di José Luis Guerín


  di Rossana Mendes FONSECA




Guest, a collection of words and images from around the world by José Luis Guerín, in black and white cinematography - which refers to the imagetic expression of the archive, of the testimony, of memory. And this sequence of tales told by many different voices is about memories, testimonies, of a history of minorities, whose voices don't participate in the History of the winners, but which reverberate as subversive and resistant discourses towards a political repression and ideology. And thus, it's not in vain that the first still is a freeze frame shot of a blank open notebook and a pen. This first image introduces the main subject within the film, inviting the Other as a guest to make an inscription in this archive of unwritten tales, to create fictions from real lives through words with the shape of images and sounds. Then again, the blank open notebook doesn't necessarily mean the blank slate of Locke's philosophy of no innate knowledge, but the overture of a surface of inscription of unexpected encounters and affections. A complementary shot that reenforces this idea is the one where a glass is standing on Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" book, as a rough magnifying lens, which makes the image blurry as a sense of unpredictability of a trip to a foreign planet. 

Guerín chooses a close approach to the guest, to the face of the speech, providing the viewer with close-ups, not the ones performed by Ingmar Bergman which destitute the persona of its self, neither the mere representation of a personal opinion or an informational fact, but the faces whose singularities reveal a political gesture, an affection which was originated by the dialogic speech which Guerín intends to provoke. That's exactly how the film through its cinematography reaches its sense, the indiscernible in terms of documentary and fiction, a non-discussion to which Chantal Akerman refers as a statement against the idolization or adoration of the image, the image massively distributed by the media and the social communication or the images of spectacle, an alienation of the political and the social, instead of its problematization, of its profanation as an act of restituting the image to a common use. Because the inferred fiction in documentary is not to tell a fact, but a truth which stands for the indiscernible about the imaginary and the real in the image of cinema.

José Luis Guerín impersonates in this way the man with the movie camera, that despite being in a world about to be homogeneized with its transitive, nomadic, masses of people, found a way to offer his camera to the voice of the Other, not only as a cinematic experience of recording the expressions and the rhythms of these strange bodies, but as a political and social gesture, in which the director's instantaneous decisions to record coincide with a lack of  decision by himself, a decision mastered by the conscious), an absence of thought, but the thought proper to the artform, a though of affections.