Camilo Restrepo's Impression of a War (2015) is playing August 10 - September 8, 2017 on MUBI in many countries around the world as part of the series
Direct from Locarno. The director was generous enough to share his notes about the film with us.
Over the course of the investigations and archival research I carried out for this film, I was confronted with the problem of presenting the Colombian conflict according to a structure or theme that would provide order for the events and context for the personal accounts.
Yet every attempt at creating at outline or specific standpoint seemed to me to represent an oversimplification of the problem.
We, the people of Colombia, probably haven’t achieved enough detachment yet to be the ones to analyze a situation that is still assaulting us. The war in Colombia is not over yet, and the violence, even less so. I belong to a generation of Colombians who were strongly affected by the most violent years of the conflict and who bear the stigmata of the war. All that we can bring to this first stage of analyzing our recent history is our own stories, our own impressions.
My goal was to capture visible traces of the violence in the daily lives of the people who live in that country. Images from the battlefields, memorial images, images inscribed in the urban landscape, intimate representations of experiences people have lived through… These traces—deliberate, accidental, ostensible, fleeting or dissimulated—constitute the raw material for Impression of a War.
To connect these images, while paying attention both to the conditions in which they emerged and to their fate as images, the film proposes a reflection on composing memories of the Colombian conflict.
My decision to work on physical film is not rooted in nostalgia for a medium that is slowly disappearing, but on the conviction that images draw their meaning from the plurality of media in which they take shape.
The materiality of the image is at the heart of my work as a filmmaker. I shoot and develop in an AV lab belonging to “L’Abominable,” a filmmakers’ collective. I create the image mentally as I am manipulating it physically, and my films evolve constantly in response to technical decisions.
My training as a painter clearly influences how I work as a filmmaker, and the choice of subjects I address in my films.
Choosing this medium and the technical constraints that it implies does in fact have a direct resonance with the film’s propos.