Walker Art Center

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The Search for Emak Bakia

Director Oskar Alegria in person

“A surprisingly compelling love letter to an extraordinary director and his pioneering work.” —Edinburgh International Film Festival

What is “Emak Bakia”? Literally translated from the Basque language, the phrase means “leave me alone.” But it is also the title of a short film by Man Ray, the name of the elusive coastal house where Ray shot the cinépoem, and, for Navarrese filmmaker Oskar Alegria, an opening gesture in this playful and beautifully crafted exploration of language and meaning.

Alegria’s filmic essay The Search for Emak Bakia builds its paradox upon that opening question. But true to his muse, the search is guided by serendipity—the chance encounters of such varied subjects as a plastic glove, a napkin on the street, or a Romanian princess table-tennis champion. While making his lyrical and daring film, the director was drawn to music from a CD he found at Man Ray’s grave in Paris. This discovery led him to St. Paul–based musician Richard Griffith, who will perform at this event. 2012, DCP, in Basque, French, Italian, and Spanish with English subtitles, 83 minutes.

Opening the evening is a screening of Man Ray’s Emak-Bakia (1927, 16mm, 18 minutes), with live accompaniment by Griffith.


Major support to preserve, digitize, and present the Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection is generously provided by the Bentson Foundation.