̈Film has to be thought of as a contemporary stage of painting ̈  Víctor Erice


Portraying Dutch & Spanish Masters on the canvas in motion

To complement Rembrandt-Velázquez: Dutch & Spanish Masters exhibition, Sin Fin Cinema & Amsterdam Spanish Film Festival in collaboration with Rijksmuseum presents GOING BACK TO THE GOLDEN AGE. Portraying Spanish masters on the canvas in motion,  a series of screenings and talks about the films taking place at  Eye Filmmuseum, Instituto Cervantes Utrecht, OBA Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum.

The programme will bring the audience back to the Golden Age, a flourishing artistic and literary period in Spain. Showing not only its luster and glaze but also – in the second half of the 17th Century – how a global power went into decline and almost collapsed.

Some of the films will immerse the public directly in the paintings, literature, aesthetics and historical context of that period. Therefore, the main section of the film programme will explore the constant search for a dialogue between cinema and painting.

Lighting dialogues. Cinema and painting with Víctor Erice

Since its inception, Cinema has been seeking connections to other arts such as literature, theatre, and of course painting, a medium that cinema has used as a reference to capture light, composition and scenography, and in great measure to represent the reality in the most objective way possible.

̈Cinema has to be thought of as a contemporary stage of painting ̈

̈Cinema began at the end of the 16th Century with the works of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens and Velázquez, where all the elements of film such as movement and even sound were already present ̈

From Sergei Eisenstein to Peter Greenaway, from André Bazin to Víctor Erice, many filmmakers have theorised about the relationship between these two mediums.

In Lighting dialogues, we will dive into the relationship between cinema and painting, through Víctor Erice’s filmography. Exploring both the formal and poetic points of view around light and composition, the use of silence combined with minimum movement evokes the tableau vivant of a Baroque painting.

El espíritu de la colmena

In El espíritu de la colmena, for instance, the use of light and the chromatic palette with ochre and yellowish tones resemble formal features of Baroque painting. Referring to the film El Sur, writer Tony Rayns claimed “Erice creates his film as a canvas, conjuring painterly images of slow dissolves and shafts of light that match Caravaggio in their power to animate a scene of stillness, or freeze one of mad movement”.

Recognised as the best film of the nineties by 60 film curators, archivists and programmers from all over the world. El sol del membrillo reflects on the artistic experience of the painter, accompanying him during the process of capturing light and reality as perceived by the artist. A work in progress for both the painter and the director, the result of which is unknown for both of them until the camera captures the last brushstrokes and takes the place of the painter.

About Víctor Erice

Víctor Erice, Spain’s National Prize-winner of Cinematography in 1993, entered the Spanish School of Cinema in 1961. With a complete education in visual arts, Erice has not only worked as a film director but also as a screenwriter, film critic, and lately he has been involved in teaching activities through different workshops on Cinema and Painting. In these workshops and lectures he explores the relationship that these two mediums have shared since its origin. Yet it is from a poetic point of view through the use of pictorial references that – according to the Spanish director – ̈painting will help cinema to free itself from the literary and theatrical artifice inherited from its origin ̈.

Thanks to our partner Air Europa, Víctor Erice will be in Amsterdam to present his three feature films in this programme and to give a Master Class on Cinema and Painting, the latter directly related to El sol del membrillo at the Rijksmuseum, where he will speak about the relationships between cinema and painting and the specific relation to this film and the painter Antonio López.

Painting layers: Alatriste and El perro del hortelano

In this section we aim to convey the historical context of this period with two films that are based on literary works.

The film Alatriste, based on a contemporary series of novels by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, is framed in an artistic period, the Golden Age, with pictorial and literary references that are difficult not to focus on. The director of the film, Agustín Díaz Yanes, was willing to capture the reality of that time and in his attempt to faithfully represent the 17th Century, he took paintings by Velázquez as a reference in order to cinematographically reproduce the colours of that time, and convey both the splendour and decadence of imperial Spain with the same naturalism and realism as the baroque painters

El perro del hortelano is a film based on the theatrical play of the same name by Lope de Vega, one of the most prominent Spanish writers of the Golden Age together with Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca and Francisco de Quevedo, among others. This literary play is marked by the comical approach of its author, who deals with the emotional complications of class conflict with cynicism and humour.

El perro del hortelano