‘Year of Discovery’ Review: Remembering the Turmoil in Spain

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Although it covers three hours and 20 minutes of intense sociopolitical discussion, “Year of Discovery”, an experimental film with documentary embellishments, lays out its main idea in side-by-side opening title cards.

They formed a contrast that included Spain in 1992, where Spain hosted the Olympics in Barcelona and the Expo ’92 in Seville, reflecting its image of a modern, post-Franco nation. But that same year, workers in Cartagena, a city in the Murcia region, protested a threat to industrial jobs. Metin says the demonstrations sparked an uprising against the police and resulted in the dropping of bombs that set the regional parliament ablaze.

Directed by Luis López Carrasco, “The Year of Discovery” reshapes 1992 from the perspective of Cartagena rather than Barcelona or Seville. But what the movie says and how it happens is complicated. It mainly appears on the split screen as the rotating interviewers discuss working conditions, European economic integration and the legacy of Francoism. López Carrasco blurs the distinction between new and old material by shooting camcorder-quality video.

He shows a 1992 TV broadcast in one image, then continues his voice on two screens that look like a cook and his family are eating. The construction shows they heard real-time news about the Maastricht Treaty that formalized the European Union. But then, jarring references to Facebook and a euro already in existence suggest that the film was shot closer to the present day. (López Carrasco Shot in an indoor cafe in Cartagena and selected participants through a process called “casting.”)

If it’s hard to absorb the complex history and corresponding formal arrogance, that’s part of the point.

Year of Discovery
Not rated. Spanish, with subtitles. Working time: 3 hours 20 minutes. In movie theaters.

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