THE GROVE WALK
HD / 16:9 / color / 49´29" / 2017
Spain / England
Subtitles Spanish / French
© Alejandro Ramírez Ariza / Casa de Velazquez
The Grove Walk is a personal journey, full of hidden and explicit emotions, which leaves no one indifferent. The film takes place in Norwich, a city in the east of England where the artist moves to visit his father's family, plunged for three years in a very delicate situation. Her aunt Cristina suffers from Alzheimer's disease, a disease that has hit the female branch of her genealogy with force: her other aunt also suffers and her grandmother died of it. In the film we see how the closest relatives, Cristina's son and husband, are facing the process in very different ways. The first, John, is immersed in the struggle, rebels against the disease and, the inability to stop it, is consuming him from within. He no longer knows when he will stop feeling that constant pressure or if he can be the same person again. The second, Mike, has built a huge wall to protect himself from the problem, becoming almost a mere spectator. Overcome by the overwhelming weight of circumstances, he remains impassive and tries to focus on the anecdotal.
In the middle of this emotional vortex, without hardly making noise, the artist enters the stage as a close intruder, arbitrating a relationship in which tensions and confrontations have been aggravated over the time. The deep and fragmented planes of the house announce the complexity of the characters and the layers of meaning that converge in each episode. The camera rests stealthily on the furniture as an object, becoming invisible. In front of her, the daily events, the intimate conversations and the visits to the clinic Two Acres. The result is a magnificent choral portrait that struggles to reconstruct an identity on the edge of fading.
Cristina is the reason for the film, but not the protagonist. She appears far away, with dignity and tenderness, showing joy when her son goes to see her and plays the piano to make her connect. Music - from Vivaldi to Chet Baker - is a key element throughout the filming that acts as a thread of emotions. It also adds a strong expectation that drowns in a vacuum. Cristina feels the music. When she is alone, she seems to wander in her own world, in her gaze intuits the absence, the timelessness, the inner disorder that is appeased by the repetition of gestures. As if the compulsive movements were the only ones capable of providing some kind of continuity to the context, something to hold on.