Being at a school excursion in France, a small Rom girl finds a badly injured little bird, unable to join those of its kind in their autumn migration, which is about to conclude and makes them head towards distant coasts. One year later, those very flocks plough through those skies again, but a deportation sentence to Romania is imposed to the girl's family, making it impossible that she releases the bird she rescued to fly and get to the sea. Already a teenager, the girl leaves the poor place where she lives and begins a travel to those coasts she still doesn't know. Very far from them, captive in Spain, only the help of a boxer could make her see that dream come true.
Víctor Bárcena on the sources of inspiration for the script of 'Épiphanie'
Having in mind the facts depicted in 'Épiphanie', and perhaps from the discovery of its very title, it can be intuited certain attachment of mine to the degree of signification that religous symbology, by extension, and more precisely the western Christian one, has acquired in the cultural and european artistic creation heritage throughout the centuries. The iconography of the winged, with such a presence in this piece, is by itself evoking of so many things, that its contribution to the condensed capacity for narration avalaible in a format such as this of the short films is proves to be providential. It is evident, as well, that the whole final episode, which translates into images the revelation that seizes the boxer, is populated everywhere with similar elements.
I acknowledge here my obligation to confess that the seed of this blooming of symbology present in 'Épiphanie' comes from the profound impact that, to my sensitivity and my spirit, supposed my trip to Italy, not so many years ago, thanks to which I could gaze across so many and so overwhelming masterpieces from the Italian Rennaissance and Baroque periods, eminently devoted to depict Christian motives or ancient Roman and Greek inherited ones, from which those first take after so vigorously. Being able to discover the mastery of Bernini in 'Apollo and Daphne', or in his 'Chair of Saint Peter', at the Vatican, left a deep mark on me.
As part of that baroque tradition, the contribution of a master as Caravaggio was deserves a highlighted mention. With a talent such as his for the approach to light and to 'mise en scène', vividly shown in so many of his works, it was not difficult for him to conquer the place given by predilection inside my sensitivity and my spirit. And ‘Épiphanie’ aims to be able to make room for the wise lessons he poured in his works, leaving them structure those two elements in the sequence, and perhaps not only there, that recreates the boxing fight, sport that has been, by itself, a source more for finding inspiration and significance from which I have not wanted to resist to drink.
Víctor Bárcena on the music of 'Épiphanie'
Another essential element in order to build this story that also encountered a privileged place among those structuring it is the selected musical composition, the 'Eja mater' movement, from Vilvadi’s 'Stabat Mater' RV 621, that so beautifully sings to the reflection of such essential elements as those whose presence in its lyrics can be shared with this tale.
The discovery, after a long and repeated hearing, of the analogy that could be extracted from its pulse, able to procure that the bare cadence of the music acquired, accompanied by such subtle elements of image and sound as are described in the script, the revealing dimension of the enlightening feeling that one of its main characters begins to experience towards the final part of the story, contained the source of such a profound beauty that I didn’t doubt to restructure everything I had already written until then around that such discovery showed to be offering.
I have to admit that this is a will of style present in the vast majority of my works, since it is that offered to my feelings by the hearing of an overwhelming and encouraging piece of music which moves me to build a story that gains sense only under the light of their communicaton. That is the emotion that, repeatedly, moves me to action, understanding as such in this case, and by extension in my most deeply marked will of style throughout my entire life, worthy of redescoveries like this very one I have been able to experience working in this story, the determination to channel towards the audience revelations so deeply rooted, always, in everything evoked by the fortunate derivation of the etymology of 'Épiphanie'.
Víctor Bárcena on the film references of 'Épiphanie'
Among those more evident references that I would like to have a reflection in 'Épiphanie' one can find the works by a bundle of directors I declaredly admire. Without the encouragement that they have given to my life with so many of their works I would have not been able to gather, once and again, the necessary strength in order to determine to initiate such a complex project as this of building from scratch a new film production is, very much so in the case of one absolutely and radically independent from its mere conception.
From the brevity and emotional neatness as a perspective for addressing his melodramas, so characteristic of the best of Robert Bresson’s works, to the breathtaking tenderness rescued among the harshness of this human existence of ours depicted as an unavoidable tragedy of the latest and more encouraging Michael Haneke, a whole and eclectic veil links all of them in a profoundly coherent manner inside my imagery. As part of it Terrence Malick also appears, particularly with so many sublime moments one can find gazing his 'Tree of life', or even Carl Theodor Dreyer, with his revealing 'Ordet', able to procure a so overwhelming enlightenment as that reached towards its end, and that I have had so many times the chance to experience.
The humanity and warmth, so present in Peter Weir’s films, and of course in those by Ermanno Olmi, or the delicacy of the images and stories built by Jane Campion, even the labyrinthine psichology able to tie sweetness and cruelty with a single shot change so characteristic in the works by Ingmar Bergman are also populating it. Remarkable places are given to the incomparable talent of Stanley Kubrick, for the titanic struggle against the repeatedly found adversity that has made it possible for Víctor Erice to offer as a gift some very few jewels of an incalculable value, or for the ability with which Steven Spielberg has been able so many times to amaze us. Thanks to all of them, and to some other more, to so many, 'Épiphanie' will finally see the light.