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Berlinale Bloggers 2020
Obliterated from spanish history

Reha-Xustina Bolekia Bueriberi
Reha-Xustina Bolekia Bueriberi | © Javier Fernández Vázquez

Javier Fernández Vázquez is co-founder of the experimental and documentary film collective Los Hijos, which has created numerous key works in these genres. In the “Forum” section, the director presents his solo debut “Anunciaron tormenta”.

By Javier H. Estrada

Cast in documentary form, the film is a reflection on forgotten parts of Spain's past. It deals with a story known only to a few: in 1904, one of the last kings of the Bubi people died under unknown circumstances in Equatorial Guinea, an important Spanish colony at the time. Today, hardly anyone remembers this legacy.


Fernández Vázquez comprehensively investigates this long-past incident. More than a hundred years later, he browses through various archives, sets out on his own to uncover traces of the kingdom in Guinea and documents the current situation in the country. The filmmaker invites a new generation to speak out and exposes an all-pervading, unforgiveable obliteration of the past. At times he seems like an archaeologist who looks at things no one else wants to see, until at some point memory – and with it possibly justice – returns. The technique of cross-fading serves him as an intelligent and effective tool. The old images slowly become more clearly visible – like a memory being brought back to life.


Anunciaron tormenta is framed as a ceaseless search, both aesthetically and politically. Fernández Vázquez combines photos from the colonial era with shots of actors reading aloud documents from the kingdom and of young people from Equatorial Guinea expressing what the people of the country feel. The film mixes moving and still images as well as voices from past and present. In this way a portrait is created that warns us of the dangers of a loss of memory for the future. This work is also an astute essay on the cruelties of colonialism and a compelling plea for active remembrance.