miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2014

The Terrific Madman in Medem's Tierra

The madman is an archetypical cultural character. We can find his everlasting presence in literature, and from the 20th century on, in cinema as well. Madmen incarnate the fluidity between the absurd/fantastic/poetic/mystic worlds and the logical/utilitarian/lawful ones. Julio Medem as a filmmaker has a constant concern over the conflicts of subjective imaginative realities and so, uses freely this madman archetype in his film Tierra (1996) to “create a cosmic fable of metaphysics and mundanity” (Smith, 146).

In Tierra Medem present a “madman” narrative in which a hyper imaginative man with split personality, Ángel (Carmelo Gómez), arrives at a nameless Euskadi town, a “spatial and temporal interzone” (148), to eradicate a beetle plague. After “falling to earth”, Ángel -who describes himself as a half-dead, half-alive man having a mystic experience with his own angel- craves for company, everyday simplicity and domestic bliss. He is searching to placate his cosmic anxieties and in Medem’s words: “accept human smallness, to hold tight to the earth”. A once mental patient, Ángel find partial solace in his fumigation job, but he’s soon in crisis when meeting two women that attract different aspects of his desire. Both, Angela (Emma Suarez) and Mari (Silke), ground and humanize him, but in contrasting ways: Angela by openly sharing her domestic life and Mari by feeding his carnal urges and escapist impulses.

The title “Tierra”, implies many things within the film, from the “red” wide landscape; the void beetle-full soil (representing the economic and moral instability of the town); Ángel’s earthy needs (to have a home; to fuck); to a possible mental space where he can resolve his duplicity. Paul Julian Smith reads the film title/theme as part of the post-nationalist debate, as an “allegory of a Basque nationalism brought down to earth” (152). Smith elaborates that Medem shows an abstract Basque region where the Earth-House-Family is dissolve “dislocating the links with which abstract nationalism so violently binds them together” (Ibid).

Certainly Medem is not interested in providing connections between insanity, politics and/or the repressions of the state apparatus as, for example, Terry Gillian. Ángel madman discourse (and final escape), allows Medem to precisely flee those nationalistic constraints and immerse into his own idiosyncratic cinematic territory.

No hay comentarios: