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Produced by María del Puy Alvarado at Malvalanda (“Madre,” “The Mole Agent”) and distributed in Spain by José Maria nd Miguel Morales’ Wanda Vision, “Walls Can Talk” will world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival as an RTVE Gala.
“‘Walls Can Talk’ began as a proposal of producer María del Puy Alvarado, from an initial idea by José Morillas, which coincided with my fascination with the evolution of palaeolithic paintings in Spain’s Asturias and Cantabria and Chauvet in France,” said Saura.
“We thought that there were quite a few documentaries on palaeolithic art but an opportunity to find a different way into the subject,” he added.
The doc feature sees Saura conduct his own inquest into the origins of art, directing and for once starring in a film. In it, he visits the prehistoric archeological site of Spain’s Atapuerca and also masterpieces of paleolithic art – in Spain’s Altamira and El Castillo caves, for instance. He also asks modern (Miquel Barceló) and graffiti artists and urban creators (Suso 33, Zeta, Musa71) about what drives them to paint.
Also taking in the extraordinary art at France’s Chauvet Cave – “painting’s great masterpiece,” as it is described in the film – “Walls Can Talk” (“Las paredes hablan”) suggests that some of the origins of art have not varied in the last 36,500 years, as the film compares and contrasts cave and modern wall art.
Capturing marvels of cave art and some great achievements of graffiti artists, such as Suso 33’s huge whole-of-wall painting in Barcelona, “Walls Can Talk” builds as an intellectual thriller in which Spain’s Juan Luis Arsuaga, an expert in human evolution, sets a general context for the emergence of art. Other experts or practitioners, notably Pedro Saura, who painted the Altamira Cave replica, and artist Miquel Barceló, make memorable and highly-informed observations about art ancient and modern.
“Walls Can Talk” begins with a fragment from Jorge Luis Borges about a man who dedicates his whole life to drawing the world. “A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”
It segues to a self-sketch by Carlos Saura in which he is looking. There is a sneaking suspicion or admission that the Spanish director, now 90, after near 70 years as a photographer and film director, wants to understand not just the origin of art but as well the impulse to reproduce the world that explains his own life.
“Every new work by master Carlos Saura is in itself an event. In this case, his curiosity takes him into an in-depth exploration of humanity’s urge to paint in walls, covering from early cave painting to modern graffiti, in a search of a cause,” said Latido head Antonio Saura.
“Impeccable production value delivered by very talented producer Maria del Puy Alvarado makes this documentary a totally enriching experience and at Latido we are really proud to represent it internationally,” he added.
“It’s been a real pleasure, and also a dream, to work with Carlos Saura, He’s a great, great director but also a true Renaissance artist, combining his work as a director with other artistic expression,” Alvarado added.
“Together we have made an unforgettable and unrepeatable journey surrounded by an absolutely committed team. ‘Walls Can Talk’ is a very special project which reflects Saura’s vision of artistic creation with walls as the canvas.”