Ronda de Atocha, on the corner with plaza del Emperador Carlos V
Screenings can be accessed with drinks and snacks
Once the film is being screened, viewers are not allowed to gain access or leave
All films will be screened in digital format
This year sees the Museo Reina Sofía devote its summer cinema series to ways of appropriating, resisting and imagining the city from the neighbourhood understood as a community with class identity and a shared common history. Taking this main premise as its point of departure, the programme is organised into thematic weeks, in which every Friday and Saturday different films converse. The opening session features live music, and conversations with many of the participating film-makers and presentations by theorists and specialists will take place at the different screenings.
In twentieth-century literature, film and urbanism, the city was built as powerful abstract machinery, a mass-scale mechanical artefact in which any form of experience was multiple, anonymous and ephemeral. Thus, it presents itself as a place from which to get lost in the crowd, to enjoy transient feelings and to celebrate a distinctly individual identity. Mention of the city symphony and the metropolis film genre conceived by the modernist movement suffices to verify the predominance of this model of experience, with the antithesis to this paradigm occurring in none other than neighbourhoods, and with everything they represent socially, culturally and spatially. The series focuses on the neighbourhood as a place from which to rethink the city: neighbourhood relations opposite big-city anonymity; communities’ imaginative self-management opposite major urban-planning; the sediment of stories joined to a territory opposite fleeting stimuli; everyday spontaneity opposite contemporary acceleration. This century has often been defined as the century of cities, but can we tweak and turn this assertion around by considering it as the “century of neighbourhoods”?
Neighbourhood Lives gets under way with a special session foregrounding the origins of films centred on Madrid and featuring live music. After this opening, the first week focuses on the housing struggle through El inquilino (José Antonio Nieves Conde, 1957) and La grieta (Irene Yagüe and Alberto Ortiz, 2017), two films more than 50 years apart that address an ongoing issue. The second week spotlights neighbourhood solidarity and how this creates a more social city, illustrated by La estrategia del caracol (Sergio Cabrera, 1993) and Citizen Jane. Battle for the City (Matt Tyrnauer, 2016). Anachronism as a symbol of urban identity and the remnants of an idiosyncratic past that refuses to disappear take centre stage in the third week with Porto da minha infância (Manoel de Oliveira, 2011), The London Nobody Knows (Norman Cohen, 1969) and Souvenirs de Madrid (Jacques Duron, 2019). The poetics of margins or the affirmation of life amid urban decline is the theme of the fourth week, courtesy of two contemporary films with a neorealist imprint: La bocca del lupo (Pietro Marcello, 2009) and Los chicos del puerto (Alberto Morais, 2013). What would a hyper-managed city, regulated to leave no stone unturned by a totalitarian bureaucracy, look like? Two films put forward this dystopian misfortune: the historical sci-fi film Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) and La substància (Lluís Galter, 2016), a documentary on the construction of a new Cadaqués on the Chinese coast. The last sessions explore partying as a celebration of difference via two films on late 1980s New York: Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) and Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1991).
Anonymous. Madrid hacia 1910 (Madrid Around 1910)
Spain, 1910, b/w, silent, 5’
Adelardo Fernández Arias. Asesinato y entierro de Don José Canalejas (The Murder and Burial of Don José Canalejas)
Spain, 1912, b/w, silent, 7’
Benito Perojo. Peladilla va al football (Peladilla Goes to the Football)
Spain, 1914, b/w, silent, 9’
Fernando Delgado. Viva Madrid que es mi pueblo (Hail Madrid! My Town)
Spain, 1928, b/w, silent, 2’ (fragment)
Luis Araquistáin. ¿Qué es España? (What Is Spain?)
Spain, 1929, b/w, silent, 6’ (fragment)
José Buchs. Una extraña aventura de Luis Candelas (The Strange Adventure of Luis Candelas)
Spain, 1926, b/w, silent, 5’ (fragment)
Eusebio Fernández Ardavín. Rosa de Madrid (Rosa from Madrid)
Spain, 1927, b/w, silent, 7’ (fragment)
Benito Perojo. Clara y Peladilla van a los toros (Clara and Peladilla Go to the Bullfight)
Spain, 1915, b/w, silent, 8’
Francisco Elías. El misterio de la Puerta del Sol (The Mystery of Puerta del Sol)
Spain, 1929, b/w, with sound, 3’ (fragment)
This opening session zooms in on the origins of films centred around Madrid through the eyes of different film-makers as it aims to recreate the collective imagery of an authentic, working-class Madrid in the early decades of the 20th century. Moreover, the session features live music from Racalmuto, a jazz ensemble who on this occasion will fuse sax, clarinet, double bass and piano.
