In the autumn of 1990, renowned Spanish artist Antonio Lopez Garcia enters his Madrid studio and begins to assemble a large canvas for his new painting. The subject of his still life is a fruit laden quince tree in the courtyard. Lopez proves to be a meticulous craftsman. He drives three long poles into the ground around the perimeter of the tree and suspends a plumb line in order to determine the center of the painting. He runs a tube of white paint along a brick wall in the background to demarcate the median line. He stakes his painting stance with ground spikes. He marks the visual center of individual leaves and fruits to retain their compositional balance. For two brief hours each morning, the sun reflects from the roof and casts a majestic light against the upper portion of the quince tree, leaving the rest of the tree in shadow, and it is this phenomenon that Lopez attempts to capture in his painting. As Lopez struggles to preserve this wondrous moment, the process of life continues unhindered through changing climate, inclement weather, distracting building renovations, news of significant international events, and interruptive visits from friends and relatives.
Victor Erice captures a sublime and infinitely fascinating portrait of art, inspiration, and the creative process in The Quince Tree Sun. Similar to the feature films of Abbas Kiarostami, Erice interweaves reality and fiction using a cast of nonprofessional actors in order to distill the fictionalized account of the artist’s life and reveal the emotional honesty of the creative spirit. Using the simple narrative style of documentary filmmaking, mundane conversations, and personal introspection, Erice presents a vision devoid of artifice or pretense. What emerges is an understated observation of the inevitable passage of time, and the irrepressible longing of the soul to capture an elusive moment of nature’s fleeting beauty.
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