News  ·  09 | 08 | 2023

Negu hurbilak

Enter a world of eternal suspension, where space and time are indefinite and the silence allows an immersion in fear and precariousness.

© Cornelius Films, Maluta Films, Negu

After the end of the Basque conflict announced by ETA in 2011, a young woman escapes with the intention of crossing the border. Finding herself in a village on the border, she is hosted by a family of farmers who will soon realize the dangerously precarious condition resulting from their choice.


The first work of Colectivo Negu enjoys a hypnotic formal slowness, able to define the lost and confused state of mind of the protagonist. The work is permeated with silences that enshrine the tension of the fugitive in relation to the background of a war that has ended but is still alive and burning in the hearts of those who lived through it. The bucolic setting is in the foreground in this world in eternal suspension. The villagers continue with their daily tasks: those who manage a flock of sheep, those who cut down trees, those who milk goats, but silence reigns supreme, and the young woman is well aware of the risk her host is taking by trying to make herself useful. Everything is presented with a diegetic time dilation that insists on the suspension and delicacy of the situation that the village is facing. On a cinematic level, a crude film approach is favored, one that dirties the image, thus giving the film a retro flavor, perhaps to emphasize the damage the war has caused and the consequences it brings to the village. This vintage tone is not at all artificial, to the point that if you were not aware of the year in which it was produced, it could be very well identified as a film of the 70s or 80s. Moreover, from a narrative point of view it seems to approach the world of documentary cinema, since it captures daily dialogues which don’t seem to have a particular importance. In Negu hurbilak silence is the true protagonist, where the dialogue does not seem to communicate narrative substance to the viewer, the silences allow an immersion in fear and precariousness.


For the duration of the film there would seem to be no great narrative development of the characters, the viewer may feel cut off from what they think by failing to tap into their personality. But it is this distinctive trait that makes the film even more curious because this approach represents nothing more than the situation in which the citizens of the village found themselves facing the war. Although the armed conflict has come to an end, the persecution continues, the precarious situation has now become eternal, and nothing really seems to change.


Negu hurbilak is a film that accompanies the audience to discover the remote town of Zubieta, making it empathize with its inhabitants who have been living for generations in an uncertain situation, immersing it in the world of the villagers where space and time are indefinite, almost abstract, where day and night mix and you live in a constant limbo of precariousness. This is the situation in which the young woman also finds herself, lost in the snowy mountains, among the dead trees and who sees less and less likely the possibility of being able to cross the border.


Alessandro Panelli

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