The Messengers, Iván Argote, 2014, France, 30'
The Messengers follows Gaby and Blaine, two young Americans with a particular political and intellectual background, wandering two small “historical” towns, one in Colombia (Mompox) and the other in the south of Spain (Arcos de la Frontera). History, politics, voices, folklore, landscapes and architecture create a complex atmosphere for this conversation that oscillates between the philosophical and personal, while also highlighting frictions of tones, accents, origins and contexts.
The Intruder, Roger Corman, USA, 1962, 84' DCP, OV EN Sub. ES
Roger Corman has gone down in history as one of the great auteurs of North American cult film and B movies. We have for posterity his adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe—starring such figures as Vincent Price and Boris Karloff—and his vampire, monster and alien invasion movies. In 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his career and his decisive influence on film makers including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, James Cameron, John Sayles and many others.
However, beyond his low-budget terror, sci-fi and fantasy films, the piece we are screening today (perhaps the pinnacle of his career) is testament to his interest in a more direct form of cinema which is aligned with the real issues of his country and his time. The Intruder, shot three years before Afro-American citizens gained the right to vote (Voting Rights Act of 1965), overwhelmingly captures the tensions between racist and pro-segregation groups and the civil rights movement.
Caxton is a small southern town which is about to abolish ‘whites only’ segregation in secondary schools, by judicial order, just when Adam Cramer arrives in town to provoke the most racist sectors of society. The fragile stability founded upon violence and a false concept of tradition goes up in smoke. The resulting film may be a little-known piece from the director’s body of work but is crucial to understanding the scope of his genius: pure classic cinema depicting reality, stunning black and white shots and first-class acting in a story where the fear invasion and intrusion is linked not to distant planets, but to ourselves.