Soy de la Gran Ciudad

Raúl Bajo Ibañez

In four different sequences, independent of each other, the author proposes an introspective view of his city, Madrid. The contrast between the sequences, and between the image and the sound in the third segment, allows the author to provide this sequential construction with meaning, helped also by the introduction of other connected themes: the question of identity in relationship to the massified, urban space, and the feeling of belonging and possession that is, despite the space itself, created; the everyday and leisurely experience of the spaces of transit (the commercial centre of the city), juxtaposed to a certain historical amnesia as regards the violent conflicts of a not so distant past; at last, the media intrusion into people’s privacy and the exhibition of the latter in the public showcases of the society of the spectacle.

The video begins with a fragment of a local television newscast, which reports news of a criminal incident occurred during the night, including the statement by the woman affected by the event. According to the author, this sequence represents “a morbid look which responds to a symmetrically morbid need on the part of the spectator”. The statement ends with claims by the woman about “our Madrid”, “my village”.

Then the title of the piece appears, Soy de la gran ciudad, followed by a short sequence shot (the shortest of the four segments), in which a hand holding a postcard of Madrid approaches the flame of a candle until it starts to burn.

In the third segment, the images of passers-by in the commercial areas of the urban centre - dissected in frozen stills or through a strobe effect - have as a sound counterpoint the vehement speech by the poet Rafael Alberti prior to the conquest of Madrid by the insurgent forces of the “glorious national uprising”.

Towards the end, there is a return to the night as prelude to the time of rest and dream - “that dream in which our historical and individual memory seems to fall into” - by way of a sequence shot, which has been described by the author as “an innocent act of nocturnal voyeurism”. A quick look at the neighbours’ window; behind the curtains, and beyond the movements of the home’s occupants, the symmetry of the piece is completed when the flashing rectangle of a television screen is focused on.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Soy de la Gran Ciudad
  • Direction: Raúl Bajo Ibañez
  • Production: Raúl Bajo Ibañez. 1994.
  • Duration: 00:04:17
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: U-Matic
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright