Producer (Burning Blue - Colombie)

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I think of filmmaking as a product of its time, as a witness, in diverse ways, of what is contained in this time, of what we feel and express through esthetics, form, and all types of narratives. Perhaps, given this personal conception and within the realm of what might be said about CRITICISM, reaching beyond the clichés, I like to see it as the thoughts that arise in response to works, especially cinematographic works.

In my own career, which is diverse and ranges from producing to creating and even programming, the meaning of criticism has been fundamental. I refer here to criticism not linked to the media or a simple journalistic event, to criticism that goes well beyond reviewing, to criticism that, on the contrary, is concerned with WEAVING and, to me, is an act akin to connecting the different dots in a constellation, which one, as a creator, occsionally is far from seeing.

It is the critic who sees with a “clean and expanded” vision, one charged with complete meaning, who represents the pathway of the FABRIC : he, or she, who unites. The exercise of criticism places sentiment and thought in the very place where time, history, and human beings converge. How difficult it must be to be a critic! Which is why, in the words of Luis Opsina, I am a mere “film laborer” and, from this meek condition, I also wonder constantly about the power we confer to criticism; necessary, essential, undoubtedly, but also blurred by the mediatic presence, by celebrity, by fashion and vampirism. I’m frightened by that unbridled need for the “new”, for the present without future or past in which we now seem to live. This “blurry” form of criticism also brings with it the immediate, which in its eagerness to “exist” (in other words, to be published) ends up being criticism of the moment, “breaking” news, and often affects, especially, outsider and fragile films that, paradoxically, are most in need of criticism and validation.

On the other hand, how lovely to discover discourses that reconnect those dots in the “history” constellation and do not systematically speak of “watersheds”, as if works were isolated products. How wonderful to find beauty and meaning in the simplest of things! The critical process that may arise out of immediate perception but that takes time to think about itself is, in my opinion, the exercise in thought that contributes most to filmmakers and to the viewing public.

In the exercise of criticism one discovers a beautiful craft, feared perhaps, given the fragility of what we do and the way that criticism can become a validator or executioner, but it is here that I am reminded of the meaning of creative work, of our attempts to construct, as the fabric that acquires complete meaning through its contact with others; with criticism, of course, but beyond that, with all those who complete the work, the discursive, formal path that we as filmmakers travel.

Diana Bustamante