First and Last Image 1998

“Memory is a Journey through time, where everything is present. Creation is a symbol of death and birth”.

Year: 1998

Super-8 mm, digital MiniDV, color

Voice over in english: Roberto Sifuentes

Narrative supervisor: Guillermo Gómez Peña

Original music: Fabio Lacolla

Cinematography: Enrique Collar

Editor: Fernando Rio

Producer and director: Enrique Collar

Based on texts by Charles Bukowski 

Assistant English: Irene Rachat

Screened once at the Centro Cultural de la Manzana de la Rivera, Asunción Paraguay, October 1999.

About

The Mid-America Arts Alliance/ United States Information agency awarded me a double fellowship as an appraisal of my work as a visual artist. Its proposition was that during one month I would visit six cities in the United States, which I could freely choose, and in which I was to conduct interviews with people who were at the avantgarde of the art scene. After this, I would take up a two months artistic residence at the “Atlantic Center for the Arts” in Florida, where I could work on a project of my choice. 

As I was at the time really into reading work by Charles Bukowski, I decided to combine my trip to the United States with his literature, with his memories, and to visit the settings in the cities where he had lived. Without a script but with a lot of wild ideas I began filming in super 8 mm in Paraguay, from which I left for the United States. Later, in Washington DC, my first stop, I managed to get hold of one of the first Handycams on the market. During my trip to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Santa Fe I was selecting texts by Henri Chinaski, weaving them together and working out a storyline. I added interviews with people in which I asked them about their experience with the earliest images they could remember having seen, but also about the last image they would want to see before they died. This way, everything came together somewhat organically as I selected the material I needed from my more than twenty hours of recordings.

Back then the MiniDV was still largely unknown and so to be able to process my material I finally ended up in Daytona Beach where a local analogical editor who covered social events helped me out in his studio, where he worked with the Hi-8 format. As I was editing I asked my friend Fabio Lacolla – an Argentinian musician – for certain atmospheric compositions that would add to my material a feel of “Road Movie”. I also told him I needed it within just one month and somehow he pulled it off and did an incredible job. But my luck did not end there, for after two weeks as an artist in residence, living in a cabin in the middle of a forest, and with the inhibition of not being able to speak a single sentence of English with the Atlantic Centre staff, two masters of the Performance Arts arrived, namely Guillermo Gómez Peña (Mexico) and Roberto Sifuentes (USA-Chicano). Roberto entered the recording studio and after a few beers he interpreted the Bukowski texts at first reading without fault. For me, it was a magnificent experience, it was the voice that I needed, the performance of a great artist. 

This way, in three months’ time, I made and finished my first film of almost one hour. When I returned to Paraguay I organized a screening in a cultural center in Asunción, in October 1999. Ever since, this material has been stacked, until recently, in august 2019, when I took with me the master copy that I now digitalized on hard disk.