On the night of February 4, 2006 in downtown Barcelona, there was a police raid on a former theatre occupied by squatters hosting a party. One of the policemen, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, went into a coma after getting hit by a flower pot. The arrests that came later, according to many sources of the documentary, tell the story of vengeance. Three youths of South American origin were arrested, severely tortured and detained for two years, awaiting trial.
Two others arrested that night -Patricia and Alfredo- were not even present at the scene: they were arrested at a nearby hospital and considered suspicious for how they were dressed. Ciutat Morta (Dead City) wants to show that little it mattered in these arrests as to whether there was any proof or evidence exonerating the accused, and how at that trial, individuals were not judged, but rather a whole collective: a generic enemy created by the press and politicians from the exemplary Barcelona.
But beyond the city of Barcelona, the main character in Ciutat Morta is Patricia, whom we come to know through her poetry and the accounts of her friends and ex-partners. She was a young, Madrid-born student of literature who had recently moved to Barcelona, extremely sensitive, hiding her insecurities behind an eccentric aesthetic, fuelled by the queer culture with which she identifies.
That morning when she is arrested, her life takes a radical turn. Two years of anguish awaiting trial, spending all her savings to pay lawyers. She was condemned to three years in jail. Apart from destroying her life, these events triggered her literary productivity, which was recorded in a foreboding blog entitled, “Dead Poet”, still online at http://poetadifunta.blogspot.com.es/. Patricia commits suicide during a release from prison in 2011. This film is a tribute to her.
Ciutat Morta was broadcasted on channel 33 of the Catalan regional television, causing a stir on social networks, not only because of what is says, but also because how it suffered under the censorship of the very system that is criticizing. From among the comments made in media for this film, which has won several awards for best documentary at various festivals, we have chosen a fragment of text by Miquel Martí Freixas for Caimán, cuadernos de cine (Cayman, Notebooks Film):
“Of all the stir generated, where it seems to have had the more influence is in the public opinion—it is the citizenry, after transferring the footage and itsconsequences, that proves to be less innocent in the democratic functioning of the structures that govern them. It should also give pause to television executives and programmers. The documentary genre, very underrated as a television industry in Spain, has with Ciutat Morta demonstrated what it is capable of and its massive interest. The Artigas and Ortega film takes a path to continue down, a good audio-visual offering, accessible for all citizens yet still treating them with intelligence, in order to question and debate improvable elements in our imperfect society. ”