SHORT REVIEWS (07): CALLE LÓPEZ / LÓPEZ STREET
Por Roger Koza
In the eyes of a foreigner practically any street of Mexico City’s Centro Histórico holds potential for a film. Life on the street deserves more than just the natural condition of observer anyone could have, it demands an extra attention. In a 100-meter radius, the sociological exuberance of the events going on is simply impossible to ignore. The street is a mise en scène in itself. How to shoot a film-like collective experience and transform it —paradoxically— into a film? The act of filming always entails a denaturalization, a search, a transformation of the order of the evident into a new order of what is visible, what is there in plain sight but not always evident to the eye.
Tillinger and Barroso Alcalá choose López Street and a time unit, a day, as well as a method for their register —systematic and non-intervening observation. The result is very valuable since it entails a portrait of the social complexity and labor diversity during a whole-day cycle.
The key to any observational documentary lies in the construction of the point of view, since shot- framing becomes the true and only discourse. In Calle López there is an interest to show with precision the preparations for work, the set of procedures linked to any activity. The idea is to film the processes and not the results of various activities.
In a way, Calle López has a certain air of a huge panoramic painting of a space and a time; its peculiarities give form to the whole picture as if each sequence was part of a painting —the close up on the foot of a tailor and his movements, the open shots of the streets, the travelling shots on the push carts used for work, all of these are “simultaneous” shots of a larger and imaginary panoramic of the totality of life in a reduced space. Even leisure time is included here.
To film work and its dignity is not an easy task; but when a filmmaker works thoroughly on his approach to the experience of labor, an absent and unpopular subject in cinema, filmmaking is dignified as a craft.