Antonio Maenza Blasco (b. 1948)
El lobby contra el cordero (1968)
This is a brilliant and funny experimental film from Zaragoza in 1968.

There is no audio track: Maenza's films were never mastered or fitted with sound. This rip comes from a digitized work print. His films were sometimes screened with live voice performance commenting on and/or enacting what unrolls visually. This film was based on Händelequia, an experimental piece of concrete writing and collage by Maenza that may have been published in some form though I have found no traces of it yet.

El lobby contra el cordero (1967-68), [Maenza's] debut, was devised as a truly revolutionary film in the broadest sense (not only ideological but also formal).

Maenza plunges into a genuinely delirious narrative of unintelligible accumulations where it makes no sense to try to find causes and effects. It takes shape from the liturgy's symbolic sacrifice of the lamb, meta-cinematic reflections and declarations, and what might be called a "testimonials of the time" (student demonstrations, all reference to mass culture, etc.. ).

The film is constructed as if through automatic writing, in the spirit of Surrealism and Dada. Maenza seems, in particular, to be emulating the patterns (cumulative action) of Un chien andalou (1929): where action occurs in an apparently random fashion without any cause-and-effect. Thus, the starting script (Händelequia) is made ​​with elements taken from the everyday experience of the filmmaker (comics, advertisements, photographs, etc..) and reassembled. The heterogeneous nature of the project results in complete destruction of the logic of continuity of mainstream cinema, demolishing one stroke fundamentals as raccord and therefore the suture, plunging the viewer into a total confusion.

The film, therefore, reveals a fundamentally discontinuous and fragmented structure, typical of collage and assemblage (carried to its logical conclusion by integrating into itself several lengthy fragments from other films - Night Owls ([Laurel & Hardy]1930) among others -, which makes it even closer to the appropriation or the ready-made). In this way, the film declares an affinity with the period's pop aesthetics which similarly employed these techniques. Can be traced in this regard over the footage, a compendium iconographic certainly lead us to think about the works of Lichtenstein and Warhol. But this fascination (or idolatry) by a playful and media iconography is not nothing but ironic and critical reflection on the banality of the image in the consumer society, just as Godard had been doing since the mid-60. We find, in fact, many reminiscent of the French filmmaker such as the sequence filmed on the porches of the Paseo de la Independencia where the streets are decorated with large colorful posters that remind us inevitably of Made in USA (1966).

Maenza, from all this, build a dynamic space where architectural elements (a cemetery, a pond, a church, a ditch of a street works, etc..) as well as objects are participants in the characters' liturgical processions.

All scenes are mounted in the manner of happenings. Very in tune with the dérives practiced by the Situationists (which was intended to transform urban space into a makeshift living and collaborative stage), each scene builds Maenza from creating improvised situations and out of context. Recall for example the scene where one of the "characters" placed a mannequin interrupting the circulation (real) of a tram, or sequences in which a woman wanders (to the amazement of pedestrians) in a dance- ritual in front of the statue of Justice and the monument to Juan de Lanuza. This form of "staging" is crucial to formal and stylistic level in both frames (apparently little care, mainly due to constant use of improvisation) and the movements and movements of the camera. The latter is explicitly evident in the lobby where the camera moves Maenza with such freedom that seems to be an extension of your body. For if there is anything particularly striking in the realization of the film, it is precisely this sense of freedom they breathe their images - where anything is possible - and this is precisely this attitude apparently "innocent" and "coarse" almost "primitive" (an aspect which relates this film with Pasolini's first film, which Maenza greatly admired), a filmmaker is confronted for the first time with a camera, without prejudice, as if it were a new toy that has fallen for the first time into his hands. But on the other hand, make no mistake, the film also reflects a desire to intentionally break from any kind of academic structure or orthodoxy in order to find a unique mode of expression.

Note that there is occasional ghosting from an imperfect deinterlace somewhere along the way.