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Juan Sebastián Bollaín: A Most Wanted Idea of Utopia, Program 2

Juan Sebastián Bollaín: A Most Wanted Idea of Utopia, Program 2

LA ALAMEDA ‘78 (Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1978)

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

Juan Sebastián Bollaín: A Most Wanted Idea of Utopia

Two programs of works never seen in the US

Online June 4-19

Live Conversation with guest curator Elena Duque on Sunday June 12, 1 pm Pacific Time

Tickets & program, Program 1:

Sliding Scale, requested $12 for general admission, $8 students/seniors, $0 for Filmforum members, at

(These include admission to program 2 as well!)

Tickets & program, Program 2:

Sliding Scale, requested $12 for general admission, $8 students/seniors, $0 for Filmforum members, at

Register in advance for the conversation on June 12, free:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

U.S. premieres!

Curated by Elena Duque

Newly subtitled films, premieres!

By Elena Duque

Self-taught filmmaker and architect, Juan Sebastián Bollaín has been making films since the 1960s, mixing his two study disciplines along the years in a series of films that reinvent the urbanism of the most traditional and religious city in Spain: Sevilla, Andalusia, the heart of the Spanish clichés, Holy Week and flamenco. At the end of the 1970s, using super 8 and various tricks and montage strategies, he made a series of imaginative visions of the city, delirious utopias full of humor, surrealist and poignant images, and lucid ideas that shake the core of the conceptions about the city. A cult figure of Spanish Cinema whose work has been recently digitized and restored by the Andalusian Cinematheque, a most wanted idea of utopia in these dystopian and strange times.

Born in Madrid in 1945 and transplanted to Seville when he was 9 years old, Bollaín took his first steps as a self-taught filmmaker at the age of 14, when he was given an 8mm camera. As he himself recalls, he started “inventing cinema” in the very act of filming, which led him to create his own visual language and procedures. Since then, cinema has been a big part of his life, from his psychoanalytical fiction films and the documentaries he made in his youth to the fiction features he made for television. At the same time, he developed a career as an architect and urban planner. Bollaín is a prolific author, whose work we wish to honor here with a selection of his films. We have curated a program featuring a series of films, mostly made in the ‘70s, and which represent a milestone in the history of Spanish cinema. In them, Bollaín’s eagerness to experiment comes together with his unparalleled creative vision. 

Thanks to: Juan Sebastián Bollaín, Felipe Bollaín, Andalusian Cinematheque, Junta de Andalucía, Ramón Benítez, Adam Hyman, Kate Brown, Marta Fernández Gómez, Rocío Mesa, and L.A. OLA

Notes by guest curator Elena Duque.





Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1978, 40 min.

U.S. Premiere

La Alameda is an emblematic place of Seville, a popular neighborhood degraded but at the same time full of life. In the face of an urban project that planned to destroy the neighborhood to build new apartments (the menace of gentrification before the term was a common place), Bollaín received a commission from the Architecture School to document La Alameda before the disaster (that finally never happened). In an intelligent montage of sound and image, Bollaín reproduces the life of the neighborhood, its history and idiosyncrasy, mixing it with some bold cinematic movements: depicting the making of the films, and imagining and showing metaphorical performances that talk with eloquence of the problems of the city, and criticizes the predatory politics over the lives of the citizens.




Juan Sebastián Bollaín, 1979, 30 min.

U.S. Premiere!

After the commission related to La Alameda, Bollaín received a new commission to revise yet another urban plan through cinema. This time, he deals with the expansion of Cádiz, an Andalusian coastal city near Seville. The city is located in a very thin isthmus, making it difficult to respond to the growth of the population because of the lack of terrain. This time he uses a sort of science fiction approach: in the year 4.000, when the city of Cádiz has already disappeared a long time ago, a group of archeologists try to reconstruct what happened to the city using “old” documents, trying to grasp what lead the city to the disaster.