El Acto

Chema Alonso
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The familiar ritual of the wedding is converted into a process full of contrast between accelerations and pauses like “a souvenir video of a real traditional religious ceremony”.

This piece overlaps the different moments of a wedding, in image, with that which comes after, described in a song. Adding together the two elements, a priori in a disparate way, creates a demystification of marriage's popular meaning. While the Catholic rite in Spain concentrates on the ceremony in the church, the congratulations, dancing, and the cake, all of which are often featured in any video. In this case what usually takes forty to sixty minutes is compressed into nearly four through acceleration taking the place of ellipsis. Everything is there, but presented quickly, except that the author pause at times, making small portraits or inflection points. This homemade documentary with stale aftertaste has been manipulated with highly contrasting black and white, there is only a little gray that has been transformed into noise.

On the other hand, the audio, a 1982 issue of Parálisis Permanente, a famous Spanish pop group, makes a bizarre reinterpretation of the celebration. The song focuses on what is “an act” and its double meaning: as action, ritual, event, or copulation. According to the latter, related in the song with words of carnal rapture like “obsession, possess, ambition and satisfaction”', and then combined with others which refer in turn to religion as “prayer, devotion, offering, or altar”. All are topped by the word “consummation” that referred back to the two senses of both the religious act as well as sex. The juxtaposition of these two elements, perverted as they are, produces a simple result which shows the religious double standard of Spanish society and the bipolar culture surrounding rapture, faith, and the libido.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: El Acto
  • Direction: Chema Alonso
  • Production: Chema Alonso Produkt. 2006.
  • Team:

    Music: Punk in the Atic, El acto
    Author of the lyrics and music: A.I. Fernández

  • Duration: 00:03:56
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Original format: DV-Cam
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright