Leyla Rodriguez

Screening format
Shown in Compétition #4.



Waldhorn is a reality check to the ancient call of the wild. The two protagonists of this epic journey feature an immediate verbal dimension - a premiere in the work of Leyla Rodriguez. Speaking softly yet clearly, they let go of chaos and lethargy and set out to attend a mystical meeting.

Text from the selection committee

Leyla Rodriguez, whose third work we have selected, seems to populate film after film her personal mythology: each work rhymes with the previous one, while adding certain elements, such as new costumes, places, or characters. In it, humans as we know them do not really exist, and are masked and mute: animals are kings and are all equal, living in perfect harmony. There is something of the order of utopia in Leyla Rodriguez’s films, which act as heavenly bubbles where the whole of life cohabits peacefully and in solidarity. In Waldhorn, where the voice, language, integrates her work for the first time, humanoid creatures try to mimic the gestures of animals, which in return seem to replace human attitudes with travel, speech, and the sacred.

Translation made by the translator www.DeepL.com/Translator

– T.D.

Critical text

Leyla Rodríguez seems to trust animals more than humanity. Her character-animals, her creatures, possess millennia-old wisdom on cosmic issues and quantum physics; in other words, they know the Universe, to use a word that sums up this mystery in which everything that exists circulates. We hear animal thoughts that refer to trust, tenderness, fluidity and death as a necessary transformation of energy. But are humans capable of listening? We would have to consciously decide not to cover our ears any longer in order to be able to hear these creatures. And to want to perceive ourselves as a cosmic weave: to know, with certainty, that human matter is not separated from the vast cosmos. But this is how we humans live: as if there is the possibility of separating ourselves from the rest of the creatures and products of nature. As if we are not going to die. In the terror of dying. Fools.

The film begins with the sound of the engine of a boat - a technological device - sailing on the sea. It is a dog travelling in this boat. And not just any dog: a dog that reflects on humanity. Then a human figure appears, dressed in an ultra-synthetic dress and a mask. This mask tells us that it could be any person: it doesn’t matter who the face is, it doesn’t matter who the identity is, it doesn’t matter who. The important thing is that it is a human and all humans at the same time. This golden human figure hesitates to jump into a pool (an object built by the hand of man), until a fish tells him in a child’s voice that he must trust him, and then the figure jumps. As if the little fish was much wiser than this human who, as we have said, is one and is all.

When he jumps into the pool, the golden human character becomes a powerful aquatic animal that dives, no longer into the pool-object, but into the natural sea. It is as if the fish calls out to him in this way: “Hey, human, you are part of this nature, understand this once and for all: there is no difference between you and everything that exists; I have come to reunite you with the water of which you have never ceased to be a part. ”A montage shows us in parallel the golden human figure in a swimming pool and the marine animals swimming naturally in the water from which they come. Then the golden human figure also appears in the sea. And how this metallic dress seems synthetic in contrast to the pure light blue of the water! Our human figure then changes his style, he wears dark colours. Now it is his turn to listen to the dogs.

A dog runs across a field and thinks and speaks in German. Another dog is running along the beach and is thinking and talking in English. Then again in German. Let’s see if you humans understand us dogs in any language! The golden human figure reappears on an aerial chair - on which we had already seen him earlier -, a device built by man’s hand to rise to the heights of nature.

We are now in a forest and the human figure has the head of a donkey. Can nature and culture merge in the age of the artificiality of the tinsel? Our human-donkey character is waving a rattle. The dogs, hearing this sound, run towards him. The human-donkey character puts on one of the feathered dogs, a sort of tribal gesture. Does this little ritual serve to remind both humans and animals that they have the same origin? But beware: the human-donkey character is now holding a piece of wire, a toy perhaps, but also a fearsome material reminding us that animals are imprisoned. Humans corner them to get what they need, and often even to kill them.

White donkeys in the middle of a green and brown path. Birds against the backdrop of a magnificent sunset. The dog with tribal feathers. In short: animals in the middle of the nature of which they are a part.

A fast-moving camera and a blurred view through the dirty lens, like the contemporary human gaze on nature. Simultaneously, a dog expresses the last thing we hear.

WALDHORN, Rodríguez’s new film,

masterly and luminous, captures the concerns already exposed in his previous works, which focus on the link between Nature and Culture. With the authentic colours of nature in the background - true light blue, green and brown - she places animals this time at a level of understanding of the cosmos that humans, nowadays so flashy and artificial, so “golden”, seem to be far from having reached.

A magnificent and necessary human-animal cry from this talented author who expresses herself through refined art.

–Agustina Gatto