Film session

Carol, the last one to leave, left the house at six o’clock in the morning. After hugging me strongly, from the doorway steps, she turned to me, a little drunk, with that irresistible charm of mad but brilliant people, and she said: ‘Aitor: Long life to the mother who gave birth to you. Amaia and you have done a great, great job. You are incredible. Thank you’. ‘Thank you, Carol, and your mother, for bringing you into the world. I love you.’, I replied from the doorway. I would have covered her with kisses. Carol is my sister Amaia’s best friend. Then I joined Alegría, my girlfriend, in bed. I was exhausted, overwhelmed by the emotions of a day that I had waited for, excited as a child who wakes up on Christmas Day to discover Santa’s or Olentzero’s (the Basque Santa) gifts: my friends were eventually going to watch a near final cut of the documentary!

This has been a magical night. They arrived at ten o’clock at night, the table was ready with a dinner fitting these times of crisis: some cheese, cheap paté, salami, olives and crisps. Shabby, I know, I’m a terrible host. However, we made sure not to be short on wine and beers, which we drank with the ease implied by this type of junk food dinner. Alegría and I were meeting with Carol, Veli, Juan, Ana, Victor, Diego, Arturo, the other Diego, Natalie and Oliver. Some friends were not able to come as they were busy with their works, but that will be a good excuse to meet again as soon as their schedules allow.

When they had finished the delicious food, I turned off the lights and explained that the copy of ‘Asier ETA biok’ (Asier and I) they would see is unfinished: the edition was nearly finished, but we still had to make small changes. The voiceovers were provisional, as well as the sound mix, the image processing, etc., etc… I told them to go to the bathroom if they needed because I would not stop the projection, to keep all their comments for the end, to turn off their phones, and I added: ‘Folks, the moment I have been waiting for, for such a long time, has finally arrived. Now you will know what has been keeping me busy for the past two years.’ I then went to sit at the back of the room and pushed the Play button.

The next hour and a half was spent in silence, which was only broken by laughters at certain times of the documentary, or when they attacked the wine and beers or smoked a cigarette. They saw the film and seemed completely absorbed by the story. When it finished, they applauded during a while. So I sat down in front of them and they started congratulating me and shooting questions – it soon became a really intense debate. They were surprised by the approach developed in the film. I guess they were expecting something more traditional, with interviews and political speeches impregnated with cheap moral. However, what I liked most was that the debate soon evolved from how the film was made to focus on the subject of the documentary. And that happened spontaneously, viscerally, as a natural effect of what they had just seen. That is, in my modest opinion, an indication that we did a good job. Hence, the debate focused on political and cultural issues, and of course, about my friendship with Asier, about Asier himself, and about the political conflict in which we both grew, same as all the Basque people from our generation (not to mention the preceding), its causes, and even more important, the possible solutions. Those are the questions we want to raise to the public, and the reason that prompted us to start with Asier ETA biok (Asier and I).

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