El Canto de la Noche

Xavi Hurtado

There are lost paths in which we can find ourselves. Some of these paths are transited by Hurtado in El canto de la noche (Colombia, 2003). His walking traces a personal and intimate cartography, a poetic map consisting of dreams, journeys, visions, encounters.

We have to learn to relax the mind, otherwise we will never get anywhere. This is precisely what this film manages to do: to get to places and invent them.

The piece begins with the description by an Amerindian of a dream of his: “I was climbing, higher and higher towards the sky, with the help of a stick that was getting longer and longer. When I tried to come down, the stick had changed size, it was smaller and I couldn’t use it any longer.” From that moment on, the camera shows us brief passages of the lesser known part of Colombia. We see those who live in the jungle and maintain an active and spiritual relationship with nature.

Successive fade outs to black take on a certain protagonism in the piece, transforming the latter into a rhythmic structure, into an almost hypnotic composition that gives the film the feeling of a musical score, a collection of fragments (faces, plants, animals, skies...) that together show us a natural environment in total harmony. The words, filled with wisdom, that the natives of the area pronounce in front of the camera, configure a reality consisting of almost the same material that dreams are made of.

If, as was once said, “to walk is always to question”, then, to go through El canto de la noche till the end, to walk with the author in his journey until we watch him arrive, is a question without resolution, a question that albeit leaving our doubts uncleared, still helps us to a better understanding of ourselves.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: El Canto de la Noche
  • Direction: Xavi Hurtado
  • Production: 2001.
  • Duration: 00:22:12
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English - Spanish
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright