The inner core of the story of Nación [Nation] are Nieves, a Sibyl-like character, and a group of female workers playing the role of spinners, revealing to us what the end of an era of female labour in factories represents. Their experience reaches us through vestiges, signs, images of the body as an archive of personal and communal events, which place pitched battles in the hands and in the throats of those desperate not to lose their jobs. And the echoes of a quotation: “It took us so long to become a Nation”, mirrored in the collapse of the pottery, textile and canning factories. The marks this demise leaves in the film are inscriptions of moments of existence, of voices that clash with the official iconography of women as “disposable” objects. They are actions that maintain “No”, that tempt fate, that express themselves in feminine, that break down the walls. It is a return to the happy years that are preserved by some archives.
Nieves is both herself and all the women who, condemned to return “home”, search for an alternative. The coexistence with Mónica de Nut, performer and precarious worker, brings to the surface a tale that transits memory and imaginary until breathing in tune with the film. The sphinx’s voice, aimed at opening and closing the film, deviates from its role and lets itself be dragged by a body that, through this action, releases fears. The sound architecture composed by Mercedes Peón, substantive element of the atmosphere of Nación, keeps pace with images whose origins, imperfections and different formats bring us closer, in some instances, to a family film always beating in time with sisterhood.
PURPOSE OF FILME
I always rate Nación as a film following the arthouse cinema tradition, a film that deals with how long it has taken us women to gain rights, not only voting rights but also the right to paid work and the right to independence. In a nutshell, how much it has cost us to become Nación [become a nation]. One of the factories I have chosen is A Pontesa, because it covers a period (1961-2001) that experienced changes in political spheres and in the capitalist system; because pottery, textiles and canning, namely, things related to food and clothing, are branches that represent the Access of women to the labour market.
Nación is a low-budget, non-fiction film that I started out financing with the proceeds from an award. With it I’m trying to give continuity to a line of work that contributes to the building of a new canon for genre filmmaking, a canon that goes beyond using female characters as leading roles and supports working film expression both politically and in different registers. Thematically, I have tackled the demise of industrial work and the fact that women are the first affected, picking up once again the different and painful paths back to the “home” and to their secular ghosts of hysteria, silence, exclusion of desire.
That’s why Nación is filming from the body as an archive of little personal and communal events; it is filming what has been lived as an index, as a vestige, as a memory, on the sidelines of the patriarchal narrative. That’s why Nación the film links images that have self-registered and registered the actions and voices of women in different situations and eras.
Giving a new meaning to the archive material from the present; working the inscription of class and feminism; thinking of cinema always from a cultural perspective and in its original version… Nación is a type of cinema that focuses on the search itself, the real expressed through an authorial proposal; it is the body that breathes in tune with the film; it is the return to the public sphere of the woman forced to lock herself away, once again, in a hidden space. It is the search for those signs that are in the intimacy of history and that are accompanied by the “No”.