Tag Archives: Colombia

Popped in the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle

Popped in the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle – every time I pass there, there’s some new feature. A new screen, even a whole new floor – it seems really thriving. There’s a new café on the ground floor now, and what was the café on the top floor is now a gallery space:) There I found a wonderful installation by Spanish artist Juan delGado – The Flickering Darkness (Revisited).


It’s a film about the Corabastos Market in Bogota, evoking the daily pre-dawn ritual of setting up this gigantic food market. I was first struck by the beauty of the colours – a tray of purple fruits or a wall worn to a unique green. There’s the tangible feel of early morning: things waking up, the earth starting to stir, the hum of activity starting; outside it’s still dark and truck lights glitter the across the car park, bare bulbs sparkle over a stall like stars. This is a working place with no time to stop and wonder; but this film brings out an intensely beautiful aspect too. The sound of the film is stunning – the hubbub of industry and commotion, beautifully edited and strangely comforting and relaxing.

The artist has chosen to use a split-screen – for the most part a three-way split, and it works brilliantly. He also works from a variety of camera angles – low on the floor for instance – to make us really feel inside the market. Often we are in a passageway, with goods and people passing by. We can admire the skilful stacking and sure-footedness in such a compact space. People are rushing, lifting, climbing, working hard – there’s a lot to do! It’s like setting up a mini-city every morning! There’s a feeling of working against the clock – yet at the same time, a kind of calmness; these are practised movements and everything has its place and rhythm. There are wonderful insights into astonishing, unsung skills – how to shell peas, one-handed, in a micro-second…

The food itself is almost sculptural – an assortment of gorgeous shape and colour and sometimes mystery. Yet we know the abundance comes with strings attached – there’s an implication that this is part of a system which we should at the very least be aware of as we enjoy its riches. The final segment of the film moves to the actual consumption of the food in question (it might make your mouth water), at a variety of kitchens and dinner tables. One could say, however, that the further removed the food gets from the marketplace, the less tangible it becomes; the very last scene isn’t so much about eating as taking and filling up a plate.

Anyway, lovely, sensory film-making from Juan delGado – maybe it will come on tour near you…


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