Piano Etude 9 piano dream, refers to Ana Torrent in the Spanish movie Cria Cuervos from Carlos Saura, in 1976. During one’s life maybe just a few books and movies have a strong impact on you, without knowing exactly why. Such a movie has been Cria Cuervos.When I saw the movie for the first time –this was around forty years ago – the little Ana Torrent was looking straight into my soul. For years a small wooden frame of 15×20 cm, hung in the film café of the cinema theatre The Movies in Amsterdam, in a small corner in a corridor: the cover portrait of the movie: Geraldine Chaplin and Ana Torrent. Each time when I went to The Movies with my loved one or other friends, I pointed to the little pearl, sighing: is this not beautiful, I wish I had this portrait, I think I will steal it, but no you don’t do that, because what’s more splendid than to meet again each time this mysterious image, at a moment one had almost forgot.
Twenty-five years later, I saw Cria Cuervos again, this time in the Film Museum – in that period still in the Vondelpark, what a pity it’s not in that park anymore – with Elisabeth and Alice, Taly, Wouter and some other graphic design students at the Rietveld Art Academy. We visited a series of movies ‘to go deeper in the secret of a specific place’. This movie, almost completely playing in one and the same house, seemed very useful to me. I showed my enthusiasm in advance, and took the risk to land in a dated and sentimental movie, which was grown in my memory into extra proportions, but may now fail. But the movie stood as a house, even stronger, more powerful, with no concern for another tempo and new ways of storytelling, in this case a movie is a vital. And a movie is of course a vital identity in your mind, in this it’s value and meaning is alive.
I was talking about the little icon in The Movies. I made up my mind, even more specifically to start researching this photographic image, and including the Movie and so started visiting various small shops with film material. Eventually I did find in the fantastic film shop Cine qua non, in the Staalstraat 14 in Amsterdam – the shop most of the time open in the afternoon-, in the personal archive of the owner the beautiful small portrait, surprised by its original black-and-white appearance. The owner was hesitating, on one hand he wanted to sell – for living- and also not, because he didn’t want to loose the most beautiful picture out of his large collection of illusions. After hesitating for days and going on and on and me trying to feel some space and at a certain moment to push more – the picture should be invisible in his archive map and at my place it should be visible again – I invited him to come and discuss over a glass of wine – and so he allowed me to buy the picture.
This seems to be a trivial story, but in a secret way, something does happen after twenty five years. The colour picture in the café of The Movies has disappeared after the renovation and I recall its echo: in the way this image had nestled itself in my memory, in black-and-white, completely brought back to its essence, more dream than reality, a miraculous discovery, after looking more precisely at both versions are from different exposures. The black-and-white version is even stronger, more abstract, more introvert and silent. Now the picture has become part of my daily universe, created around me, keeping a grip in a chaotic world.
For now back to the movie, meaning in my next message.
pictures: Teodoro Escamilla, 1976