Family photographs, memories, landscapes and scenes from the everyday life constitute the portrait of an attitude and a way of life. The portrait of a generation where marriage was “until death do us apart”, and a time of misery and oppression marked by th... read more
Completed On: 17 Dec, 2004
Duration: 1 hr 23 min 5 sec
Genres: Docu-Feature, Documentary
Director: Carlos Ruiz Carmona
Submitted By: Carlos Carmona
Film TypeDocu-Feature, Documentary
Runtime1 hours 23 minutes 5 seconds
Completion Date17 Dec, 2004
Production Budget45000 EUR
Country of OriginPortugal
Country of FilmingSpain
Shooting Format16 mm
Spanish/Portuguese filmmaker who has worked as producer and director in England and Portugal since 1995. He has produced several shorts and documentaries for television over the years. He currently lives in Porto (Portugal) where he set up his own production company, Fronteira Filmes, mostly dedicated to the production of documentaries.
In 1999 Carlos Ruiz directed and produced his first feature-length film: To anyone who can hear me. This film was premiered at the International Film Festival of Taormina, Italy and participated in festivals such as Edinburgh, Madrid, Sienna, Croatia, Roma, and Figueira da Foz. In 1999 To anyone who can hear me won two major awards at the International Film Festival of Figueira da Foz, Portugal: Grand Prix for best Feature Fiction Film and International Journalists Jury Prize and an Honorable Mention at the International Film Festival of Famalicâo, Portugal. In 2001 Carlos Ruiz produced Shadows, which was entered in competitions at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (Netherlands) in January 2002. Shadows had its debut at Columbia Tri-Star Preview Theatre in London, England, 2001.
In 2004 Carlos Ruiz directs and produces his second feature film: Portrait, an award wining feature documentary which has participated in many International Film Festivals such as Taiwan, Ankara, Rome, Madrid, Mexico, Cadiz, Helsinski, DocLisboa and Tui-PlayDoc. In 2005 Portrait won Best Spanish Feature Film at the International Documentary Film Festival of Madrid, Spain. In the same year the film was awarded an Honorable Distinction at the International Documentary Film Festival of Tui, Pontevedra, Spain. In 2009 and 2010 Portrait was selected and distributed internationally by Miguel Cervantes’ Institute. The program included multiple long-term exhibitions in Mexico, Moscow, Shanghai, Stockholm, Beijing, Rome and Casablanca. In 2013 was selected and exhibited worldwide by Eurochannel in Europe, Asia and America.
CRU/RAW represents his last feature length documentary work. This film took almost a decade to be produced. The narrative includes content shot on institutions such as the Tribunal, the Hospital, the University, the Police, and the Prison.
Honour Mention, Avanca International Film Festival, July 2018
Best Documentary, Bragacine Independent Film Festival, Bracara Augusta Award, 2010 Portugal
Minhoto Cinema Best Film, Filminho Minho International Film Festival, 2010 Portugal
Honourable Mention, Tui International Documentary Film Festival, 2006 Pontevedra, Spain
Best Spanish Feature City of Madrid Award, Madrid International Documentary Film Festival, 2005 Spain
Best Director, Festival Internacional Independente de Braga – Braga Cine,2005 Portugal
Best Feature film, Figueira da Foz International Film Festival, 1999 Portugal
International Press Award, Figueira da Foz International Film Festival, 1999 Portugal
Honour Mention, Famalicão International Video and Film Festival, 2001 Portugal
Portrait arises, on the one hand, from my l need to better understand the generation of the Spanish Civil War that my parents belong to. In this sense, it represents an attempt to understand their life experience, their way of seeing the world, their way of reasoning .... In this sense it also means to comprehend how their personal vision of life, reflects and conditions mine. For this reason I believe
that somehow the idea of the documentary emerges as an exploratory study of my past and my roots.