Spain, 1957, b/w, original version in Spanish, 91’. Restored version, screened with two endings
With a presentation by Luis Deltell, head lecturer of the History of Spanish Cinema and Film Direction at Madrid’s Complutense University (UCM), and author of the book Madrid en el cine de la década de los cincuenta (2016).
The film El inquilino (The Tenant) is a mordant comedy of manners on the search for social housing in Madrid’s Lavapiés neighbourhood in the 1950s, depicting the bureaucratic labyrinth that stands in the way of the working class accessing new official offers of social housing. The film’s premiere occurred in parallel with the opening of Spain’s Ministry of Housing, and it was in this context that its sharp and public critique became an obstacle to the propaganda of the Franco regime, which exerted influence on its scant distribution and censored different scenes, including a forced alternative ending. On this occasion, both endings are screened: the film in its entirety with the original ending filmed by the director and, as an epilogue, the censored ending screened at the time of release.
Spain, 2017, colour, original version in Spanish and English with Spanish and English subtitles, 76’
With a presentation and post-screening conversation with the film-makers.
La grieta (The Divide), winner of the Jury and Audience Award at the 2018 DocumentaMadrid festival, shows the events surrounding the eviction of a poverty-stricken family after the sale of their state-subsidised flat to a vulture fund. The film thus examines the implacable violence of real estate capital and the protection offered by social movements, while sensitively and empathetically depicting the family and residents in the Madrid neighbourhood of Villaverde.
Colombia, 1993, colour, original version in Spanish, 116’
With a presentation and post-screening conversation with the film-maker.
One of the landmark films of Latin American cinema in recent decades, La estrategia del caracol (The Strategy of the Snail) shows an eccentric and creative community opposing the demolition of their house in Bogotá. The film explores the idea of one of the residents, an old Spanish anarchist, on the home being simply the place where the community resides. Therefore, the tenants are ready to move the house — rooms and belongings included — to the neighbouring hills. Underlying the film is the theory that the best way to challenge authority is through the most unpredictable imagination.
USA, 2016, colour, original version in English with Spanish subtitles, 90’
With a presentation by Susana Jiménez Carmona, a musician and philosopher with a PhD in Humanities and Culture, and coordinator, since 2010, of Jane’s Walk in Madrid, planned collective walking routes that look to recover the neighbourhood fabric and history of the city. Her published works include El paseo de Jane. Tejiendo redes a pie de calle (with Ana Useros, 2016) and Cómo hacer un paseo de Jane (2017).
Two polar views of the city, two ways of understanding society at loggerheads. On one side, Robert Moses (1888–1981), a high-ranking public official for urbanism over four decades in New York and ideologist of mass urban planning based on high-density work and residential spaces connected by large-scale communication channels. On the other side, Jane Jacobs (1916–2006), a journalist, essayist and advocate of unpredictable and intermingled street life as an example of a liveable and sustainable city. Between the two the battle for New York via the Greenwich Village neighbourhood — the omnipotent Robert Moses and his project to demolish the heart of Manhattan to build an expressway and resident Jane Jacobs, who would convince the Village residents, and the world while she was at it, that cities must be spaces in which to live.
Portugal, 2011, colour, original version in Portuguese with Spanish subtitles, 90’
With a presentation by João Fernandes, deputy director of the Museo Reina Sofía and a distinguished specialist in the films of Manoel de Oliveira and the city of Porto, where he was director of the Serralves Foundation.
Porto seen through the now-centenarian eyes of Manoel de Oliveira. Porto da minha infância (Porto of My Childhood) is one of the most alluring and revealing films from the poetics of the great Portuguese film-maker. Documentary, fiction and filmed theatre are interwoven in a narrative that traces the footprints of the film-maker’s childhood and adolescence in the Portuguese city, a city of opera, literary gatherings and bourgeois coteries and also a city of sexual awakening and the seeds of Oliveira’s artistic calling in episodes evoked as the ruins of a bygone age, the traces of which remain in the city but will never return.
Norman Cohen. The London Nobody Knows
UK, 1967, colour, original version in English with Spanish subtitles, 45’
Jacques Duron. Souvenirs de Madrid
France and Spain, 2019, colour, original version in Spanish, 56’
With a presentation and post-screening conversation with director Jacques Duron and Sergio C. Fanjul, a journalist, poet and author of La ciudad infinita (2019), an essay on neighbourhoods and urbanism in Madrid.
What remains of cities when the uniform time of contemporary culture fades? This double session on London and Madrid centres on the anachronisms that linger and show cities’ identities under the sheen of cutting-edge and innovation. The London Nobody Knows is an absorbing documentary which has been recently recovered and features the esteemed actor James Mason acting as a guide around the London of proletariat culture, gradually erased by the skyscrapers of the City. Jacques Duron, meanwhile, sets forth an anthropological film on 1990s Madrid, in which the city’s central neighbourhoods are a mass of working class dwellers and ritualistic-like local celebrations.
Italy, 2009, colour, original version in Italian with Spanish subtitles, 68’
A longshoreman and a prostitute cling to their relationship in an environment of disintegration. The decline and dismantlement of the port of Genova evokes the memories and images of the city’s industrial past mixed with an ebbing memory of the working class. Part documentary, part fiction, Pietro Marcello rubs shoulders with the great neorealist tradition, recounting, with the permission of Pier Paolo Pasolini, love in the midst of collapse.
Spain, 2013, colour, original version in Spanish, 75’
With a presentation and post-screening conversation with the film-maker and Javier H. Estrada, film critic and a programmer at the Seville Film Festival and Filmadrid.
The journey of three children to fulfil a family promise spreads out an atlas around the spaces of marginalisation which form Nazaret, an old fisherman’s quarter in Valencia. The motorway of relentless traffic, the wasteland between factories and the abandoned architecture facing the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes and new luxury apartments sketch the path to neglect. Against these contrasts is the loyalty of the three kids in the hinterland, silhouetted against a commitment made. Morais, one of the most ethical voices in Spain’s new cinema, follows the path trodden by directors such as Roberto Rossellini and Abbas Kiarostami to define restrained and humanistic poetics.
France, 1965, b/w, original version in French with Spanish subtitles, 100’
A science-fiction classic which, with no special effects, stands firm in its conception of genre as a metaphor to question the present. Detective Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) is sent to the country of Alphaville, a technocracy governed by super-computer Alpha 60. “The essence of the so-called capitalist word or the communist world… simply the natural ambition of any organisation to plan all its actions,” the computer pronounces. The film descends into a society governed by extreme rationality and absolute logic, in which any emotion or feeling is erased from the language.
Spain, 2016, colour, original version in Catalan and Mandarin with Spanish subtitles, 86’
With a presentation and post-screening conversation with the film-maker and Concha Mateos, a lecturer of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication in the Media and Sociology Department at Rey Juan Carlos University.
An unnerving documentary on replica and desire among China’s new affluent class and tourist-driven Europe. A group of Chinese architects and promoters study the history and architecture of Cadaqués with the aim of reproducing this Mediterranean enclave as a holiday town on the Chinese coast. The film thus portrays the inhabitants’ aspirations of this mock urban planning at the same time as it visits the historic town on the Costa Brava, previously an inspiration for artists like Salvador Dalí and now invaded by global tourism. Which one is the fake experience?
USA, 1989, colour, original version in English with Spanish subtitles, 120’
With the presentation of Ana Bibang, former member of Zona Bruta, one of the first labels specialized in Rap and Hip-Hop music produced in Spain, and legal consultant today.
This screening marks the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s film, the second in his six-film series, including Crooklyn (1994) and Red Hook Summer (2012), on New York’s Brooklyn neighbourhood. Lee, also one of the main actors in the film, breaks down racist stereotypes and analyses the frustration, fear and lack of visibility of the African-American community as a source of racial unrest. An accurate dissection of the black community’s and other minorities’ language, gestures, culture and music combines appropriations of the history of cinema with a profound knowledge of neighbourhood life to create an essential film.
USA, 1991, colour, original version in English with Spanish subtitles, 76’
With a presentation by artists Helena Cabello and Ana Carceller, who, since the mid-1990s, have worked with queer identity and the discursive constructions of gender, their work recognised internationally and exhibited in prominent museums and art centres.
Paris is Burning focuses on dance as an element of partying and resistance for the Hispanic, black and homosexual community in mid-1980s New York. In other words, communities facing discrimination over race and sexual orientation. Voguing involves appropriating the predominant gestures and poses from the white fashion and music world by a racialised and queer minority, with the new dance adapted on the basis of deconstructing gender and social class roles. A huge influence on theorists like Judith Butler, the film explores how its leading characters (Pepper LaBeija, Angie Xtravaganza and Dorian Corey) take on the strategies that construct stardom from the audiovisual industry to proclaim a dissident identity.