The Wreck and Not the Story of the Wreck

Fernando Baños Fidalgo
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A Super 8 home movie is found in a Bangkok market in 2014. It's a fifteen minutes long narration over a succession of clumsy shots, following a cruise journey of an American couple from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), in 1973. A film that would not be particularly relevant if it were not for an event that takes place a few months after it was found: the cruise ship in the film is abandoned a couple of miles off the Thai coast, very close to Bangkok. The lack of maintenance and the poor condition of the ship lead to its capsizing and subsequent semi-sinking two years later. This surprising circumstance turns the cruise ship and the protagonist of the film, named Mary, into objects of epistemic curiosity. Mary is the recipient of a letter that tells the story of an abandoned ship, imagined in the abandonment of the end of her life, semi-sunken in her own death, like all abandoned things about to vanish. A letter that serves to tell a story that doesn't really matter.

The Wreck and Not the Story of the Wreck is a video essay that talks about all the wrecked films and the necessary contradiction that occurs when imagining their stories in order to vindicate their objectual value. The title is a line from Adrienne Rich's poem Diving into the Wreck, first published in 1973, the same year Mary and her husband travelled the Pacific Ocean aboard the cruise ship Spirit of London. A verse about the author's exploration of her identity and which, decontextualised from her lyric, serves as a conceptual anchor to place things themselves in a place of privilege above their stories – the thing itself and not the myth. The title serves as a reflection on the paradox that occurs when telling a story in order to claim an object that annuls the story itself.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: The Wreck and Not the Story of the Wreck
  • Direction: Fernando Baños Fidalgo
  • Production: 2018.
  • Duration: 00:10:03
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Original format: 8 mm
  • Formats: HD 1920x1080
  • TV systems: PAL