IberoDocs 2017 – Filmmakers Daniel García and Aurelio Medina to Present their Documentary about Dennis Hopper’s Most Mysterious Movie
Hollywood didn’t like Dennis Hopper‘s third work, ‘The Last Movie’. In fact, he was banned from directing for ten years after its presentation. Its surrealistic touches, its unconventional narrative and its experimental nature fitted neither the canons of Universal Pictures nor those of the wider audience. Despite being generally disliked, it has inspired other cinematographic works. This is the case of ‘Rest in peace, Mr Hopper’, a documentary penned by Spanish filmmakers Aurelio Medina and Daniel García, that will part of the program of IberoDocs 2017 (10-14 May) with several screenings a a workshop on editing an postproduction.
“We were astonished when we watched ‘The Last Movie’. We didn’t get the story very well. It’s not even a good film but who cares? Something has brought us to Chinchero: the last part of the film”, says a voice-over followed by a powerful and hypnotic scene from Dennis Hopper’s movie.
“Who are those silent men running with wooden microphones and cameras?” the voice continues. “What movies would they have filmed?”
Aurelio Medina and Daniel García seem to answer those questions with their documentary, a tribute to Hopper’s tape but, above all, to the Peruvian town where it was filmed and to its inhabitants.
“The shooting took place in Chinchero, Peru, over 4 weeks. It was a brief experience but we lived it intensely, with many uncertainties and some findings”, says Daniel. “The film intends to reflect the process you face when you land in a completely unknown reality with the purpose of filming it. When we left Chinchero, it wasn’t difficult to imagine what Hopper must have felt in 1970 in the same situation. It’s a similar sensation to that of certain trips, not only related to filming, that is certainly worth experiencing”.
In fact, this documentary portrays that sensation of facing new realities from three different perspectives: that of those who come to film, the newcomers, such as Dennis Hopper, Aurelio Medina and Daniel García; that of the locals who receive these “foreigners”; and that of the audience, who watches the result of this encounter with distance, time and audio-visual editing as filters.
Scenes from ‘The Last Movie’, memories of those days in 1970 when Chinchero became a set, and images of a recent reality are put together in an edit that at times reveals what happens behind the scenes. Or is it all part of the script, as in Hopper’s movie?
Workshop, screening and Q&A
Aurelio and Daniel will be able to reveal their professional techniques in a workshop on editing and postproduction for documentaries organised by IberoDocs in partnership with Screen Academy Scotland. It’ll take place on May 11 at the Edinburgh College of Art as part of the program of IberoDocs 2017. This event is available to documentary students studying at Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh College of Art, and will last three hours.
Their film ‘Rest in Peace, Mr. Hopper’ will be screened during the days of the festival, having its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. The directors will also be there to offer a Q&A with the audience afterwards. Acción Cultural Española, an organisation to promote the Spanish culture both in Spain and overseas and that has contributed to previous editions of IberoDocs, is making this possible.
“We’re very happy that our film will be screened in Edinburgh, and also for having the opportunity, thanks to IberoDocs, to complement the screening with a workshop. Precisely, our film tells the story of a Hollywood shooting that took place in Peru, while we show the process of a film workshop that we held with a group of children in that very place. We think that sharing the documentary and discussing all its contradictions not only with viewers, but also in an educational context with students who are studying film, is very rewarding.”
Perhaps Aurelio and Daniel will decide to take this opportunity to shoot a new documentary while they are in Edinburgh? And make it possible, as they did in Chinchero, for young people to participate in a cinematographic experience as actors, sound assistants, camera operators or, why not, playing themselves? And to contrast the realities, points of view, or the experience of living in such different worlds within a single planet – whether it be Chinchero, Hollywood, Andalusia, or Scotland.
– Dennis Hopper… Did you say that he is dead?- Asks one of the ‘chincherinos’ who took part in the shooting in 1970.
– Yes, he died four or five years ago-, someone answers.
May you rest in peace, Mr. Hopper.
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This article was originally published in IberoDocs website.