The fifth EURORADIO Palma Arscustica goes to "Fragments of an Unfinished Tale - A Cinematic Story" by the sound artist and composer Alfredo Costa Monteiro, who was born in 1964 in Portugal. The piece was produced by Catalunya Musica based in Barcelona.
Alfredo Costa Monteiro worked with the soundtracks of over 70 films of so called New Wave films from Eastern European countries such as Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia in the timespan from 1959 to 2008.
Jury members from the European participating countries were impressed with the poetic strength of the historical material, and with the delicate sound composition. Departing from a plunderphonic approach, Monteiro takes the listener on an unknown and poetic journey through an unfolding magical and colorful landscape with a lot of pleasant surprises. Fragments from the film dialogues develop an intricate musical flow, even (or especially) for those who don't understand the languages at play. Soft and "tiny" sounds from soundtrack foley frequently come to the foreground and start telling an intriguing story of their own. One of the jury members termed the work: "...just fantastic..."
Congratulations to the artist and to the producer Pilar Subira Adelantado of Catalunya Musica.
“Fragments of An Unfinished Tale“ - A Cinematic Story by Alfredo Costa Monteiro
It starts with a jump. A man jumps from a moving train. This man is Zbigniew Cybulski, one of the fetish actors of the Polish new wave. The film is Jump (Salto) by Tadeusz Konwicki.
The piece begins as a journey, but also as a tribute not only to Cybulski (who, ironically, was going to die a few years later by jumping from a train), but also to the Polish, Czech or Slovak New Waves, to a whole section of eastern european cinema pushed into the background or practically forgotten. A culturally different cinema, not only in its contents but also in its intentions.
Forgotten perhaps for political reasons, or simply because it risked to do much harm to the authors of our western world, who seemed to carry the highest spiritual and visual values of cinema. A question of geography? Culturocentrism? Problems of circulation due to the Iron Curtain?
But how strange it is to think that even today, most of these films and authors are almost completely unknown, or maybe known just by a bunch of connoisseurs...An unfair situation, especially when we know how much many of our western filmmakers owe to the early soviet autheurs, just to take an obvious example. By discovering some of these wonders, we realize how much our cinematic knowledge was limited to a geographical zone, to some ways of doing things that, nevertheless, seemed to have reached the highest degree of what could be expressed on a screen.
Recovering these films, some of which are incontestable masterpieces, plunges us into other models, other ways of doing things where what seemed to be an exception here became the norm there, where formal innovations and concepts of an extraordinary richness and beauty get along with political stakes and brilliant visual experiments.
All in all, another dimension that pushes further the desire for cinema, the desire in cinema. And it is this desire that carries this work.
It is a different cinematic story that I propose; that, less obvious, built thanks to authors who won't have had the visibility and recognition they deserved.
The sound fragments were used such as they are, without modifications or electronic manipulations, almost always by maintaining the actual durations of each scene from which they were extracted. They have often been chosen for their use and role in a key scene, or because they work in resonance with what was being composed, or simply because what is heard makes sense.
My interventions were stimulated from a given impulse, and always took place in the background, never on a foreground. It was not for me to become a protagonist as a composer and a musician, but simply to help these fragments coexist, as if the soundtrack of a new film was being created.
The last fragment is taken from Pociag (Night Train) by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, where the same Cybulski, six years younger, gets on a train.
Time seems to have gone backwards, and the loop is thus closed... but not completely closed, because the sound of a train also refers to the departure for a new journey.
Barcelona, February 2017
Prix Palma Ars Acustica der EBU Euroradio Ars Acustica
Prix Palma Ars Acustica 2017 - part 1