Thursday, 3 February 2011

Actresses in the cities

I understand that the recent run in London of The Portuguese Nun (2009) was so successful the ICA is considering rebooking director Eugène Green's paean to Lisbon. The film unavoidably brings to mind Catalan José Luis Guerín's wondrous In the City of Sylvia (2007), set in Strasbourg. The latter movie is near dialogue-free, as opposed to its later counterpart's precisely delivered script, but both revel in their settings, and their beautiful stars: Leonor Baldaque (pictured) and Pilar López de Ayala, respectively.

It's reflexive filmmaking, especially marked by the apparently stiff performances Green evinces in his actors. Guerín's conception of cinema is evoked through what passes for action: his central character returns to the city where he met the beautiful Sylvie six years before; he sits in the café of the conservatoire, where she used to study; the lens follows his gaze as he sketches women in the café. Thinking he's spotted his prey he follows her on a chase around the city: Guérin doesn't simply play with our expectations, this is filmmaking as stalking, the camera a protagonist provoking what we're seeing.


  1. It sounds great I'm crazy to see.
    Congratulations for yor blog.
    Best Wishes from Brazil

  2. Thank you Violeta, I hope you get a chance to see it.