The Man with the Bag (2004)

Espai 13

Exhibition program
Cycle: Once upon a time?
Sebastian Diaz Morales
Curated by
Marie-Thérèse Champesme i Pascale Pronnier

39 min / pal / Dolby Surround System

Filmed in Patagonia on Panoramic Digital Video

With Gregg Smith

Script: Sebastian Diaz Morales in collaboration with Marina de La Fuente and Ricardo Amado Sound Engineer: Emanuel Diaz Morales

Production Manager:
Tania Press
Music: Canto Ostinato for two pianos by Simeon Ten Holt , played by Kees Wieringa and Polo de Haas Music Sound Engineer: Seamus Cater

Sound Mixing: Cyrille Laurier
Director: Sebastian Diaz Morales

Produced by: Le Fresnoy , Studio national des arts contemporains and Just Like A That Productions

“A man walking along a path through a deserted landscape. Carrying a bag , all his belongings. Stumbling again and again over the same obstacle , a stone. Fleeing from his own fears , never from a materialized sound. Crossing boundaries and always going in the same direction .” That is how Sebastian Diaz Morales sums up The Man with the Bag , and adds that in this simple storyline we can easily see a metaphor for human existence.

The film was shot in Patagonia , where Sebastian Diaz Morales comes from (he was born in 1975 in Comodoro Rivadavia , Argentina ). For him it was ‘natural' to go back to work in the place where he grew up , in that desert where the wind blows ceaselessly , and he hopes to give the territory a mythical dimension. “As new Patagonians , we do not have many myths through which to see reality. And so it will be increasingly difficult to look ahead. One always needs to believe in something to build something new. (…) If I make movies in this area it is , among other reasons , to lay the foundations of that myth.”

In The Man with the Bag , the wind plays an essential role , as much as the landscape , and “ one does not go without the other ”. As for Simeon Ten Holt's music , “ it reinforces a sense of repetitiveness that physically the land exudes. It also adds force to the sense of endless existence.”

The Man with the Bag
was filmed with two cameras placed side by side to show the landscape in its full sweep , but divided , and in that way to show the essential issue of boundaries and borders. That dividing line between the two images is an obstacle both for the audience and for the character which stumbles over it or has to choose between one side or the other. Morales' first idea was for the images to be perfectly aligned. But while he was making the film , he realised that he would never obtain an image divided exactly down the middle (the character sometimes split and sometimes disappeared) and he decided to turn this technical difficulty to his advantage.

To play the part of The Man with the Bag , Morales decided to ask Gregg Smith, a South African artist who was studying at the Fresnoy at the same time as him. Smith brings a burlesque dimension to the character, which one also finds in his own videos: that of a “strange and erratic character, unaware of his surroundings, dealing with situations which are both comical and serious”.

All the quotations are taken from an interview with Sebastian Diaz Morales by Geert-Jan Strengholt