Tom Haines: Luminarias

James Lavelle Scores the Director’s Homage to a Fiery Spanish Ritual

Horses charge through fire and billowing smoke in director Tom Haines’ new 16mm short Luminarias. Set to 1930s Spanish poet Rafael Alberti’s passionate paean “Galope,” the film captures the dramatic scenes of the annual Luminarias festival in San Bartolome de Pinares, in the mountains northwest of Madrid, where every January locals leap over burning pine pyres on horseback as part of a 500-year-old ritual originally intended to purify villagers during the plague. Inspired by Spanish painter Goya’s spectacular use of flame, shadows and murky figures, and captivated by images of the festival from previous years, Haines spent a week filming in and around the cobblestoned village, interviewing residents in the build up to the festivities. “I think they fully believe in the purification element,” notes Haines. “Pregnant women jump with horses through fire, guys clutching six-month-old babies. That aspect of it certainly is fundamental.” Previously shooting music videos for the likes of Devendra Banhart, White Denim, and Temper Trap, Haines invited James Lavelle—whom he had worked with on the lauded UNKLE video for “Money and Run”—to score the film alongside sound designer Sven Tait. “It was about trying to find the right sound to accentuate the emotion,” offers Lavelle, “and mold this to what you’re seeing visually.”

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Conversations (2)

  • A. S. Secci
    Yet another example of human stupidity masqueraded as culture!! Who do we still want to kid !
    • Posted By A. S. Secci
    • January 01, 2013 at 2:05PM
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  • clem-h
    Pour la souffrance animale, nul doute que les espagnols sont à la pointe de l'Europe
    • Posted By clem-h
    • September 30, 2012 at 1:56AM
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