Terra Incògnita

Lluís Escartín

Terra Incògnita shows us the land of the Penedès, which acquires a strange beauty when it is so little known. Escartín shows us things transformed by his inspired vision. This is videographic magic, a rare and very difficult virtue.

In addition to the countryside, in Terra Incògnita there are the characters that form part of it, peasants who tell the stories of peasants, who take on disproportionate and yet very simple dimensions. According to their vision, the furrows of the conreos take us back to the ancestral substratum from which we all come. The fact is that any of these peasants - who are our contemporaries and live close to us - could be Escartín's grandfather.

In any case, Escartín's images are so sharp that they go beyond everything we have said about the peasant substratum. And they leave oriental music very small. When the peasants talk about them, all the music of the world bows reverently, embarrassed by a feeling of ornamental futility.

One of the peasants of Terra Incògnita remembers that in the past, in the countryside, everyone used to sing and whistle. These whistles and songs, which are not on the tape, are heard in the distance because of the aforementioned magic, which does not come from the farmer, but from Lluís Escartín.

It is not necessary to travel to unknown places to discover the abysses of the human condition, our neighbours, and therefore we ourselves, in the midst of all our post-modern utilitarianism, also peer, without the slightest problem, into infinite similarities.

At the time of its appearance, Terra Incògnita was a refreshing breath of fresh air, as the most critically-prized Spanish documentary was engrossed in a soft, sugary and falsifying look at its obstinate cinephilia about the rural world on the verge of extinction. The mere existence of Terra Incognita calls into question not only this set of glamorous films, but the whole mythologising discourse that has been generated around them.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Terra Incògnita
  • Direction: Lluís Escartín
  • Production: Lluís Escartín. 2005.
  • Duration: 00:25:00
  • Languages: Catalan
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright