Octavio Guerra makes criticizing a film without any need to see it possible


 Anticapitalism arrives to the big screen by the hand of the Gran-Canarian filmmaker with his documentary film Searching for Oscar

 The work of this Canarian director is one of the four titles competing in the festival’s 19th edition, and will be released in theaters next March 29th

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Sunday 24 March 2019. Gran-Canarian filmmaker Octavio Guerra presented this Sunday morning his last work, Searching for Oscar (Spain, 2018, 72 min.), an “anticapitalist” film “with a very political background” that tells the story of a film critic capable of venturing into making critics of films just by looking at their posters and then interpreting them. Starring Óscar Peyrou, it was the first Spanish production to participate in Berlin Critics’ Week, organized by the German Film Critics Association and held within the Berlinale’s framework. In addition, it has been at the Bafici, Gijón and Gothenburg festivals. Searching for Oscar arrives now to Canarias Cinema, a section within the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival.

The documentary Searching for Oscar is one of the four titles competing in the Festival’s 19th edition. Its director explained today that the film originated in “a mere intuition because we didn’t know what was behind a character like Óscar”. So they followed Óscar himself for a year and through different festivals, which he attended as critic of jury. Thus, they “became closer” to him in the process, what “served them to establish certain red lines that made them think about to what extent they were going to enter into their protagonist’s life”.

Guerra pointed out that his film is situated between the “fiction and documentary” frontier. “That thin line with which we have attempted to play so that the spectator doesn’t fully grasp what is real from what is not”, he clarified.

In fact, he specified, the film has a radical premise, which is none other than that of the “film critic who doesn’t watch any films and writes from their posters”. That is “the fuse” that sparks off the Canarian director’s proposal for “talking about many other things that are deeper”.

Among them, he mentioned as an example, we may find political stances, since “we are used, somehow, to listen to our politicians telling us lies every time they speak and fool us through news that are frequently fabricated with ideological purposes”.

Society, he added, moves right now through a information path “where there isn’t too much contrasting because any piece of news has to appear quickly and the media itself has its own interests and its own truth and, because of that, sometimes that information is not that objective due to their prioritization of economical interests”.

All of it is brought up in Searching for Oscar “as a metaphor” of that critic who does not watch a film and “still dares to write about it”. A parallelism that can be translated into “a very media society that shares information on social networks about news she doesn’t read and about which nonetheless she dares to give an opinion”.

This is just “one of the layers” this film has as background, in which the human also plays a very important role. In that regard, the director wanted to capture the solitude certain places such as airports or hotels might communicate. That is, the fact that it is capable of “producing an environment and noticing the emptiness it can make you feel”. Something that in the case of the film’s protagonist is manifested in a quite clear and tangible way.

It is a feature film in which not only the spectator, but the critic “have to take it with a certain degree of humor”, basically so that they may get a whole reading of the film and notice “all these different layers” set out in this Canarian director’s last work.

For his part, Óscar Peyrou, who plays himself, explained that the origin of the film was “to make a critic while being able to show how our current society is, with all its miseries, hypocrysies and lies”. The protagonist of Guerra’s work presides over the Spanish Association of Film Critics and acts as FIPRESCI’s delegate in Madrid.

The film, produced by Calibrando Producciones, was made with the participation of ICAA (Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts), IVAC (Institut Valencià de Culturade la Generalitat Valenciana), the Canarian Government’s program CreaDoc, Radiotelevisión Canaria and À Punt. Searching for Oscar will be released in Spanish theaters next March 29th.

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