Wednesday, April 09, 2014

María y yo. 

The Spanish call it a documental. I'm ashamed to say I wouldn't have gone anywhere near it as it looked (heaven forfend) worthy but my Spanish teacher (a misleading description as that suggests I'm actually learning) spotted it and suggested a class outing which turned into me and she.

It formed a part of the rather clumsily titled Ibero-American documentary festival. A niche within a niche of a remit. But seemingly, the Spanish-speaking world is rich with documentaries so where better to celebrate them than Edinburgh?

The film was lovely. A window into the lives of a father and his autistic daughter. I know very little about autism but I know there is a spectrum - though I'm sure even that is simplistic - of symptoms and this girl displayed more pronounced symptoms than some for sure. 

The story was elevated from a "simple" exploration of fitting life around the daughter to something more visually rich still by the convenient fact that this father was (is) an illustrator. He draws for a living. He had charted the life of María in pictures in a giant collection of notebooks since birth and continued into her teenage years to entertain her with his drawings. And some of these are animated and woven considerately and captivatingly throughout the film.

As it turned out, the film was inspired by a book written by the dad (and now winging its way to me via the wonders of amazon) about her and they. It may perhaps be more of a graphic novel; I'll soon see. So the documentary version may not be such a leap of inspired creativity. But nonetheless, it's beautifully done. 

And the whole adventure was rendered more captivating still when the film showing was followed with a Skype onto the baby Filmhouse 3 screen conversation with the director, Félix Fernández de Castro who was hanging out at home in Barcelona. Turned out he made ads for a living (and I fancied I heard a disapproving murmur from the assembled audience), wanted to make something longer, seeked and sought inspiration for years, bumped into the book, loved its frank and honest and 'man this is hard but I love her' tone and took this as his start. 

I hope I have a similarly inspired and inspiring bump one day. 


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