En la ciudad de Sylvia

  • 84'
  • Spain
  • 2007
A young man is staying in a hotel. He has come to the city. For some time, we don't find out why. Nor do we find out anything about his past. There is no clear story, making the dramatic tension even greater. The young man settles down at a street café and observes the women. His gaze is searching, investigating, intense and precise. His sketchbook forms the record of the facial features he's apparently looking for. As if the different women all provide a contribution to the construction of someone else, the inner and outer architecture of someone absent. Then he follows one of them.
With minimal visual means, without any spun-out plot, the director creates the maximum amount of potency. He harks back to the most traditional examples of image creation, such as the point-of-view shot, and uses them in such a tenacious, versatile and concentrated way that the film is restored to its original force. Reminding us of film makers and painters such as Murnau, Ozu, Tati, Godard and Manet, he builds a homage to the pure image, woman and the city. Where she disappears, the surroundings emerge, sensual, charged. The complex visual choreography that Guerín applies turns In the City of Sylvia into a trial of strength with the viewer, who has to go along with this atmospheric maze.

José Luis Guerín
Countries of production
Spain, France
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2008
International title
In the City of Sylvia
Lluís Miñarro, Gaëlle Jones
Production Companies
Eddie Saeta, Chateau-Rouge Production
DeA Planeta
José Luis Guerín
Natasha Braier
Núria Esquerra
Production Design
Anne Bennet, Nico Villarejo
Sound Design
Amanda Villavieja
Charlotte Dupont, Pilar López de Ayala