Final Project: El Duelo (or The Duel)

Magical Realism is my favorite creative mode. What our readings describe as a mode that “does not depend either on natural or physical laws or on the usual conception of the real in Western culture,” I see as the best approximation of communication in our world today. You are not like me. But as we attempt to speak to each other, a space is created where action can occur with the possibility of transcending our personal experiences–it becomes magical.

How magical might it become?

My final project is an edit of a short film I directed a couple months ago called El Duelo (or The Duel). It was shot with virtually no dialogue. In its current state, I’ve included intertitles like those found in a silent film.

The real world Bert and Ernie find themselves in is after-school detention. The space for a magical transcendence opens as they mediate quiet games to pass the time.

We all exist in a world with rules. How we choose to operate in the face of those rules can come to define us. It can anticipate what we are capable of.

In Santa Sangre, the Catholic Church and its iconography are very real and controlling. In El Duelo, the detention monitor’s call for silence is treated as part of her punishment by the boys. But maybe she is merely protecting them from unseen dangers in the world around them.

This film was shot on Super 16 with the assistance of Gary Griffin’s Cinematography class last semester.

One comment:

  1. You pulled off this project really well. Excellent choice of concept and clever execution of shot sequences. I personally believe one has to work extra-hard in creating a silent film that conveys the intended message and keep viewers engaged throughout the sequence. This short film accomplishes both, and it’s over 5 minutes! The choice of shots – long shots, medium shots, close and extreme close-ups – reveal packed action and tension build-up all the way to the ‘execution’. Great use of multi-angle shots. I thought the ‘shot’ was well-synched to ‘Bang!’ which is preceded with an ‘assist’ with ‘cocking of the gun’, they make the actions almost appear real.

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