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“In summer, when school term is over... only things are left.” This sentence heads the video Medio Tiempo, a piece of experimental cinema which Manel Muntaner produced in 1964. Black and white images of empty schools guide us in this journey which is both claustrophobic and melancholic.
At first, we are offered detailed, almost unrecognisable images of the spaces of entry to a massive school complex. The images are linked together in an allegorical manner and offer us a global reading of a space which is temporarily out of use. School desks are empty, the surveillance system cannot control anyone, chalks no longer have a function for writing and so become traces of another time. The information signs, the doors, the long corridors have no one to make them useful. Stuffed animals and educational material for natural sciences class lie on the floor, piled up, sadly reminding us of their abandonment.
Muntaner goes inside a school during the summer. But even though the school has only been closed for the summer holidays, it seems as though it was abandoned long ago. The sports fields look neglected, the goals are lying on the grass, the bleachers look as if they were threateningly waiting to be filled with students. The music chosen for this excellent film work (a selection by Mariano Corbi of pieces by Schaeffer, Webern and Stockhausen among others) generates a high level of tension.
Medio Tiempo presents the idea of a place waiting to be occupied again, at the same time that it reflects on a specific educational model, on a certain type of spaces which have been designed for a strict type of education.