Traje de Luces | Suit of Lights [18:03 | 16mm and HD | Canada | 2018]

Traje de Luces | Suit of Lights is an expressive documentary composed with footage of a Spanish bullfight, that iconic imagery of highly decorated masculinity and violence masked as nationalism. The footage was drawn from Jacques Madvo Collection material filmed in Spain between 1976-1978. Madvo shot this footage at a time when Spain began its difficult and flawed transition to democracy in the years following dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975. “To make peace is to forget. To reconcile it is necessary that memory be faulty and limited,” stated Susan Sontag in Regarding the Pain of Others. The film consists of 16mm footage that has been decayed in soil, contact-printed and laboriously re-photographed and these abstractions of light and darkness ground the inquiry surrounding why citizens accept the harm done to others in their name.

Best Experimental Film, Alucine 2018
Local Heroes Award, Alucine 2018

Previous and Upcoming Screenings:
International Film Festival Talca Chile (April 2018), Hamburg International Short Film Festival (June 2018), Arkipel (August 2018), Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (August 2018), Defy Film Festival (Nashville August 2018), WNDX (September 2018), Alucine (October, 2018), Aesthetica (York, UK, November 2018), Madrid Human Rights Film Festival (December 2018) London Short Film Festival (January 2019)

Additional Notes
Suit of Lights is an experimental film that probes the commonalities of the Franco and Pinochet regimes. The film also addresses themes of inequality, human rights, ecology, animal rights, colonialism and the roots of fascism. I buried 16mm film of a bullfight and spectators. Because film emulsion is made with gelatin, an animal product, microbes in the soil consume the images leaving their time-marks. I then rephotographed the decayed film many times using contact and optical-printing techniques and hand-processed those results. The footage was then transferred and composited and assembled digitally. The tension between the graphic violence in the opening sequence and the materiality of the film imagery calls into question at what point we turn away or refuse to see the results of humans’ presumed mastery over our fellow citizens, other-than-human-species and the land.

The film is in English and Spanish with texts from Susan Sontag, Alice Miller and a poem by Claudio Duran.
Original music and sound by Edgardo Moreno.

Produced with the assistance of LIFT and the Canada Council for the Arts