"Is as much an experience as a movie”
"It’s one of the outstanding documentary discoveries of the year, and should be a major talking point in the festival circuit and beyond.”
"The film is a dark, sensory-stimulating look at the world beneath our feet"
The technical dream, deployed towards the exploration of space, has also motivated an inverse movement: the opening of a subterranean world. Beneath the modern city there lies an immense spider’s web that sits beneath the visible city dependent on it; a functional and essential space that also serves as a symbolic, hidden sphere: the unconscious of the city.
Title: La Ciudad Oculta
Internacional title: The Hidden City
Estimated length: 90 minutes.
Shooting format: 6K
Screening format: DCP
Country of production: Spain · France
Original language: Spanish · French · English
Subtitles: Spanish · French · English
Produced by: El Viaje Films · Rinoceronte Films · Pomme Hurlante Films
Production year: 2017
Release year: 2018
Aspect Ratio: 2,39:1
Sound: Dolby 5.1
Director: Víctor Moreno
Writers: Víctor Moreno y Rodrigo Rodriguez
Production: Jose A. Alayón
Cinematography by: Jose A. Alayón
Film editing by: Nayra Sanz
A specific space tends to be the source of inspiration in my films. In most of my work it is my main character, allowing me to focus on the people who inhabit these spaces from a position that strays from the habitual one. I delve into the space and its specific dynamics in an attempt to create a portrait of the spirit of this area over a given time. “The Hidden City” began in this manner. I had never seen the subterranean areas of a large metropolis before but the idea of discovering this buried universe has always intrigued me. One of the upsides of entering into this hidden world was that I was able to capture a space that has barely ever been filmed before. This gave me the opportunity to understand the goings-on of this space and its potencial for transformation and creation. That is to say I felt like an explorer in an unknown territory, traversing these little seen and little understood areas: the underground zones hidden beneath the modern metropolis. This exploration led me to think about Michel Foucalt’s idea of heterotopia and the idea of working with existing spaces that are unknown to us, despite being familiar. Parting from this premise I thought about the deep meaning of a place that remains a territory conquered by man, subsuming the natural environment to its needs.
How is it possible that this necessity to create new worlds carries so much weight? Without the aid of our technical abilities it would have been impossible to access these subterranean areas, meaning, that this area is an intrinsically human one; it is a clear representation of our own habitat. From this theoretical base I set out to force open the body of the metropolis to find its soul within; like a bird, swooping down to peer into a space, where I feel, a great part of our current problems are manifest. A world that though deeply human, seems at the same time to be dehumanized. A world where it seems as if we had lost any possibility to change ourselves, dispersed and fragmented into our own creation. From this journey through our own world, a world that remains the subconscious of a big city, the film began adapting the form of an urban symphony rather than a cause and effect narration.
The camera moves in a smooth and undulating manner and the editing is used to disorient the spectator at times. This is how I wanted to approach my work, creating a dreamlike state, converting the scenes into a dance, fluctuating between the real and the imaginary, documentary and science fiction, consciousness and subconsciousness. “The Hidden City” is a dérive; a winding journey not only through a concrete space but also through a state of mind. It is a mind-bending journey in an unexplored territory. It is a sensory film; an invitation to peek into a dark tunnel and discover, as much as we insist on living beneath domes of concrete and steel, our own abyss. Only nature seems capable of putting an end to our desire to control.