Rob Stone
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Framing fearful symmetry
La pelota vasca: la piel contra la piedra (2003)
in Julio Medem
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This chapter deals with Julio Medem's film La pelota vasca, which is a documentary about the Basque nationalist movement in Spain. La pelota vasca is a polyphonic patchwork of speakers on this subject, whose range of perspectives and depth of feeling are interwoven in an inclusive montage that, in terms of finding a solution, is both open minded and, inevitably, open ended. Medem assembled the documentary by dividing out the pieces in sections. Its analysis takes into account the history of filmmaking in the Basque Country, wherein the union of political thought and action with film theory and practice propagated a forceful faith in documentary as an instrument of record and propaganda that contributed to a cultural offensive against the conventions of the centralised film industry during and after the dictatorship. The polemic made La pelota vasca the most commercially successful documentary in the history of Spanish cinema.

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