A splendid film! Splendidly Manuel! Splendidly Sorto!
I must first of all emphasize this film’s unique construction in the form of a puzzle (reflecting the concave-convex image of this fascinatingly asymmetric character that is Sistiaga) as well as highlighting its circle-like structure, beginning as it does where it ends. Like “Morel’s Invention” by Bioy Casares, this film is infinite, coming alive again and again, with every new tide, every full moon.

Fernando Birri

 

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A 20-year project, brought back to life in 2011 with the filming of a retrospective exhibition of Sistiaga’s work during its installation in San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain.

 

In 1993 Sistiaga, one of the greats among the great Basque artists, accepted a proposal from his Salvadorian friend, Manuel Sorto, to be the subject of a documentary film. Eighteen years later, from June 16 to September 27, 2011, an exhibition dedicated entirely to Sistiaga’s work was presented in the Koldo Michelena Cultural Center, San Sebastian.

Covering four hundred square meters, filling six rooms and two patios, this unprecedented exhibition commemorating the artist’s 80th birthday, brought together paintings and film works produced by Sistiaga over the past 50 years and more. This is when the project to film a documentary on Sistiaga was taken up anew.

Manuel Sorto uses their friendship and their mutual passion for art, to uncover the man hiding behind the artist. As the conversations progress, Sistiaga reveals himself with honesty, frankness and confidence. The film probes deep into his intellectual intimacy, in a journey of light and color into the heart of this Basque story, highlighting the protagonist’s political, historical, scientific, artistic and humanistic reflections, vigorous, powerful and free of all ideological ties.


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