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emak bakia oskar alegria   emak bakia!

As well as the house and film called “Emak Bakia, several other artists have used this Basque expression in their works. In my film, as well as looking for the house Emak Bakia, I’ve looked for projects who could be brothers. Bernardo Atxaga and Ruper Ordorika, for instance, along with a few other friends, founded the publishing and record company “Emak bakia baita” in the 80’s to bring out their own avant-garde work. In Florence I came across a trend-making clothes designer called “Emak-Bakia”. And, finally, I invited Madrid group Emak Bakia’s Abel Hernandez to visit the shoot and make the music for the film.


“The film Emak Bakia baita / The Search for Emak Bakia starts with the search for a house which was important for Man Ray. The US artist used to spend his holidays on the Basque coast and that’s where he set his first two avant-garde films in 1926. The search wasn’t easy. Man Ray didn’t leave many clues to find the house, we only get to see two narrow views of it: a window which shows two strange columns and a mysterious door-knocker. Man Ray called the film after the house: Emak Bakia, which is one way of saying “Leave me alone” (literally, “Give me peace”) in Basque. The meaning, sound and mystery of those two words fascinated him. For Man Ray, the name Emak Bakia confirmed to him that his cinema was going to be libertarian, free from interferences and without laws.


“With old films, there are two ways to recover them. On the one hand, chemical recovery, which is what the Pompidou Centre did with all of Man Ray’s films 15 years ago; on the other hand, another, less material type of recovery work, which I’ve tried using: trying to recover the spirit with which the film was made. To use the first method, you need nitrate. For the second, leave you head in the hands of chance. In all of Man Ray’s films, he only once wrote a title in capital letters: LE HASARD. There must have been a reason for that”.


“This is an estate agent film, shot at the speed of a foot movie. Estate agent, because it’s about looking for a house and the rhythm for that is a step-bystep rhythm. You go slowly along the routes you have to take because youdon’t want to miss any treasures along the way. Anyone at a road movie rhythm would go right in front of us. And so, on foot, there were magical discoveries. The film is made up of eureka moments that chance gave us, some of them flesh and blood. There are interviews with the people we met on the way, and those are the only times when the film stands still, because these people sit down to be interviewed. I like the fact that it’s a film in which you only suspect that the chairs are actually there. And the best thing is discovering that one of the chairs becomes a throne when some
of the most surprising people we come across on our way sits down on it: a ninety-two year old Rumanian princess, who also is a ping-pong champion, a lover of Italian poetry, Nabokov’s cousin and a biologist who’s written a thesis about ants’ sense of smell”.

the road

“As with all adventures which are worth while, the most important thing isn’t the destiny, it’s the road. At the end of the day, finding the house is no more than an excuse to come across some of chance’s other presents: for instance, a clowns’ graveyard and a pigsty nightmare. The film suggests we flip around: It tries to put Tintin and Asterix into the same vignette. On the one hand, it’s a report, fine journalism, an adventure in plus-fours; but, at the same time, it’s a hymn to the common people, a place to bury the wild stares in the world that resist things and, in that, there’s a reference to the feathered helmet. All drawn with obstacles, deviated, full of leaps and turns in the road, as if it were the steps of a free animal. It flees from straight lines, from ways taken by groups, because they’re dull and foreseeable. I think that’s the best way to get to new, unknown places, following a dragonfly’s doubt-filled flight”.