VAL DEL OMAR: ELEMENTAL DE ESPAÑA

José Val del Omar (1904-1982) was one of the most significant figures of Spanish avant-garde cinema. He was a contemporary and comrade of Federico García Lorca, Luis Cernuda, María Zambrano and other figures of the Silver Age of Spanish culture, interrupted by the Civil War, that formed the Generación del 36 (Generation of ’36). He was a poet, musician, inventor and “believer in cinema”, whose desire to realize a cinema beyond the limitations of the screen led him to invent “apanoramic overflow of the image” and the concept of “tactile vision.” His explorations in the field of electro-acoustics inspired him to develop “Diaphonic sound” which anticipated the structure of surround sound. His extraordinary artistic and technological talent led him to formulate the term P.L.A.T. – representing a totalizing concept of a Picto-Luminic-Audio-Tactile art. These techniques and more he applied in his masterwork TRIPTICO ELEMENTAL DE ESPAÑA (ELEMENTARY TRIPTYCH OF SPAIN), begun in 1953 and only finished after his death.

 
AGUAESPEJO GRANADINO (1953-55) — José Val del Omar

AGUAESPEJO GRANADINO (1953-55) — José Val del Omar

This deluxe Limited Edition box set presents the collected works of José Val del Omar fully remastered, and spread over 5 discs and 7-plus hours. The ELEMENTARY TRIPTYCH OF SPAIN is presented in Diaphonic sound, and is accompanied by several documentaries Val del Omar filmed in rural Spain in the '30s along with home-movie footage, a gallery of photographs taken on the Spanish Republic’s Pedagogic Missions, and a selection of films inspired by Val del Omar: LABORATORIO VAL DEL OMAR (VAL DEL OMAR LABORATORY), is a 2010 video made by Javier Viver that documents Val del Omar's technological innovations with extensive footage filmed in his still-existing workshop; and Eugeni Bonet's experimental feature TIRA TU RELOJ AL AGUA (THROW YOUR WATCH TO THE WATER, 2004), employs Val del Omar's spectacular late color footage, forming a meditation on time and the landscape of Andalusia. Also included is a 44 page bi-lingual booklet, in Spanish and English, with an introductory essay by Gonzalo Sáenz de Buruaga, detailed credits for each of the films, and comments from the contributing filmmakers. Bonus features include galleries of Val del Omar’s photos, collages, P.L.A.T. Essays and Diakines.

P.L.A.T. (Picto-Luminic-Audio-Tactile) Essays by Val Del Omar

P.L.A.T. (Picto-Luminic-Audio-Tactile) Essays by Val Del Omar

VAL DEL OMAR. ELEMENTAL DE ESPAÑA is dedicated to the works of the unique solitary inventor-artist José Val del Omar, the most notable of which is the formidable TRIPTICO ELEMENTAL DE ESPAÑA (ELEMENTARY TRIPTYCH OF SPAIN, shot between 1953 and the mid-'60s), without a doubt the most ambitious project in Spanish cinema history and one referred to by Amos Vogel in Film as a Subversive Art as 'an explosive, cruel work of the deepest passion...nameless terror and anxiety...one of the great unknown works of world cinema.'  The TRIPTICO is a series of three "elementales," (the name would translate as "elementary"), which Val del Omar proposed as a cinematic genre distinct from the documentary: AGUAESPEJO GRANADINO (WATER-MIRROR OF GRANADA, 1955) FUEGO EN CASTILLA (FIRE IN CASTILE, 1960), and ACARIÑO GALAICO (GALICIAN CARESS, begun in 1961 and completed posthumously in 1995 from Val del Omar's footage, recordings, and notes). Parts of the TRIPTICO won awards at the Cannes, Bilbao, and Melbourne film festivals in the late '50s and early '60s before disappearing from view for decades, noticed only by such diligent UFO-spotters as Vogel. Since the 1980s the films have occasionally been screened theatrically, most notably opening a 1982 retrospective of Spanish experimental film at the Centre Pompidou and inaugurating the Filmoteca de Andalucía in 1989, which has since recovered and restored several of Val del Omar's earlier documentaries."

- Matt Losada, Cinema Scope, Issue 46

 
Two images from Val del Omar's FUEGO EN CASTILLA (1958-60)

Two images from Val del Omar's FUEGO EN CASTILLA (1958-60)

“For Val del Omar, film was at once a magic lantern and the fruit of the Tree of Science, a machine equipped with an exceptional power (that of performing miracles), able to generate an art of audience seduction. After all, the same objective was pursued by the cinematographic illusions being made in Hollywood. And Val del Omar did not hesitate in describing its manner of working as a sort of coercion, only tolerable in the case of a higher motive: "The freedom of spectators can only be constrained for an important poetic reason," [...]

There were two sides to film Val del Omar believed: one of them was sacred, inspired by poets, and could make spectators ascend towards the light; the other was profane, developed by automatons and consigning humanity to remain in darkness. His efforts to turn the watching of a film into a transcendental act were subject to the tensions derived from this dichotomy. Thus, the possible use of his technical innovations, which were forced to unfold in parallel to the materialistic illusionism defining the film establishment as a whole, always had a down side, a shadow. [...]

