Under the title Butterfly Hunters or Documentary Writing. Marta Andreu is in front of masked men, shaken as her small workshop progresses meandering into digressions, littered with quotes, like that of María Zambrano, “The path is never capricious, it depends on the starting point and what you want to do, or to save.”
For someone like Marta who does not conceive the documentary as a cinematographic genre “but as a creative gesture, a way of relating to the world”, you can only copy the essential, what hits you,” or words from my dear John Berger.
For those who put themselves before the writing of the documentary script as if it were a blank page, Marta advises them to move away, to influence the importance of subtraction. “The writing of the documentary is not a process of adding, but of extraction. It is something that has to do with what Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel trapped in the stone, sculpting to free himself.”
From the subtraction to the discovery, there are already two distances between the writing of the documentary script and the fiction one, and although when presenting a project, “social writing” that Marta Andreu aptly called, the first one it’s modified, but let us not forget, “Imagination as a form of knowledge,” adding, “I’m interested in creative writing, as a form of work process. Learn to write to get to the heart of the film.”
She continued, “It’s not about being at the service of reality but about shaping matter to create something new. Write as who questions. It’s about being touched. Transformation is a magic word and there is no cinema without it.” Touched! The sorceress Andreu was transforming us to remind us that “we don’t document reality but rather our encounter with it.”
She reached the edge of post-truth, “in those moments of suspicion, of fabrication, in which the separation between the imagination and the thing is greater than ever. It would never occur to me to defend that observation and fabrication is documentary cinema, no, but observation is a tool to know nature. And there is something that has to do with memory…”
“You have to learn to listen, to understand the limits and then ask yourself why, why me, why did this or that hit me?” We find fragility. In the documentary, it is not actors who come before the camera, they decide to say yes for very broad reasons, but in their fragility, “in their own, is where we can film the other. Learn to understand fragility, find the right distance, that need to tell the other.” What is it that is touching me!
She told us that in her obsession with the origin of movies years ago, she discovered that “everything begins with a loss.” Yet, “The important thing is the meeting of your gaze with that film. In the socialization of the film, we’ll have to say it, but this is not journalism, it is something else. Documentary cinema doesn’t film the ideas, it films the idea.”
And she reached her third point, since Marta with no notes to follow the outline of the script of her talk is orderly, there’s a line in her speech, full of branches, breezes and wind stops. Mafalda and the great Quino served to insist that “the most important thing is not identification, because in documentary cinema there is no such thing as a search for the deep water of the film.” That third “layer” is the “timeless.” “Find the deep meaning. There is the essence.” Alice in front of the mirror. “What am I exploring?”
The talk went on and on to the rhythm of jazz. “Beauty is creating order out of chaos because that way we can feel that something generous can emerge.”