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Andrés Duque’s 'Color Runaway Dog'

The Venezuelan film director discusses his latest film, shown at last week's REC Tarragona International Festival of Cinema in Spain

Among work innovatively pushing the boundary between cinema and video-art at REC Tarragona International Festival of Cinema in Spain last week was Venezuelan director Andrés Duque’s Color Runaway Dog, a mesmerising, witty assemblage of personal archived footage streaked with gentle melancholia featuring everything from Venezuelan myth to a quaint and hauntingly poetic recollection about a suicidal pet. One of the most significant experimental filmmakers working in Spain today, the Barcelona-based director chatted over sangria about the film’s atypical genesis.

Dazed Digital: How did the idea for the film come about, and from where did you source the clips?
Andrés Duque:
I started the other way around - on the editing. It’s an editing-based film oriented towards a Catalan phrase not used anymore but which I loved a lot, “Colour of a runaway dog” - meaning a colour that’s not pure, something like a blur. And I had this accident - the scene where I jump on a bridge trying to stow away in a train actually happened and was the beginning of doing this because I had to spend two months in bed.

You see the window where I’m living which has the lousiest view so what better window than Internet. I was of course very bored, and I started getting into sex web cams and going on YouTube, spending a lot of time that I didn’t have before on this kind of new distribution media. I started downloading images that I liked, and conversations that I liked that I recorded, and put it on my hard-drive. Then suddenly I had a virtual memory of myself. I thought I could make sort of a line-map, something to connect these images and construct something more poetic.

DD: There’s a clip from Iván Zulueta’s Spanish cult film Arrebato - what’s your relationship to his work?
Andrés Duque: It’s important for me this year to rethink about Zulueta as he died in December the year before last and he was a very good friend of mine so for me it was very shocking. I did the documentary [Ivan Z.] about him, it was my first film and was in 2003. Since then we were always talking to each other. Arrebato is a film I saw in Caracas where I originally come from when I was 18 years old and it’s a movie that changed my life completely.

I was really exposed to auteur films when I was a kid, and that film told me that film was another thing beyond a concept, a story, it was something more like a geographer, an alchemist. You can get very hypnotised and that’s an effect that only films can have. I was obsessed with that film, so when I arrived in Spain in 2000 I started to look for him until I found him and then we became friends.

DD: Your work is very experimental in style- is it important for you it’s seen in a cinema rather than a gallery?

Andrés Duque: My films have been shown in galleries and museums but I think they need that dark room where you can sit. I’m not a conceptualist in my work, I’m very intuitive, and like Will More in Arrebato I love the rhythms that I find and I know that when I’m recording something there is a lot that you cannot explain by words but I know that people will connect with that.

DD: What’s the context of the footage shot in Venezuela?

Andrés Duque: Last year was a really strange year for me. It all started with that accident, and then I had to go back to Venezuela after almost 11 years because of some family issues. For me it was very shocking to go back because I’d totally cut the cord. I wanted to break with Venezuela but somehow when I got there I got very fascinated with getting reconciled again with a lot of things that I thought were dead already, some feelings and even memories and friends and even what I’d back then hated most - the chaos. Venezuela is so, so chaotic, but now I understand that it’s part of my identity and I was fed with that chaos, and now that chaos for me is important in my work. I somehow became conscious of that. And I’m still thinking about it.