Los Angeles Filmforum presents Juan Sebastián Bollaín: A Most Wanted Idea of Utopia, Program 1 & 2 and Live Virtual Q&A

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Two programs of newly subtitled works never seen in the US - Streaming free June 4-19 with live Q&A June 12

Program 1: https://watch.eventive.org/juansebastianbollain/play/6284860ba681b800539... (Includes admission to program 2 as well!)

Register in advance for the conversation with Guest Curator Elena Duque on June 12 at 1pm PST, free: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAodemsrTojHdDZTIUXb1em2bBSABa...

Self-taught filmmaker and architect, Juan Sebastián Bollaín has been making films since the 1960s, mixing his two study disciplines along the years in a series of films that reinvent the urbanism of the most traditional and religious city in Spain: Sevilla, Andalusia, the heart of the Spanish clichés, Holy Week and flamenco. At the end of the 1970s, using super 8 and various tricks and montage strategies, he made a series of imaginative visions of the city, delirious utopias full of humor, surrealist and poignant images, and lucid ideas that shake the core of the conceptions about the city. A cult figure of Spanish Cinema whose work has been recently digitized and restored by the Andalusian Cinematheque, a most wanted idea of utopia in these dystopian and strange times.

Born in Madrid in 1945 and transplanted to Seville when he was 9 years old, Bollaín took his first steps as a self-taught filmmaker at the age of 14, when he was given an 8mm camera. As he himself recalls, he started “inventing cinema” in the very act of filming, which led him to create his own visual language and procedures. Since then, cinema has been a big part of his life, from his psychoanalytical fiction films and the documentaries he made in his youth to the fiction features he made for television. At the same time, he developed a career as an architect and urban planner. Bollaín is a prolific author, whose work we wish to honor here with a selection of his films. We have curated a program featuring a series of films, mostly made in the ‘70s and which represent a milestone in the history of Spanish cinema. In them, Bollaín’s eagerness to experiment comes together with his unparalleled creative vision. 


Sevilla tuvo que ser (Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 1)
Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1979, 10 min. U.S. premiere!
Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 1

This foundational tetralogy shot in super 8 depicts a delirious and amazing Sevilla, in a subversive response to the living conditions in the city at the end of the ‘70s. Using various styles, such as mockumentary, avant garde and surrealist fiction and also more impressionistic visions, a compendium of what the city is and could be. Sevilla tuvo que ser is a “found” reportage of the American television telling to the world the progressive vision of Seville citizens: from the broadcast of the porn week in the billboards of the city to the monuments devoted to the “café con leche” (coffee with milk) and to the glass of beer.


Sevilla en tres niveles (Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 2)
Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1979, 9 min.
Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 2
U.S. premiere!

Sevilla en tres niveles is also a fake reportage that depicts the illusory division in the city in three levels: the outsiders and criminals live in peace in the roofs of the city, the workers and capitalism slaves, stressed and fast, live at the street level. In the underground, there is a Seville of the past, with people of ancient times still living there.


Sevilla rota (Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 3)
Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1979, 12 min.
Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 3
U.S. premiere!

Sevilla rota is a surrealist new wave-like fiction in which marvelous montages take us to a place where you can see the sea at turning a corner, or in which the cars circulate in the sidewalks and people are drinking in the middle of the street.


La ciudad en el recuerdo (Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 4)
Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1979, 14 min.
Tetralogy “Dreaming of Seville” part 4
U.S. premiere!

Finally, La ciudad es el recuerdo begins as a “symphony of the city”, showing its rhythms and light in poetic time lapses, ending with a tough critique on marketing and capitalism taking over the city. 


Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 2003, 28 min. 
U.S. premiere!

Twenty years later, Bollaín comes back from an Ugandan satellite to revise the Utopian Seville he described in his tetralogy. In this new city everything can happen: turning the Seville Cathedral in an olympic pool, or living in a city in which citizens participate actively in making it the funniest and most liveable place in the world.


Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1978, 40 min.
U.S. Premiere

La Alameda is an emblematic place of Seville, a popular neighborhood degraded but at the same time full of life. In the face of an urban project that planned to destroy the neighborhood to build new apartments (the menace of gentrification before the term was a common place), Bollaín received a commission from the Architecture School to document La Alameda before the disaster (that finally never happened). In an intelligent montage of sound and image, Bollaín reproduces the life of the neighborhood, its history and idiosyncrasy, mixing it with some bold cinematic movements: depicting the making of the films, and imagining and showing metaphorical performances that talk with eloquence of the problems of the city, and criticizes the predatory politics over the lives of the citizens.


Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1979, 30 min.
U.S. Premiere!

After the commission related to La Alameda, Bollaín received a new commission to revise yet another urban plan through cinema. This time, he deals with the expansion of Cádiz, an Andalusian coastal city near Seville. The city is located in a very thin isthmus, making it difficult to respond to the growth of the population because of the lack of terrain. This time he uses a sort of science fiction approach: in the year 4.000, when the city of Cádiz has already disappeared a long time ago, a group of archeologists try to reconstruct what happened to the city using “old” documents, trying to grasp what lead the city to the disaster. 


Saturday, June 4, 2022 (All day) to Sunday, June 19, 2022 (All day)



Saturday, June 4, 2022 (All day) to Sunday, June 19, 2022 (All day)