• Flash Competition


Óscar Vincentelli

How can we record death and render it visible through images? This is the question Óscar Vincentelli tries to answer with his film La Sangre es Blanca. Based on the negatives of the 33 La Tauromaquia engravings made by Goya in 1816, the director invites us to witness the transformation of bodies at the approach of death. Taking bullfighting as his subject, he nevertheless strips it of all its traditional folklore in a quick gesture, as precise as it is sharp. Using a thermal camera, he exhibits the third act, the faena, a key moment in the fight preceding the killing. In a theatrical challenge, the matador shows off the technicality of his gestures, sword in one hand, muleta in the other, exhausting the bull just before the final thrust. By showing only the irradiation produced by the body, the thermal camera reduces perception to a contrast effect: black for cold, white for heat. In this exercise of observation and subtraction, we can only discern the outlines of the silhouettes cut out in the dark, caught in a dance of death. This device creates confusion: the heat reflects the material reality of bodies, but what we see are isolated specters in the arena of death. And the strangeness of this phantasmagorical, fascinating and chilling vision is only reinforced by the steadiness of the frame. For an instant, the sudden entrance of a strange animal interrupts the dull and sadistic violence of this silent drama… With no more landscape, no more colour, and almost no more sound, only the rustling of the muleta passes and the sound of hooves on the ground echo in the arena. It is only when the beast succumbs, collapsing to the edge of the frame of the picture, that one perceives the muffled whistles of off-screen spectators. The crime scene is then cleaned up. The white of blood gives way to the icy black of death.

(Louise Martin-Papasian)

  • Flash Competition

Technical sheet

Spain, Venezuela / 2021 / 13’

Original Version : No dialogue.
Script : Óscar Vincentelli.
Photography : Óscar Vincentelli.
Editing : Elisa Celda, María Antón Cabot.
Sound : Martín Scaglia.
Production : Carlos Pardo Ros (Dvein Films), Elisa Celda (Lejos Lejos), Óscar Vincentelli.
Filmography : Violeta + Guillermo, 2018. Lenda Negra, 2016. O tremor, 2015.