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November 14, 2011

You All Are Captains by Oliver Laxe

Since 2007, Spanish filmmaker Oliver Laxe (b. 1982) has run a cinema workshop at a shelter for impoverished children in Tangier, giving them access to 16mm stock and equipment. Laxe is a graduate of the film program at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, which has recently made a name for itself as a center for innovative documentary filmmaking, with faculty members including José Luis Guerín and graduates including Mercedes Alvarez. Laxe joins their company with his first feature, You All Are Captains, made in collaboration with his Moroccan students in Tangier. This fascinating cross between Pedro Costa and Zéro de conduite establishes Laxe as a filmmaker to watch.

This program is presented in conjunction with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Film Study Center. Special thanks: Adam Sekuler—Northwest Film Forum; Ilisa Barbash—Peabody Museum.


Special Event Tickets $12 - Oliver Laxe in Person
Monday November 14 at 7pm

You All Are Captains (Todos vós sodes capitáns)

Directed by Oliver Laxe, Appearing in Person. With Shakib Ben Omar, Nabil Dourgal, Mohamed Bablouh
Spain/Morocco 2010, 35mm, b/w, 78 min. Arabic, French and Spanish with English subtitles


You All Are Captains begins as a fairly straightforward film about filmmaking, following Laxe as he tries to shepherd his young students through the process of shooting a movie. But the film quickly establishes a mise-en-abyme wherein it becomes genuinely difficult to tell what is real and what is fiction. Laxe presents himself as well-intentioned but cynical, willing to play the paternalistic European to get the shots he wants. Meanwhile, the film raises serious questions about colonial relations and filmmaking, beginning with an early sequence in which the boys train their cameras on a group of European tourists. Thus from a deceptively simple premise springs a barbed allegory about power relations not just on either side of the camera but geopolitically. The result is something of a game of mirrors with the happy outcome of encouraging viewers to see cinema with the entirely new eyes of these children.

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