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84 min. Galician.

In a village on the Galician coast, life has slowed to a crawl. All that moves is the light over the bay, the swell around the shore, the fronds of weed swirled along by the river, the animals that now wander unheeded through the dark houses. Their inhabitants stand motionless, each trapped in a different stance, on the mudflats, in the streets, by the dam, next to the mysterious rock whose form is that of the wave that sank Rubio’s boat and pulled the fisherman under, thus ushering in the curse. They speak in voiceover and their accounts overlap, their words revolve more around their own predicament than telling a linear story, they keep talking of Rubio, of past warnings, of the red moon, the beast, the sea. Even if everything still looks like today, they say a thousand years have already passed. But movement is coming, three witches have come down from the mountain, soggy footsteps can be heard on the soundtrack, pressure builds behind the dam and scales shimmer in the depths. As the old map which opens the film suggests, magical tales of treacherous waters, drowned sailors and monsters from the deep stretch far back into history but how do such tales end in the present day? (jl)

Lois Patiño was born in Vigo, Spain in 1983. He studied psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid. Patiño trained as a filmmaker at the Centro Universitario de Artes (TAI) in Madrid, as well as the New York Film Academy. He completed his film studies with a master’s degree in Creative Documentary at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

The way to the space of death

LÚA VERMELLA delves into the Galicia of the sea, encompassing its physical and imaginary dimensions, where reality and legend merge and where the sea and death intertwine with all their mythical, evocative power. We thus go deeper into the universe portrayed in my previous film, COSTA DA MORTE.
In LÚA VERMELLA, the true story of Rubio de Camelle, a diver who rescued the bodies of more than forty shipwrecked people lost at sea, incorporates the beings that inhabit the Galician fantastic imaginary. A mythical universe that follows in the wake of artists such as the painter Urbano Lugrís or the writer Álvaro Cunqueiro, who penned a sentence that had a strong influence on the film: “The ocean is an animal that breathes twice a day.”
We move across a limbo in the film: between life and death, between the imaginary and the real. And it is that frontier aspect that I was interested in retrieving from the archetypal figures of the witch or the Holy Company. Figures that dwell between both universes: they communicate with the dead or show the way to the space of death.
‘Here, the dead don’t leave: they stay with us,’ some people told us in the interviews we conducted to prepare the film. A prominent aspect of Galician identity, as was thoroughly analysed by the anthropologist Lisón Tolosana in the 1960s, has been this strong coexistence between the living and the dead. Which was not always experienced with fear but, very often, with the feeling of what is already assumed as natural.
I feel that the idea of a beyond arises from two essential needs: to keep the dead person close to you (for them not to disappear) and to shape the uncertainty after death (for there to be something). Legends and beliefs emerge to fill those voids, those uncertain spaces generated by death. From this perspective of the genealogy of legends as narratives that seek to give an answer to the unexplainable, we have created a story around two mysterious events: the cosmic phenomenon of the red moon and the disappearance of the bodies of shipwrecked people in this sea-cemetery.
A fundamental aspect on which I wanted to reflect is the process of mourning, which cannot be brought to a close as a result of the disappearance of the body, or which may be extended owing to the presence of the phantom. The importance of the existence of a farewell, one last communication with the dead person, to close circles. In LÚA VERMELLA, we witness a village’s process of mourning for the disappearance of a local at sea.
In the village where our story unfolds, everybody is paralysed, lost deep in their own minds. Just as in Millet’s painting “The Angelus”, which was an important reference for the film, the people are not artificially still, their immobility seems to result from a moment of devotion and meditation or even mourning. It is around this introspective stillness that we have articulated the language of the film. A narrative form that allows us to explore the malleable nature of time, moving from its flow in nature to a temporary suspension caused by introspection, or to the mythical (timeless) time of legends. (Lois Patiño)

Production Felipe Lage Coro. Production company Zeitun Films (A Coruña, Spain). Written and directed by Lois Patiño. Cinematography Lois Patiño. Editing Pablo Gil Rituerto, Óscar de Gispert, Lois Patiño. Sound design Juan Carlos Blancas. Sound Aníbal Menchaca. Production design Jaione Camborda. Costumes Judith Adataberna. Assistant director Adrián Orr. Production manager Nati Juncal Portas. Executive producer Felipe Lage Coro. Co-producer Iván Patiño. Co-production Amanita Studios. With Ana Marra (Meiga), Carmen Martínez (Meiga), Pilar Rodlos (Meiga), Rubio de Camelle (Rubio).

World sales Lights On


2012: Montaña en sombra / Mountain in Shadow (14 min.), Na vibración / Into Vibration (12 min.). 2013: Costa da Morte / Coast of Death (83 min.). 2015: Noite sem distância / Night Without Distance (23 min.) 2017: Fajr (12 min.).

Photo: © Zeitun Films 2020

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