Jul, 2016: Alberto Bougleux

  • Alberto Bougleux Migrant City

    2015,  7’18” (excerpt)

    A photographer papers large anonymous spaces in Barcelona with hundreds of portraits of its inhabitants. In his installations, the city’s thousand migrant stories come together.  Far from the rhetoric of emergency, Ciudad Migrante reveals the irreducibly mestizo soul of a southern European metropolis and explores a future of integration that is already here.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Photographs and urban installations: Joan Tomás

    Runtime: 75’

    Production: Martín Habiague/Mescladís

    DOCField Barcelona 2015.


  • Alberto Bougleux Ten Hours from Home

    2015, 3’34” (excerpt)

    Seven stories of migrants from Bosnia, Ukraine, Morocco, India and the Philippines shot in Austria, Ukraine, Spain and the UK shed new light on the EU as a crossroads of transnational identities.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 35’

    Production: European University Institute

    Country: Italy

    Broadcasted on Sky Reteconomy (Italy), 2015

  • Alberto Bougleux The Last Day

    2014,  7′ (excerpt)

    A tale of a school on the island of Alicudi, probably the smallest in Italy and perhaps even in Europe. The story of Teresa, a teacher from Milan, who chose it as her life’s mission. The adventures of her last three unpredictable pupils, now on the threshold of adolescence. In the microcosm of the island, a meditation on the end of childhood and the ultimate meaning of creating a school.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 52’

    Country: Italy

    Production: Museo del Cinema di Stromboli

    Visioni Italiane (Jury Prize) 2015, SalinaDocFest 2015 (opening documentary)


  • Alberto Bougleux The Island


    In a little southern Italian village, one day the school director decides to give the local Moroccan immigrant community a room in the school for meeting and prayer. From a remote corner of the Mediterranean, a unique story of integration and a powerful message against Islamophobia.

    Direction, photography, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 15’

    Country: Italy

    Production: ZaLab, Museo del Cinema di Stromboli, Soros Foundation

  • Alberto Bougleux The Portraitist

    2013,  3’08” (excerpt)

    A rural Republican school in the 1930s. A lost world seen through the eyes of children learning to write. The utopia of a school teacher, cut short by war and dictatorship. A forgotten story that reappears on the other shore of the sea.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Original idea and research: Sergi Bernal

    Runtime: 52’

    Country: Spain

    Biografilm Festival 2014, Memorimage 2014, Festival Internacional de Cine de los Derechos Humanos Buenos Aires 2015. DVD: Editorial Blume


  • Alberto Bougleux Something for Tomorrow

    2012, 3’06” (excerpt)

    Shot in Spain, France, Italy and Greece, Something for Tomorrow tackles the issue of European citizenship in times of crisis, telling nine European stories of mobile citizens.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 35’

    Production: Moveact

    Screened at the European Parliament, 2013

  • Alberto Bougleux The Magician

    2011, 3’23” (excerpt)

    The visual and emotional memories of a painter on the island of Stromboli through the lights and colours of her studio, still intact 20 years after her death.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Original music: Davide Liuni

    Runtime: 7’

    Country: Italy

    Production: Museo del Cinema di Stromboli


  • Alberto Bougleux Song for Amine

    2009, 4’57” (excerpt)

    The hidden tragedy of state terrorism during the years of bloodshed in Algeria (1991-1999) through the life of Nassera Dutour, an Algerian mother who, after the disappearance of her son Amine, dedicates her life to the movement of victims’ families who continue to fight for truth and justice.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 52’

    Country: Spain

    Production: Sodepau

    DocumentaMadrid 2010, Movies That Matter 2010, Paris Human Rights International Film Festival 2010. www.memorial-algerie.org

  • Alberto Bougleux Vittorio De Seta – The Grammar of Documentary

    2008, 2’16” (excerpt)

    One of the last interviews with Vittorio de Seta: the poetry and simplicity of one of the last great masters of Italian cinema. Interview broadcast on Italian public television after his death.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 10’

    Country: Italy/Spain

    Production: Quaderni del CSCI

    Broadcast on RAI – Italian Broadcasting Company on the death of the filmmaker, 2011

  • Alberto Bougleux Passacaglia

    2008, 4’22” (excerpt)

    A journey through the history of Catalonia, from Francoism to the Transition and the present day, in the form of the first-person biography of Father Cassià M. Just, organist and abbot of Montserrat from 1966 to 1989.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 20’

    Production: Cerca- Grup de Recerca

  • Alberto Bougleux The Family Book

    2007, 5’13” (excerpt)

    A Rabat theatre company goes on tour around the villages of southern Morocco with a show to tell people about the new family code, passed in 2003 but still unknown in the country’s more rural areas. It is thanks only to an intense house-to-house visit through the alleys of earthen homes that Naima, the company’s determined promotor, manages to get them to see a show that is about their rights and their future.

