I am in the kitchen, preparing what remains to be solved for dinner and, between the automatic gestures of habit, I find myself humming a song: “We come from afar / from searching for happiness / there is always something new / and we return to it. Dodge” .
I heard it a few hours before, accompanying the titles of a movie: voice, bass, guitar and drums that interpreted a song by Christian Gómez and imprinted on it one of those rhythms that settle in some corner of your brain and appear like this, like from the nothing, pure cadence and taste.
A little further back, when the film had not yet finished, those same verses resounded in the throat of a man who sang them at the top of his voice, standing before a church in the historic center of Buenos Aires, near Plaza de Mayo, with three Franciscan priests as the only auditorium, on a night as lonely as nights usually are in that area of the city.
That man, the one who performed without bras the same cadence that surprised me in the midst of homework, is homeless. A person on the street. One of those packages that from time to time –or almost always, if one prefers to walk rather than ride in a car– are spotted in a corner, in a corner of the entrance to some public building, under the awning of a closed premises, shelter from those uncertain territories that open up under the highways.
The filmmaker, producer and photographer Marcos Martínez did something not very frequent. He toured the city, he filmed, above all he listened. He put aside his story, his words, his opinions, his part of the social fabric, and simply listened.
Thus he shaped a film called dreams, that premieres this Thursday at the Gaumont cinema, in which there are neither brainy analyzes nor specialists pontificating causes and reasons, nor figures or explanatory posters, nor any voice other than that of the enormous, visible and yet ignored community of those who do not have a home to spend the night.
Martínez’s gaze is extremely delicate; the challenge, enormous: to walk the narrow path of the witness without falling into paternalism, arrogance or a certain exercise of compassion that too many times ends up canceling the other.
A single question weaves the documentary together: “what do you dream of?”. Off camera –even in that there is a respectful exercise of modesty–, Martínez asks the protagonists of his film to tell their dreams. Not their aspirations, but what remains of dream activity, that territory so typical of bourgeois intimacy, a construction like so many others that emerged between the 17th and 18th centuries, in the midst of transformations that still have a few things to tell us. “Promiscuity and transparency have disappeared – this is how the psychoanalyst Patrick Avrane describes that time in Houses–. Freud’s patients can begin to consult.
Martínez subverts a norm by not asking the homeless about their basic needs. And it subverts it even more because it films them while they sing, paint a mural, improvise a rap, read a poem of their own.
With just the right distance, he observes the gestures of a distant daily life and at the same time immersed in the known. In front of the cameras someone prepares a mate, another mimics a wall with a blanket, a plumber shows off the same trade that once guaranteed him something more than mere survival.
All of them, in addition, tell dreams that are sometimes nightmares and others a gift from the unconscious.
In those dreams –those that are a gift– they meet again with some lost love, with the family that is no longer there. Or, as a pregnant woman relates, they inhabit the great impossible, the goal that one day was shattered: “a house with furniture”.