This article was translated by John R. Bopp
On many occasions, we’ve discussed how the truth is filtered through the the cracks that appear in the history of the Land of the Basques has been written by sources from outside our Nation.
Today, we’re taking advantage of a report brought to us by the website Stereoscopy News to highlight one of those cases in which the way things really are is able to reach the surface and show the evidence that wasn’t known, or that wasn’t supposed to be known.
This Belgian website, written in English, is specialized, as its name indicates, on the techniques of simulating three dimensions on two-dimensional stereoscopic devices. There, we just found some information about a short film called “Euskadi”, filmed in 1936 by French director René le Hénaff with 3-D techniques.
This documentary was only ever spoken of in books or references in articles. It was confused with other works or it was made to be understood to be a French film on the Spanish Civil War.
That’s what Manuel Espadas Burgos and Manuel Raquena Gallego indicate in their book La Guerra Civil Española and the International Brigades, when they say that this work strived to “reflect the Spanish socio-political reality” because of the Civil War (page 92), much like Magí Crusells did when referencing it in his book La Guerra Civil Española: Cine y Propaganda (página 96).
Thanks to the work of researcher Josu Martínez, a copy of this documentary was finally located at the Centre National de Cinématographie. Now, we can finally enjoy this film and see how things really were, far from what we have been told so far.
The documentary “Euskadi” isn’t about the Spanish Civil war, nor is it focused on the part of the Basque Country south of the Pyrenees, quite the contrary. This short film, which debuted in April of 1937 at the famous Olympia Theater in Paris, and which saw such famous figures in cinema as Lumière in attendance, talks about the Northern Basque Country, which the filmmaker calls Euskadi. (This was the spelling used at the time in the Northern Basque Country; the spelling Euzkadi was used south of the Pyrenees at the time.)
In the documentary, the trailer for which we’ve linked to, we can see a group of dancers in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port waving the ikurriña, crossing the bridge over the Nive River, and entering into the city under the archway by Notre-Dame-du-Bout-de-Pont church, first, the ikurriña, then the Spanish Republic flag, traveling the same route the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago take in the other direction. We would never have been able to imagine such curious images.
This film’s ideas are far removed from have been told to us about how things were in those times. It’s so different that for the title “to fit in” with those preconceived ideas created for political ends, the authors of the books that referenced it and only knew it by its title had no recourse but to include it as a piece related to the Spanish Civil War.
Nothing could be further from the truth. “Euskadi”, for René Le Hénaff, was also part of the Land of the Basques that extends north of the Pyrenees, from its coast, bathed by the Bay of Biscay, to its most inland villages. “Euskadi”, to the bewilderment and unease of quite a few people, is a documentary from 1936 about the continental part of the Land of the Basques.
The documentary has been shown throughout the month of March in the Basque capital cities, as mentioned on the University of the Basque Country’s website. We’re impatiently looking forward to see it aired on Basque public television, just like other greatly interesting documentaries, including «Basker» ans «Bonde i Baskerland«. These documentaries, filmed in 1963 by Swedes Dan Grenholm and Lennart Olson for the Swedish public broadcaster, and found by University of the Basque Country researcher Argibel Euba Ugarte in 2016.
We can’t help but be fascinated by how we’re recovering some films which are giving us an extraordinary glimpse of the reality of our nation. It’s an image that has little to do with what we’re taught in school and what is still transmitted in the media. How amazing would it be if these works were collected and shown and seen by all, easily and for free.
They are the heritage of all Basques and everyone interested in what our country is and has been. Of course, without the filtered readings that we’ve had to live with in other cases, like the documentary “Im Lande der Basken”, directed by Herbert Brieger in 1944.
Stereoscopy News – 3/2017 – Bélgica
A 3D Documentary Shot in Basque Country (France) in 1936 Viewed «As Intended by Louis Lumière»
The «Euskadi» documentary was shot by René Le Hénaff with an anaglyph stereoscopic camera rig on the west coast of France in 1936. After the Bilbao festivel, it was projected last Friday in Bayonne as the master himself (Louis Lumière) did it at the time. The audience watched the movie with good old cardboard red/cyan glasses. What makes «Euskadi» special is that it was shot and featured only one year after Louis Lumière presented its new anaglyph cinema invention at the Académie des Sciences in Paris. The movie was presented in 3D at the Olympia movie theatre in Paris in 1937. Details and trailer here under.