Illegal immigration is one of the most challenging problems facing Spain over these
last few years. From among the thousands of immigrants entering the country by
various means, there are hundreds and hundreds trying to reach Spanish territory on
rudimentary open-decked vessels, most of them setting out from along the African
coast. Many of these African immigrants fail to reach Spain and find their death in the
sea. Others reach the coast exhausted and dehydrated from days on the open sea and
yet still hoping to find a new future. For many, there is no future as they are promptly
returned to their land of origin and even those who are allowed remain for whatever
reason, find that things are much more difficult for them than they had ever expected.
The reality of these immigrants is a cliché image for most Spanish people. The
image perceived by the media is the only one that reaches them. There is very
little first-hand contact with them for the vast majority of Spanish people.
Thus, ghettos are quickly formed and the tendency is to reject them as
something beyond the pale for most Spanish.
This film will try to break the cliché image of the immigrant as a generic figure.
It is as if all of them were one just one same person; a simple primary people,
filled with naïve dreams that become dispelled when they come in contact with
the cold European reality.
WRECKAGE does not wish to create a social portrait of these people, as I
believe this would be at best a limited and partial portrait. WRECKAGE is a
SYMBOLIST movie. The elements in the story do not just represent a
recognizable reality but rather work as symbols. The film would be best seen as
an allegory than a realistic European social film.
I have followed my imagination and I have worked on the individuality of one
of these immigrants, moving away from the European paternalistic vision that
we tend to have of these black immigrants. We all like to think we know how
they live and how they feel, but hardly anyone actually lives or speaks to them.
Why do we believe that they are all the same?
The conflict that first came to mind on starting this project was the cultural
conflict, not the economic or social one. Many black immigrants come from
countries with an animistic culture based on magic. Countries such as Togo,
Benin or parts of Nigeria, for instance. In these countries, voodoo and magic
ritual have a strong presence and they transform reality for the people. The
energy coming from “beyond” has an influence on their day-to-day lives. The
magic is real, palpable and affects the world they live in. I like the idea that this
archaic and ancestral energy can travel to Europe by way of these immigrants
and thanks to that we can come into contact with a force that was lost in
Europe thousands of years ago.
Robinson will be a vehicle of this magic energy, the power of the spirits, for our
culture. Robinson is a medium, a link between two worlds in a double sense; on
the one hand, a link between darkest Africa and Europe and, at the same time,
a link of the spirits with the world of the living.
So, Robinson is not just another immigrant, not just a number on the social
services list, not just a stranger that we walk past in our daily lives, not just
another street seller…he is a powerful force towards the imagination, a contact
with magic and the mysterious primitiveness.
The title of the project, WRECKAGE, does not only express the literal arrival
of the protagonist, Robinson, to the shores of southern Spain but also the
“wreckage” of the our social institutions and democratic rights when facing up
to this question of immigration. The European democratic structure is not yet
prepared for the inequalities that take place within our global planet.
In addition, Robinson is a castaway in a new world which he does not
understand and of a different spiritual milieu. Robinson’s journey in the movie
is not an attempt to escape from his origins but rather, on the contrary, a return
to his ORIGIN.