On the other hand, this film to me it represents a psychosocial and emotional analysis of being a man and a woman in the dictatorship, in a time of oppression and resignation, a time of poverty and silence. A portrait of a generation whose life choices have been severely limited by their humble social status and lack of education. This represents the reality of my parents and the parents of many people in Spain after the Spanish Civil War. From this perspective, Portrait tries to represent the point of view of the life experience of this generation through the intimate and honest portrait of my family.
For this reason I decide to explore and analyse this subject from the personal perspective of ordinary, simple, unknown beings or of what Father refers too as being: "mediocre, one of many
thousands". From this prism, Portrait is also born of a need to give voice to this oppressed, forgotten and exploited generation. To provide the opportunity and the necessary space so that
they can squeeze, confess, declare, without restrictions, whatever they want or need to express.
It is for this reason, that when some public in festivals have asked me why did I made this film with my parents and not with other people? I answer why was I to make the film with another family
but with mine? For me, in this specific case, given the subject and content, it makes no sense to seek other people to carry out this reflection and generational analysis. That would mean fleeing
from the primary source of inspiration that motivates the documentary in the first place.
In the beginning of the film my mother says "I've never been happy”. This statement serves as a dramatic element that introduces the character, my mother and her way of seeing the world, her
life. The narrative as it moves forward it will explore, debate, question and analyse the emotional and psychological content of that statement: "I have never been happy".
What does it mean "I've never been happy"? Is it possible for a human being to never be happy? My mother in the documentary illustrates that she was happy on several occasions: in her
childhood, with her grandparents, in her adolescence and youth with her friends, with my birth and with my father.
However, my mother, when I invite her to meditate on her life, concludes that in general she does not consider that she was happy and blames my father in great measure for his unhappiness. She
considers that my father did not make her happy as she wanted, imagined or idealised. The narrative also presents other reasons: my mother had no "parents" to educate her, she lived
until she was eight years old with her grandparents and then she went to live and work for families with a privileged social and economic status. Until her adolescence she worked tirelessly twelve
hours a day only in exchange for food and a bed to sleep. This is why my mother states in the film that she feels that she did not have a childhood, that she did not enjoy her youth. The fact is that
she did not have time to play when she was a child, or to study and learn during her adolescence or to grow emotionally in a natural way. Like many others, it was the product of the exploitation and
injustice that emerges from being poor, illiterate and also a woman. This sociocultural violence characterised the lives of many separated families, disintegrated by the misery and oppression
resulting from the Spanish Civil War. This life experience provoked an indescribable frustration.
As I said, Portrait represents an intimate and honest psychosocial and emotional analysis of the life experience of this humble generation. I present this portrait through the personal chronicle of my parents' life, my life, and using their own words addressed to me directly. The narrative aims to create a oneiric and circular time space where the present and the past merge into one. A space
for self-reflection where my parents and I can discuss, remember and think about our lives. And through this triangular meditation represent and give voice to that generation that results from the
Spanish Civil War.
For this reason I decided to shoot the film in black and white in order to compress and merge the present and the past in a single space and time. In this sense, black and white aims to provide the
same visual quality to the image represented by the past and the present.The idea is that all the images have the same aesthetic value to evoke a visual fusion of the present with the past.
For this reason the photographs appear illuminated by a warm light in movement that tries to animate them, give them life, and in some way transport them to the present. Also for this reason
my parents appear frequently in the narrative in fixed positions, without moving and framed in compositions also motionless as if they were "live photographs". This compositional strategy tries
to evoke the framing that characterises family photos and that represents the past. The objective is precisely (and reinforced by black and white as an element that unifies the plasticity of the image), to fuse and approximate the past to the present and vice versa: to bring photographs from the past to the present and to transport images from the present to the past. On
the other hand, the construction of the narrative synthesises and concludes "physically" this temporal union by presenting sequences of images and sounds referring to the past and the
present, together, as if both contents belonged to the same space and time. This fusion aims to create a common, motionless and timeless space of meditation and debate to analyse and portray
from a psychosocial and emotional perspective this humble generation product of the Spanish Civil War.