    Direction, camera, editing: Alberto Bougleux

    Runtime: 20’ (excerpt)

    Country: Spain

    Production: Desenvolupament Comunitari

I started working in documentary film almost by accident. In 2001, I was going to graduate with a thesis about the war in Bosnia Hercegovina. Some friends invited me to spend a winter in Mostar, in the south of the country which was still in ruins, to make a documentary about the youth associations that were struggling to re-emerge and overcome, by means of creativity, the ethnic fractures that had left 3500 dead in the city. I went with a friend and a camera that would look like a toy today. Before us we had six months, a little money, a winter of -15º in a house badly restored by the UNHCR, a coal stove, a 1985 Golf 2 to scale the mountains that separated us from Sarajevo and to lose ourselves on snow-covered trails leading to Goražde and the Republika Srpska. Ice, haystacks, toppled minarets, elusive priests, mystics of Medjugorjie, the memory of the last ethnic cleansing in Europe. And freedom. To find out, to ask, to lose ourselves, to tell. And to laugh with the Bosnians about everything, even the mines.

After 15 years devoting myself heart and soul to the cinema of reality, it is plain that I never returned from that journey. The vertigo produced by the openness, the other and the road that lies ahead, have drawn me forcibly to unobtrusive parts of the world to listen to dozens of lives lived face to face with the obstinate pain of rebirth. I have listened to the grief of mothers in the suburbs of Algiers for children torn away and dissolved into nothingness by a murderous state. I have seen illiterate women in earthen houses who learn to defend themselves from the violence of their men in a makeshift theatre in the dust of the Sahara. I have counted the bones scraped from the bottom of a mass grave high in the mountains of Castile and listened to the voice of a 95-year-old man recalling how they killed his schoolmaster there. With barely a hesitation, with another friend I followed the impalpable thread of his memory to a region of forests that overlook the Gulf of Mexico, and I went to tell his story to the children in the last school in Patagonia. Just around the corner, in the deep shadow of anonymous houses in a city in the Mediterranean, I have seen lives fleeing from persecution and hate, seeking nothing more than a place with a little love. Meanwhile, in a tiny school on a lost island, where I partly grew up, I have met children who even build barricades to hide from life. Perhaps it is this that I’ve been chasing throughout so many journeys, without quite knowing why: the thread of inquiry that always binds the immanence of pain and the irredeemable need of the world to start over. And from this insoluble enigma, I have simply tried to salvage the imprint of the eye.


We live in a prostituted, sponsored world that we can hardly call our own, because it really is the world of just a few who make life miserable for many others, with the added risk of condemning future generations to a life of insecurity on a ravaged planet. Two of the things we need most are education (not just what they call “awareness”) and social criticism—that is, control of the excesses of the political powers that be, the powers have a monopoly on what they call legitimate violence.

As a great lover of collective projects at the service of the yearnings that drive many, Alberto Bougleux is an intelligent, sensitive filmmaker whose work deserves to be known to more people. He presents us with real stories in an attempt to understand others; sometimes sad stories about escape and breaking with the past, but which highlight the rebirth that is sometimes inherent in them, offering encouragement and confidence to those who find themselves in this type of situation. His is a respectful, serene, reflective look at “dozens of lives faced with the intractable pain of being born again”.

His documentaries work with open screenplays, with an eye to what is going on during filming, to what is called for, using his camera (Bougleux is an excellent cameraman) as an instrument of research. Aesthetically, he adopts the metaphor of Sicilian Vittorio da Setta (maker of one of the most beautiful films about shepherds, Banditi a Orgosolo, his first work, in 1961), where the poetry of the film is like salt: it conserves food—the content—perfectly. (Though we know there is no such thing as eternal beauty or truth, that both are historical and that there are epochs in which, as Valéry said, “Virgil is useless”.)

In the editing process, his musical training comes to the fore, structuring the soundtrack like music or, as he says, using the film’s elements and characters as “an orchestra of involuntary instruments”. Bougleux has digested all the films he saw in Bologna as a student, producing a serene style that is an invitation to empathy with and reflection about his characters.

His work is concerned with education (The Last Day and The Island are examples)—not the double-dealing kind that purports to educate the masses, but education about people, for people. “The education of the masses-child! That would be Herod’s own pedagogy, absolutely monstrous”, as Antonio Machado’s Juan de Mairena said. The problem of identity (religious, cultural, national, ethnic, etc.), of the necessary coexistence between different identities in today’s globalized world, is one of the most complicated yet most pressing issues to address in this accelerated age in which we live. As the teacher in The Island says (2013): “Giving space means offering possibilities of socialization, exchange and dialogue; the possibility of constructing something…” More space in the general media should also be given to works like Alberto Bougleux’s. Some of his work, created with a particularly light touch, has nothing to envy in recent celebrated Spanish documentaries.

Félix Pérez-Hita (filmmaker and cultural critic)

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