SOS. E3 ( Servidumbre de la vida y el carácter de las sombras)

Txomin Badiola
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Two men crawl along the floor immersed in what could be an embrace or a wrestle, whilst a woman, not intervening in the scene, watches them attentively. A little further down, on the floor lies an inert body. The whole scene (a remake of the final scene in Fassbinder’s Der amerikanische Soldat) becomes a complex frame of signifiers blooming with every new hit of the camera. Badiola manages to generate a network of readings that are juxtaposed and linked together within what at first seems like a neutral and closed space.

Starting with the shot where we see La Ley de los Cambios by Jorge Oteiza printed on the back of one of the actors’ shirt, or the shot of the cardboard hanging from one of the walls with the sentence that Godard dedicated to Fassbinder: “RWF died of an overdose of creative duties JLG”, or that of the actresses’ eyelashes in the style of Jean Seaberg, a multitude of signs fill this black and white scene. Badiola manages hereby to generate a displacement of the signifiers that leaves the meaning of the whole piece in suspense.

On the t-shirt of one of the actors we can read clearly “S.O.S.”, a call for help that, due to the fact that it is sent out from within this maze of signs, is buried under it and not allowed to stand out from the rest. This empty cry helps us to understand how within the symbolic structure created by the artist, we need to assimilate the re-hierarchisation that he proposes, we need to accept this new order if what we expect to be able to do is to decipher the message latent in this symbolic agglomeration.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: SOS. E3 ( Servidumbre de la vida y el carácter de las sombras)
  • Direction: Txomin Badiola
  • Production: FPLOT. 2000.
  • Duration: 00:04:05
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright