in 2018. Since its creation, Kimuak has been promoting new filmmakers and is today the breeding ground for a new generation of directors. The Basque Short Film Night will feature shorts like 592 metroz goiti (Above 592 metres) by Maddi Barber; Ama (Mother) by Josu Martinez; Ancora Lucciole (Still Fireflies) by Maria Elorza; Kafenio Kastello by Miguel Angel Jimenez; No me despertéis (Don’t Wake Me Up) by Sara Fantova; Zain (Waiting) by Pello Gutierrez; and Espedizio handia (The Great Expedition) by Iban del Campo.
Animated films, with a focus on female filmmakers, will also have a special place in this Basque cinema showcase. As part of the “Great Basque Women Animators” programme in Glasgow, the public is invited to join Begoña Vicario and Izibene Oñederra in a workshop and a series of films that have in some way influenced their careers.
Literature, gastronomy and dance in Basque cinema
What better way to bring Basque culture and tradition to the Scottish public than though cinema and Basque gastronomy and traditional dance are no exception. The Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow will screen the documentary Bihar dok 13, followed by a Basque dinner. A Basque Pintxos and Films Crawl will also take place in Glasgow in Leith Walk pubs. The film series in Edinburgh will open with Dantza, preceded by a traditional Basque dance performance. Basque art and cinema will also be highlighted with the film Obaba.
Guests. Director Ana Schulz will join Begoña Vicario and Izibene Oñederra for talks and masterclasses held at the Edinburgh College of Art. Maddi Barber will also be in the UK to present her short film 592 metroz goiti at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds and the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester.
The cultural platform CinemaAttic and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, two of Scotland’s leading film institutions, will open their arms and stages to Basque cinema. The main purpose of CinemaAttic is to raise the profile of Ibero-American cinema in Scotland and the UK in general. In terms of Basque films, last year CinemaAttic screened several shorts from the Kimuak programme, and Asier Altuna’s Amama.
In this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), the festival will also host a gathering of local and Basque film industry professionals.
Scotland Goes Basque
After this programme, which will run until June, the Scotland Goes Basque initiative will promote the work of Basque artists and creative talent in Scotland. August will be the month of performing arts and literature. The Fringe festival will host performances by several Basque companies and Basque literature will be a special guest at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Once the amazing summer festival season is over, autumn will usher in the academic events: in October a seminar will be held at the University of Edinburgh entitled “Limited or unlimited space? Minority languages and media in the digital context”, organized by the University and the Etxepare Basque Institute.