I’ve been asked to say a few words regarding my impressions about Where were you? And my impression is that I am impressed. And I’m sorry for the easy word play, but it’s for a good reason. I can’t think of any other way to express what I feel in the presence of this unique and audacious work.
I am impressed by what is said, how could I not, and by how it is said. By the dignity of the female protagonists and their resilience. By the amazing way in which their words of pain, but also of hope, are transformed before our very eyes into image and memory. By the exquisite work of animation and its beautiful and extraordinary images. I am impressed because it brings its chosen cultural objects to an unexpected dimension in such an imaginative and coherent way: The Falles (a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in Valencia), the capulanas (a piece of colourfully printed cotton material worn primarily in Mozambique), the anime. Because it demonstrates that culture, no matter how local, is always universal. Because it takes The Falles and their aesthetics (The Falles!) to a place they have never been before, and it makes them tell a terrible story while still showing the damned and sticky gender clichés they still contain. Because it makes us aware that capulanas are not just beautiful coloured fabrics, but are made of threads that weaver together life and art. Because it demonstrates that the individual is collective, and the local is global. And, above all, because it reminds us that beauty can also be truth. And denunciation. And reparation.