Archive of films In the City of Sylvia / En la ciudad de Sylvia

Spain / France
2007, 84 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2008

A young man, an obsession and a city, three protagonists in “one of the most silent films in history”, as characterised by the filmmaker himself, even though he spent most of his time working on the audio track. Screened at the Venice Film Festival, the film represents a return to the roots of cinema and was also hailed as “something completely new”.


That Obscure Object of Desire. Thirty years after Buñuel’s last work, his compatriot Guerín, 60 years his junior, also came up with a film treating the phenomenon “fantasma femenino” – the phantom of the beautiful woman which weighs heavily on the imagination of fiery southerners. In Guerín’s story, headstrong Iberian passion is cultivated with a touch of the French esprit. A young painter arrives in Strasbourg in search of a woman who bewitched him here six years earlier. Caught in a web of fixations and adrift in the labyrinth of the anonymous city, the artist sits in the drama school café, watching life go by. Gazing at dozens of beautiful young women filing past whose faces might appear on the UNESCO list, like Strasbourg’s historical centre, the young man misguidedly tries to catch a glimpse of something which doesn’t exist anymore. Watching, waiting, sensing… The viewer is immersed in the ambient sounds of a city in which the path to illusion is free of unnecessary words. A film of gentle humour and irony, with an unspoken tribute to Bresson and Rohmer hovering above the summer city...

About the director

José Luis Guerín (b. 1960, Barcelona, Spain) won Best Spanish Film and the Forum Special Award at the Berlin IFF for his first film Berta’s Motives (Los motivos de Berta, 1983), subtitled “Pubertal Fantasies”. This was followed by the films Innisfree (1990), City Life (1990) and Train of Shadows (Tren de sombras, 1997), which was screened in Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight and won the Golden and Silver Mélies from the European Federation of Fantasy Film Festivals, among other awards. Guerín was profiled in Karlovy Vary in 2002 with his stylish documentary Under Construction (En construcción, 2001). After a period of ten years, the director developed ideas from Tren de sombras in the film In the City of Sylvia (2007), for which he also made the video sketchbook Unas fotos en la ciudad de Sylvia (2007).


Eddie Saeta S.A.
Pasaje Permanyer 14, 080 09, Barcelona
Tel: +34 934 677 040
Fax: +34 934 677 489
E-mail: [email protected]

DeA Planeta
Avenida Diagonal 662-664, 4°B, 08034, Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 492 88 55
Fax: +34 93 492 85 75
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: José Luis Guerín
Screenplay: José Luis Guerín
Dir. of Photography: Natasha Braier
Editor: Núria Esquerra
Producer: Luis Miñarro, Gaëlle Jones
Production: Eddie Saeta S.A.
Cast: Pilar López de Ayala, Xavier Lafitte, Laurence Cordier, Tanja Czichy, Eric Dietrich, Charlotte Dupont
Contact: Eddie Saeta S.A., DeA Planeta


Lluís Miñarro

Film Director / Producer


© 2021 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. [email protected] +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide