69th edition. October 18-26, 2024

‘Ciutat Dels Morts’, by Miguel Eek, is a documentary that aims to “bring us closer to death”

Miguel Eek, Virginia Galán, Jordi Carrasco, Johanna Tonini and Marta Castells

10/23/2019.- This Wednesday, October 23, the Spanish Cinema section featured the film Ciutat Dels Morts (The City of the Dead), directed by Miguel Eek. It tells the story of those who live with death day after day. Through real, everyday situations, the film brings us closer to an unknown reality, as experienced first-hand by those living in the city of the dead.

The screening took place in the Valladolid Broadway Cinemas. The director took part in a discussion with the audience, and described his documentary as a “medium-length film,” because it is longer than a short film but no longer than an hour.

During the discussion, the director said that he came up with the idea after attending a couple of funerals a few years ago. In the first one, he says, he spent some time speaking about death with the gravedigger, and “I realized that growing up I was terrified to talk about death, but at that moment it brought me so much peace.” Everything was different during the second funeral, though, “there was much more distance, people didn’t talk about what was going on there, they talked about everything except saying goodbye to that person.”

That is where the director’s approach stemmed from: “Why not get closer to death?”. In order to answer this question, he decided to interview the workers. Miguel Eek said that the dialogues between the characters were improvised and that, for example, the two gardeners who appear in the film “started to get to know each other when we began shooting, so everything was easier.” He also said that the interviews with the city official were not real, that is, the people who are featured had not recently lost someone, so he asked them to “picture themselves in that situation.”

To finish with, he said that the filming lasted about a year and there were less surprises and difficulties than they had anticipated: “the most violent thing was seeing the images of the deceased.”

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