new york city PREMIERE!
After being abroad for ten years, Clara comes back to Buenos Aires, where she grew up, to give birth to her first daughter, Alma. While she is waiting to give birth, she finds a box that contains film footage. She discovers that the footage is part of a lost movie her great-grandmother Enriqueta Salas made in 1928, becoming Argentina’s first female director. Though the movie itself no longer exists, these twelve minutes of silent-era outtakes miraculously remain. With these fragments, Clara embarks on a journey, traveling to original locations, shooting new footage, and interviewing family members, historians, and everyday people such as taxi drivers that she meets along the way. Lo que no se ve ni se oye is an exquisite corpse made between two filmmakers from the same family, one hundred years apart.
About the director:
Clara Cullen is an Argentine filmmaker living in Los Angeles, she works on a range of formats from Video installation, Opera, Film and Documentary. The theme of her family is alway present in her work. Clara studied filmmaking at the Universidad del Cine. When Cullen moved to New York City, she attended Parsons School of Art, during which time she worked for Spike Lee and trained with Werner Herzog. With the support of Nowness, she directed a series of short films: Beauty is a form of Genius, Airtight, Above and Below and Max that launched her carrier. Inspired by the dark web, she directed her debut opera Hercules in Mato Grosso in 2015, staged at the Dixon PlaceTheater in the Lower East Side of NewYork. In 2016 she was selected to do a residence at the Prada Foundation in Venice. In 2019, Clara premiered Should I lose you at the prestigious art museum and performative space The Shed in NYC. In 2021 she presented her documentary Lo que no se ve ni se oye, in IndieLisboa film festival, Visions du Réel, SEMINCI and FITBA. In 2023 she will release her first feature film Manuela starring Barbara Lombardo and Alma Farago, produced by Julia Solomonoff and Helena Martel Seward.
“When I got pregnant with Alma I felt a deep need to go back home, just like salmon back to the stream they were born to give birth, I knew to start this new chapter of my life I needed to do the same. When I got to Buenos Aires I was 7 month pregnant. Instead of preparing the nest I started investigating this mysterious box that I found in my grandfather’s office when he passed away. It contained old footage… The title was: A life story. I took it to the lab and by the faces of the woman who looked at it I knew I had a treasure in my hands. They had never seen anything like that. They keep telling me how old it was. How amazing the quality of the film was. That was the beginning of it all.”
“Once I found out this was my great grandmother and that she was a Total badass and on top of that she was Argentina’s first filmmaker I was very motivated to make this film. Inside the mysterious box we found only 12 minutes of footage. This were the outtakes of the film so for instance, the character will come into the scene and then leave the scene. Everything that happen in the scene was gone. At that point I was reading Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto “Nadja” and I wanted to fill the gaps of the story she made, to create one of those surrealist drawings where somebody starts it then folds the page and pass it on, an exquisite corpse. The film is called “Lo que no se ve ni se oye”, which comes from a famous Deleuze excerpt talking about off camera: What is not heard or seen but it’s present. Going back to my pregnancy you can relate the two elements, the story of my great gram other who I count see or hear and my own baby who I couldn’t hear or see.”
“I shot this documentary for 2 months until 2 days before giving birth and then I kept shooting interviews one week after Alma was born. I can hear during my mothers interview Alma crying on the background.”