Twilight at Park Barcelona
Note: This is the twenty-ninth in a series of historical/critical essays examining the best in film from each year. Essentially, I am watching films from the beginning of cinematic history that interest me and/or hold some critical or cultural impact. My personal, living list of favorites is being created at Mubi, showcasing five films per year. All this being explained, what follows is an examination of my fourth favorite 1904 film, BARCELONA PARK AT TWILIGHT, directed by Segundo de Chomón.
The dreamscape is lush. The otherworld is blue.
Gliding, bobbing along at a leisurely place of another time and place, the people almost look like ghosts. In a way, they are. They are gone, yet here; solitary men, playing children, families enjoying the greenery and the fading light.
Imposing, squat edifices bring the utility of this place into view. This is not some immediately exotic, fantastical land; nevertheless, it is enchanting. It is sinuous, calm yet resplendent in its ordinary detail.
I could rest here, in this glimpse of water at the land’s edge, in the shade of the ending day. I could find solace in this testament to the human need for the natural and the joyful.
This is BARCELONA PARK AT TWILIGHT (1904), otherwise Barcelone, Parc au crépuscule, directed by the second magician-in-command of early film fantasy, Segundo de Chomón. This is not a féerie, this is an actuality, in its purest form the prototype of the documentary. It is oddly reassuring, calming, and beautiful, simple as it may be. It’s the tinting, the stares of the people on shore, the reassuring nature of a park, and my enduring fascination with time past that render this otherwise extremely ordinary film an almost spiritual experience. It is my fourth favorite film of 1904. This is all that can be said.
Make sure to catch up on and keep up with all of my essays on my favorite films here.