Albert Serra has been a shooting star in the international film community, roaring onto the scene with his Honor de Cavalleria, a quiet, near irreverent take on Don Quixote that finds its characters wandering the Catalan countryside. He followed that with the beautifully photographed portrait of the Three Kings story, Bird Song. Both films screened in the Canens festival and both have been heralded as masterpieces of new Classicism.
However little is known about Serra’s first feature Crespia, The Film Not The City. Featured in Rotterdam’s First Things First program, Crespia could only be described as a rough beginnign to his career. A film that resembles th amateurness of films submitted to universities as admission projects, the vastness between this project and his subsequent films is a chasm nearly as wide as the Grand Canyon. Serra’s first effort can only be described as DIY, and not in the John Moritsugu or early Sadie Benning way, more like in the youtube I have a video camera and I’m dying to just make a film way. Featuring much of the same cast as his later efforts, this film also has major roles for all fo the crew who worked on his later films.
Serra introduced the film along with the cast of eight. The actor who played Sancho in Honor de Cavalleria was not a part of this project , although Serra informed the audience at the films introduction that Crespia was Sancho’s favorite film… ever. That he watched it several dozen times infact. He was such a huge fan, that the cast invited him to join them for later projects. Serra went onto say, well this is the type of movie the audience would give many stars and the critics none. In a way he’s right since the film is really rough, but it overflows with such joy that its hard not to love it.