|1998, 17 mins. (AFI)
Director: Carlos Vila
Writers: Michelle Frances, Carlos Vila
Original Screenplay: Fay Efrosini Lellios
Executive Producer: Julio Fernandez Rodriguez
Director of Photography: Daniel Aranyo Batlle
Cast: Simone Perrin, Robert Keefe, Kelly Galindo
|In Carlos Vila's Joliana, a pearl drops from the moon into a little girl's hand. And the coastal landscape we see in this short film, a place in which the moon and the ocean and the rough shores seem in silent collusion with each other, makes it easy to believe that this is a place where magic could happen.
Joliana, named for the young protagonist - a little girl whose pearl-diver father is unable to meet the quota that supports his family - has a feel that Vila calls a fairy tale "poisoned by the fear of disappearing." The film is infused with a sense of wonder. Vila, a native of Barcelona, traces his own sense of wonder to watching his artist grandfather build models of ancient ships. Long attracted to drawing and painting, Vila was able, at the age of fifteen, to take a high-school video class where he learned to cut images together in a way that gave them meaning. "That was what hooked me in," Vila remembers. "The combination of my ability to draw, my awe for creation awakened by the ships of my grandfather, and the power of transporting an audience to another level of meaning, another world through images built together."
Vila's brother, an actor from an early age, has been his collaborator on many short films. Joliana was Carlos Vila's thesis film at the American Film Institute.
"My idea when shooting Joliana," he says, "was to tell a story that happened in a place far from our world. We wanted to give this film a sense of being in somewhere in Time, in Nature, in the Universe. Joliana is the center of this Universe: her island, her parents, the pearls, the Moon. It was meant to feel like a poem. We wanted Joliana to be like a ghostly witness, the image of Silence. The Silence we can barely find in our world of today. I feel this short is the opposite of science understood as technology and evolution, but it is science understood as nature - environment and the connection between human beings and the universe."
|Properties of pearls, University of Texas at Austin|
Pearl grafting, Perles de Tahiti
Joliana on imdb.com