A childhood dream still to come true… a promise of redemption about to be made… the journey towards knowledge so close to begin.
Víctor Bárcena on the need for 'Épiphanie'
After my last short film, I needed to tell a story focused on what some human beings could do in order to help others. That is, on the feeling that may trigger an abstract need for devoting one’s life to be the source of a net constructive outcome for the world as a whole. Many visual and dramatic metaphors able to convey this meaning kept coming to my mind through the years, until the moment when, some time ago, I knew about that controversial case in France in which an adolescent Rom girl was to be deported with her entire family after having been arrested by the police while being at a school excursion. That incident moved me, it was a true inspiration for me, and helped me to make all the pieces fit into what finally came to be 'Épiphanie'.
Filming 'Épiphanie' was extremely hard... But when you have very limited resources and a complex project to be shot, in which you firmly believe, the script and film become something that evolve at the same time at which you try to streamline all your efforts through the narrow window that reality shows as the only one available to you. And that is not bad, it’s just the way it has to be. In the end, you shape the script and film in order to make those limitations improve your work somehow, never to make it worse… that’s filmmaking.
'Épiphanie' may help a crucial debate arise in Europe, and in many other places, because of the controversial situation in many of its countries of the Roma, that could have so much in common with that of the refugees suffering now the migratory crisis, or because of how unbelievably widespread the sexual exploitation of women, nearly always coming from poorer nations, is in some of them. But, in the end, the only impact I honestly expect is that caused to some of the individuals watching this film and feeling something changing, or gaining strength, deep inside of them; and the greatest reward would not be that they hopefully were many, but that what they felt was true.
There is a text I like very much. It belongs to the preamble of the United States Declaration of Independence, and somehow served as a model followed by many other relevant texts intended to be the very foundations for many of our modern societies: the contemporary Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, in France, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the UN, or the late Spanish Constitution, just to name a few. After wise words like these I recall, I hope my silence will be acknowledged as the best way to conclude any statement daring to include them… the text reads as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Víctor Bárcena on the artistic dimension of 'Épiphanie'
Thanks to cinema, if it can be understood as an art eminently conquered by a narrative figurativism, we cry, we laugh, we feel hope, astonishment sometimes, witnessing the recreation of lives that nothing appear to have in common with ours. And it is so true that the emotion given by the catharsis is found, so many times, in the very threshold of action… even when it is caused by the discovery of a life testimony that, had it come to us without the sieve of its depiction, we could have perfectly let pass by. 'Épiphanie' is a stlylized depiction of certain life testimonies… depiction inside of whose dramatic dynamics it seems not to be necessary to watch another one in order to make its leading characters be thrown to a catharsis, and to everything it would eventually procure.
But there is indeed a place for the recreation within the recreation that 'Épiphanie' is: the place of fantasy, of dreams, of the translation into images that our mind performs of anything we wish or feel the will to do. There is, as well, that of the bare contemplation, of the serene perception of an overwhelming harmony we eventually come across witnessing the wonder of nature, letting the sensation of being part of something much bigger than ourselves make us flow without even noticing it, felt from our remotest childhood. Places showing us to the deepest of knowledges, where a feeling able to reveal the entire world under a new light, that emanating from 'Épiphanie', awaits. For they lead there inside and outside the tale, aspiring, perhaps, to make it become the threshold of everything it should bring about... and thus nature itself acquires the stature of a symbol, and its forms and phenomena, right in front of our eyes, fully embrace the cathegory of abstraction to become depiction of those wills and wishes that must conquer ours as far as we are living beings.
'Épiphanie' claims the barest naturalism of its original inspiration, even when, in a paradoxically coherent way, and as a marked will of style, such naturalistic vocation formally evolves in a radical manner regarding its manifestation along the film. From a beginning evocative of clearly identifiable social conflicts, quite recently happened in different European countries, as France, Romania and Spain are, it flows into the fundamental illustration of the fantasy of one of its leading characters, populated by a symbology that will have been being spread everywhere all along the tale, and that, originally rooted in the most immediate reality, will go gradually breaking on through to the hall of abstraction, in order to hasten its full seizure as soon as it reaches this final episode. That described here is, perhaps, one of the most singular characteristics of 'Épiphanie', able on its own of making its tale a beautiful and imbricated construction, a daring one, artistically adventuorus and relevant. Able that way to humbly contribute somehow to the advance of cinema, this language of ours.