Antes del Silencio

Raúl Bajo Ibañez

This is an extremely simple video, which articulates, in counterpoint, private and public memories and images. As the author has stated: “At the end of the day, this is a simple tribute to my grandparents and those stories that have been with me since I was a small child, as something foreign, but at the same time, very close.” These stories, which rather unthread like scraps of cloth, surge from the voices of those who lived them, now seated at the home table and portrayed in one fixed shot with discrete zoom movements and slight corrections of frame. Simple people, field labourers immersed in a war that broke out just eight days after they got married, changing their lives forever. In the nine minutes of the piece we perceive the suspended time of introspection and reminiscences. On occasions, archive footage of the Spanish civil war is intercut as a kind of poetic pause. These archival images are superimposed one over the other within a circular frame. The final image, slowed down and by itself, is that of a member of the militia embracing his lover.

Raúl Bajo Ibáñez had already expressed some interest in portraying his family’s setting and memory in “El tiempo perdido” (1996), which presented his mother’s memories and confessions about the time of her engagement and wedding. Both pieces are representative of a stage in Spanish video production, starting in the first half of the 1990s, during which a special attraction for the most basic and accessible media (at the same time new formats for consumer and domestic video making, with higher quality features than the previous ones, were becoming available), and a rejection of fiction, of the narrative models and structural ornaments that had been characteristic of the previous wave of video artists, are clearly perceived. One can even speak of the aesthetic rehabilitation of the home video, the private, domestic, family video. Other participants in this new tendency include Juan Crego, Jaime Vallaure and Marta Volga de Minteguiaga.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Antes del Silencio
  • Direction: Raúl Bajo Ibañez
  • Production: Raúl Bajo Ibañez. 1999.
  • Duration: 00:09:37
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: High 8
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright