Citizen of the World

La Voz de Galicia – December 11, 2020 →

Cristina PatoThe evening was so cold, so gray, that I did not feel like going out for my walk. I had spent all day writing, and I only wanted to disconnect without feeling guilty for not doing today what I also could have done tomorrow. And because I could not find the strength to walk aimlessly, I headed to one of my havens: documentaries.

And I thought about Orson Welles because Xan and I had planned to watch Citizen Kane that same night, so a documentary on the life of the movie’s director would be a good way to learn and, at the same time, to disengage. The point is that at a moment in the documentary, an old Orson Welles began to talk about his own relationship with art, and about it had changed with the years, and without realizing it, I stopped listening to him and began to think about how my own relationship with art had also changed. And in some way, I ended up subsumed in my own particular spiral about what the arts mean in society, and about the responsibility we take up when we choose this path and…

The documentary ended, and the computer, with its algorithm that knows all and relates all, moved on to the next film without requesting permission. And suddenly there began to play Coral de Ruada singing Negra Sombra just below Orson Welle’s voice! These were the opening minutes of the historic 1937 documentary The Spanish Earth, written by Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, directed by Joris Ivens.

And that strange connection between Orson Welles and the choral of my adolescence in this other side of the world was made possible by that quote of Castelao to which I always hold on to when I am lost: «There is a force that pushes us towards the world and another one that yokes us to the native land…» And so, overwhelmed by my own thoughts, I finally went for my walk.

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