In his essay "Val del Omar, poeta del cine", Manuel Villegas López made the following observation: "Val del Omar dreams of repeating the creation of time without history, and of thus finding the essence common to all things." AGUAESPEJO GRANADINO is one of the artistic expressions most in tune with that feeling produced by Spanish films. Granada - a city to which one always returns, as Val del Omar did - would never find a cinematographic expression that better reflected the past life described by Octavio Paz when referring to the age of poetry: that time before time, time that is not coded and reappears in the gaze of a child, primeval time. In this dimension, ... it is always the beginning and it is never too late. In other words, it is always time to approach the oeuvre of José Val del Omar simply, without prejudice, focusing less on his work as an inventor or a theoretician inevitably outstripped by History and more on his vocation as a poet of images and sounds who one fine day in 1935 proclaimed to all and sundry his faith in cinematography with the words:

I wanted to escape from the blackness of books.
I wanted to move towards the brightness of images.
Just as butterflies are drawn to light."

- Víctor Erice, "The Tears of Machines"

 
ACARIÑO GALAICO (DE BARRO) (1961, 1981-82, 1995) — José Val del Omar.

ACARIÑO GALAICO (DE BARRO) (1961, 1981-82, 1995) — José Val del Omar.

VAL DEL OMAR. ELEMENTAL DE ESPAÑA is a Limited Edition 5-Disc publication produced by Cameo Media, Barcelona and the Archivo Maria José Val del Omar & Gonzalo Sáenz de Buruaga, with the support of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Centro José Guerrero, and Diputación de Granada.

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)

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WATER-MIRROR OF GRANADA (AGUAESPEJO GRANADINO)
(Spain, 1953-55)

Director: José Val del Omar

• 21 minutes.
• 35 mm
• B&W, color 
• Diaphonic sound

VIBRATION OF GRANADA (VIBRACIÓN DE GRANADA)
(Spain, 1935)

Director: José Val del Omar

• 20 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W 
• Silent 

SCENES (ESTAMPAS)
(Spain, 1932)

Director: José Val del Omar, and other “missionaries.” 

• 13 minutes
• 16 mm
• B&W 
• Silent 

HOME MOVIE (PELICULA FAMILIAR)
(Spain, 1935-38)

Director: José Val del Omar

• 8 minutes
• 16 mm
• B&W 
• Silent

FIRE IN CASTILE (FUEGO EN CASTILLA)
(Spain, 1958-1960)

Director: José Val del Omar

• 17 minutes
• 35 mm
• B&W, color
• Diaphonic sound 

CHRISTIAN FEASTS – SECULAR FEASTS (FIESTAS CRISTIANAS – FIESTAS PROFANES)
(Spain, 1934-1935)

Director: José Val del Omar (In the section on the Holy Week in Cartegna, Val del Omar worked with filmmakers Rafael Gil, Gonzalo Menéndez Pidal and Cecilio Paniagua) 
Production: Culture Department, Murcia Region, 2004

• 51 minutes
• 16 mm
• B&W 
• Silent
• Recorded sound version, music by Alejandro Massó

GALICIAN CARESS (OF CLAY) (ACARIÑO GALAICO (DE BARRO))
(Spain, 1961, 1981-82, 1995)

Director: José Val del Omar
Assistant Director: Anric Massó

• 23 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W 
• Sound

ELEMENTARY TRIPTYCH OF SPAIN (TRIPTICO ELEMENTAL DE ESPAÑA)
(Spain, 1996)

Director: José Val del Omar

• 61 minutes
• 35mm
• B&W, Color 
• Diaphonic sound

VAL DEL OMAR SOUTH – NORTH (VAL DEL OMAR SUR – NORTE)
(Spain, 1974)

Director: Mario Sáenz de Buruaga

• 7 minutes
• Super 8mm
• Color 
• Silent 

OJALA VAL DEL OMAR
(Spain, 1994)

Director: Cristina Esteban 

• 55 minutes
• 35mm
• Color, B&W 
• Sound

VERTEX VORTEX (VÉRTICE VÓRTICE)
(acceleration trance expansion)
(Spain, 2002)

Concept & Editing Director: Antonella La Sala
Production: Instituto Cervantes, Madrid

• 12 minutes
• Video
• Color, B&W 
• Sound 
• A selection of unedited films by José Val del Omar on Super 8 and 35mm.

LABORATORY VAL DEL OMAR (LABORATORIO VAL DEL OMAR)
(Spain, 2009-2010)

Director: Javier Viver 

• 60 minutes
• Digital Betacam
• Color, B&W 
• Sound 

VAL DEL OMAR OUT OF HIS MIND (VAL DEL OMAR FUERA DE SUS CASILLAS)
[Noosphere, Aurora Phase II]

(Spain, 2010) 

Coordinator: Velasco Broca & Victor Berlin 

• 5 minutes
• 16 mm 
• Color, B&W 
• Sound 

THROW YOUR WATCH TO THE WATER (TIRA TU RELOJ AL AGAUA)
(Spain, 2003-04)

Director: Eugeni Bonet

• 88 minutes
• 35 mm
• Color 
• Sound

     _________________________________________

Bonus Material

• Pedagogic Missions Photo Gallery

• FIRE IN CASTILE Production Photo Gallery

ELEMENTARY TRIPTYCH OF SPAIN Photo Gallery 

• Collages

• PLAT Essays

• Diakinas

     _________________________________________
     _________________________________________

Total Running Time: 07:22:09 (5 Discs)

Language: Spanish. English subtitles. Spanish & English menus

Booklet Text: Gonzalo Sáenz de Buruaga (Bilingual Spanish & English)

Published By: Cameo Media

Institutional Price: $600 (plus shipping)

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.