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Casanova and Dracula at the core of Albert Serra’s new film

Catalan Director Albert Serra’s latest film, Història de la meva mort (The story of my death), which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, is now screening in Barcelona cinemas. The Catalan Director has been praised internationally for his creativity and innovative style. In this film, Serra has reflected on the transition from rationalism to romanticism by focusing on two emblematic figures: Casanova and Dracula. Serra has linked two different imaginaries: first addressing the rationalism of the eighteenth-century, embodied by a “sensual” Casanova, “communication and command, which will succumb to the world of romance where everything is metaphysical, esoteric and violent”. Dracula will epitomise nineteenth-century romanticism.

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17 January 2014 05:23 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Albert Serra’s latest film, Història de la meva mort (The story of my death), which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, is now screening in Barcelona cinemas. The Catalan Director has been praised for his creativity and innovative style and was listed by the Cahiers du Cinéma and Fil Comment amongst the fifteen most significant contemporary film directors of the past decade. Serra achieved international recognition with his second film, Honor de cavalleria (Cavalry honour), which was presented at the 2006 Cannes Festival.  In Història de la meva mort, Albert Serra has reflected on the transition from rationalism to romanticism by focusing on two emblematic figures: Casanova and Dracula. As he explained during the film presentation, he was interested in portraying and linking two different imaginaries: first addressing the rationalism of the eighteenth-century, embodied by a “sensual” Casanova, “communication and command, which will succumb to the world of romance where everything is metaphysical, esoteric and violent”. Dracula will epitomise nineteenth-century romanticism, putting a brutal end to the time of Enlightenment, while Casanova’s life draws to a close. Història de la meva mort (The story of my death) was named in reference to Giacomo Casanova’s Story of My Life famous autobiography, published in 1825.


Last October, when Serra first presented his film in Catalonia, at the Filmoteca de Catalunya (Catalan Cinematheque), he explained that he had wanted these two rather abstract concepts, rationalism and romanticism, to be visually materialised before the audience, “in a concrete and unpretentious manner”. The Catalan film-Director said he had wished to recreate these concepts through “very free and new imagery”, describing the film as “pure, simple, sensual and speaking of desire”.

Serra pointed out that the film “had come to life in a very natural way, more spontaneously, and secretively” than usually. He acknowledged that the people who had seen the film had wondered whether the dialogues had been improvised or actually written beforehand. In this respect, Serra said he preferred to use the word performance where “everything can be planned” rather than merely improvised. “In this film, there is this underlying ambiguity especially regarding the actors’ work”, he stated.

Casanova as a mythical figure for all Catalans

Vicenç Altaió, the former Director of Barcelona’s Santa Mònica Arts Centre, is the protagonist of the movie. During the presentation, he also praised Serra’s creative mind for constantly being at work and said that “all Venetians and Catalans are Casanovas while the Spanish have another myth of their own with Don Juan”. “The difference is very obvious: Casanova charms, persuades, and uses tricks, while Don Juan imposes things”, he added.

Noucinemart, the organiser of ‘D'A’, Barcelona’s International Festival for independent films, \u200B\u200Bis the distributor of Història de la meva mort, which was screened on the 20th of December in Girona’s Truffaut cinema and on the 10th of January in the Boliche cinema in Barcelona and the Renoir cinema in Madrid. Now it is on screen again at the Boliche and the Zumzeig movie theatres of the Catalan capital.

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  • A caption from 'Història de la meva mort', by Albert Serra (by Andergraun / ACN)

  • A caption from 'Història de la meva mort', by Albert Serra (by Andergraun / ACN)