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Albert Serra

„My films are improvised, there is no script. I always use non-professional actors I know, more or less, so I intuit how they will react. I put them in situations where I ask them to say or do something so I can more or less predict how it will develop. There is a beautiful quote of Picasso’s: ‘I don’t look for things, I find them.“

Photo: Albert Serra (© Claudia Robert Malagelada)

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Biography

Born in Banyoles in 1975, Albert Serra is a Catalan artist and director. Having studied philosophy and literature, he wrote plays and produced different video works. He gained an international recognition with his first long feature, "Honor of the Knights", a free adaptation of Don Quijote played by non- professional actors from his village. The film was presented at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2006. For his second film, "Birdsong", Serra took inspiration in a traditional Catalan Christmas song, El cant dels ocells, and worked with the same group of people to tell the story of the Three Wise Men following their guiding star to find Jesus. In 2013, the Centre Pompidou in Paris gave him a carte blanche for a correspondence with the Argentinian director Lisandro Alonso. The same year he received the Golden Leopard in Locarno for his new film "Story of my Death", inspired by Casanova’s memoirs. "The Death of Louis XIV" starring Jean-Pierre Léaud as the Sun King, was presented in the Official Selection of Cannes Film Festival 2016. "Liberté", starring Helmut Berger, Marc Susini, Baptiste Pinteaux, is the cinematic recreation of his 2018 Berlin Volksbühne play of the same name, which won the Special Jury award at the 2019 Un Certain Regard selection in Cannes. 2022 he returns to Cannes in the Official Selection in Competition with "Pacifiction".

Filmography

PACIFICTION / TOURMENT SUR LES ÎLES, 2022, 163 min
LIBERTÉ, 2019, 132 min
PERSONALIEN, 2019 (instalation of 2 screens, 86 min)
ROI SOLEIL, 2018, 62 min
LAST DAYS OF LOUIS XIV (LA MORT DE LOUIS XIV), 2016, 115 min
SINGULARITY, 2015, (instalation of 5 screens, 726 min)
CUBA LIBRE, 2014, 18 min
STORY OF MY DEATH (HISTÒRIA DE LA MEVA MORT), 2013, 148 min
THREE LITTLE PIGS, 2012, 6060 min
THE LORD WORKED WONDERS IN ME (EL SENYOR HA FET EN MI MERAVELLES), 2011, 146 min
THE NAMES OF CHRIST (ELS NOMS DE CRIST), 2010, 193 min
BIRDSONG (EL CANT DELS OCELLS), 2008, 93 min
HONOUR OF THE KNIGHTS (HONOR DE CAVALLERIA), 2006, 107 min

Statements

"Connected to this notion of dehumanization through mechanical action, I’ve always been interested in the fact that a film camera operates clinically. The camera never gets tired, it doesn’t think, doesn’t listen, doesn’t see beyond the frame. The eyes and the mind of the director are the ones that provide filmmaking with a human touch. This is why I never look through the camera viewfinder or at the monitor while we’re shooting—to keep a human perspective not corrupted by the machinal perspective of the camera. With its merciless, tireless vision, the camera reveals things that the human eye doesn’t see. This is why I love shooting very long scenes. Sometimes we shoot for 30 minutes or even for one hour with no cuts, never stopping. There’re few filmmakers that trust so much in the mechanical nature of the camera. You have a documentarian like Wang Bing who shoots very long scenes, but he doesn’t have to deal with a fictional setting and with actors, except in his few fiction features." (Albert Serra, excerpt from an interview with Manu Yáñez Murillo, filmcomment.com)

Films in the program

F, ES, GER, PT 2022, 163 min

A thriller shot in Tahiti and set in the shadow of nuclear testing.

GER/FR/Portugal/Spain 2019, 132 min

A forest between Potsdam and Berlin becomes a stage for a beautiful provocation against Puritanism.

LA MORT DE LOUIS XIV, F/Spain/Portugal 2016, 115 min

Suffering and dying do not stop at the most powerful, even the absolute.

ROI SOLEIL, Spain 2018, 62 min

The last hour of the French monarch Louis XIV as a gallery performance.

Spain 2014, 18 min

A tribute to Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his actor Günther Kaufmann.

​HISTÒRIA DE LA MEVA MORT, F/Spain 2013, 148 min

Together with his new servant, Casanova embarks on a journey to the Carpathian Mountains, to meet Dracula.

EL SENYOR HA FET EN MI MERAVELLES, Spain 2011, 146 min

A road movie – on the trail of Don Quixote's mythical locations.

ELS NOMS DE CRIST, Spain 2010, 193 min

Episodic film, divided into 14 chapters, based on the play "De los nombres de Cristo" (1586), by Fray Luis de Leon and intended...

EL CANT DELS OCELLS, Spain 2008, 93 min

The Three Wise Kings travel in search of the Messiah who has just been born.

HONOR DE CAVALLERIA, Spain 2006, 107 min

Based on the novel "El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes.

Films in the program

F, ES, GER, PT 2022, 163 min

A thriller shot in Tahiti and set in the shadow of nuclear testing.

GER/FR/Portugal/Spain 2019, 132 min

A forest between Potsdam and Berlin becomes a stage for a beautiful provocation against Puritanism.

LA MORT DE LOUIS XIV, F/Spain/Portugal 2016, 115 min

Suffering and dying do not stop at the most powerful, even the absolute.

ROI SOLEIL, Spain 2018, 62 min

The last hour of the French monarch Louis XIV as a gallery performance.

Spain 2014, 18 min

A tribute to Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his actor Günther Kaufmann.

​HISTÒRIA DE LA MEVA MORT, F/Spain 2013, 148 min

Together with his new servant, Casanova embarks on a journey to the Carpathian Mountains, to meet Dracula.

EL SENYOR HA FET EN MI MERAVELLES, Spain 2011, 146 min

A road movie – on the trail of Don Quixote's mythical locations.

ELS NOMS DE CRIST, Spain 2010, 193 min

Episodic film, divided into 14 chapters, based on the play "De los nombres de Cristo" (1586), by Fray Luis de Leon and intended for an exhibition.

EL CANT DELS OCELLS, Spain 2008, 93 min

The Three Wise Kings travel in search of the Messiah who has just been born.

HONOR DE CAVALLERIA, Spain 2006, 107 min

Based on the novel "El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes.