An Interview with Eva Vila (Director)
The Inherited Spirit of the Gypsy
Q: When I visited Spain, I was moved to tears by the power and depth of expression of live flamenco dancing. Would you mind explaining your approach when filming flamenco, an art overflowing with passion?
EV: When we decided to create this film, we wanted to dedicate ourselves to capturing the inner emotions expressed through flamenco. I felt I should create a film commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the birth of this renowned flamenco dancer, Carmen Amaya. Carmen’s life became one of legend, and she left behind her granddaughter Karime as heiress. I tried to follow this story. Focusing upon this aspect—flamenco as an inherited art—proved to be the best method for filming.
Q: What was your intention behind putting together the sounds of flamenco footsteps with those of dove wings and horse hooves?
EV: Because the soundtrack is such an extremely important component of this film, I was rather nervous. Art and life are exceedingly interrelated for gypsies. Thus, they are conveyed in the film not as separate, but as parts of a whole. Flamenco is also something we listen to. Doves and horses are quite important in gypsy life, so I wanted to use them somehow.
Q: Why does the city of Barcelona continue to serve as a point of stability for the gypsy community?
EV: The gypsy community’s various rituals and customs continue to deeply influence their identity. I believe that flamenco serves a large role in preserving this indebtedness to tradition.
The supernatural force duende, spoken of in gypsy folklore, is the essence of flamenco. This is how the true form of flamenco enters the dancers, and without this communion, one can never know it. Spaniards do not know about the essence of flamenco either. One only learns of it when they associate with gypsies. I was able to come in contact with the true form of flamenco through meeting Karime, and now I want many people to learn about it.
Q: As a film director, what do you think when you watch flamenco?
EV: I believe that flamenco and documentary are not distantly separated, but instead possess commonalities. The dancer, the guitarist, and the singer: flamenco is created through the unison of these three essential elements.
In the case of a film, there is the director, the cameraman, and the audio engineer. They point the camera toward their subject and wait for reality to show its true shape, wait for duende to arrive. Together with my team I watched attentively for this moment, to record and then share with my audience.
(Compiled by Saito Risa)
Interviewers: Saito Risa, Omiya Yoshiyuki / Interpreter: Kawaguchi Takao / Translator: Jason Douglass
Photography: Morikawa Miku / Video: Miyata Mariko / 2013-10-11