The illusion of reality
By Laura Bermúdez
Honduran filmmaker. Black I am, her latest short film, received the Audience Award in the section “Affirming the Rights of Women” at the Malaga Film Festival in 2018. She is currently working on her first feature documentary The place where the sun is born, supported by the Mexican Institute of Cinematography.
“Nothing is more fragile than the human faculty to admit reality, to accept without reservation the imperious prerogative of the real.” Clément Rosset's phrase, in his book The Real and Its Double, shakes me to the core. After all, what is reality? An unanswered question that frequently inhabits me, especially when I am carrying out my work in the field of “documentary cinema.” I do not believe in the existence of that anxious materiality that we can capture through the camera lens or through the human eye. I do not hesitate to affirm that, for me, everything is an illusion, or several illusions that coexist simultaneously, occasionally crossing each other like a Venn diagram.
During lockdown, some of these many fantasies, the elusive internal realities, surfaced. There is a paradox in this current moment that we are collectively living, where life continues to plague us from the concrete, although in the abstract dimension there seem to be a thousand reasons to be frozen in a time capsule. Where does reality begin and where does fiction end? What is real in this quarantine? What was real before confinement? From where can I tell and create stories during this closure?
I have always believed in the imagination as a powerful, transformational force. If anything can save humanity from this pandemic, it is the imagination. The human being’s ability for reinvention inhabits that dreaded intimate space, in the depths of the self, in the cobwebs of memory and our subjective experiences. It is the only place during this time where we are free to circulate without a mask.
Just as in the language of cinematography, there is also an intrinsic rhythm in life, like the movements within a shot. The tectonic plates move and the internal volcanoes erupt. Within that space-time expansion lies the piece of the puzzle that I keep seeking, a deep encounter with the essence of my creative force.
Critical times demand new ways of narrating and understanding the world. How will my cinematographic voice change after the current world crisis? How will my inner eye be able to capture the complex web that human experience is tangled up in? It seems like the right time to discover a new sense of identity.
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