The Real and the Spoken: How the Use of Languages in Catalan Documentary Films Contributed to the Construction of a Sense of Reality


  • Jordi Balló
  • Manel Jiménez-Morales Universitat Pompeu Fabra


Catalan cinema, Film schools, Documentary movies, Female directors, Multilingualism, Realism


The consolidation of Catalan documentary cinema in the 21st century international sphere owes much to an existing context of creative freedom, less dependent on market laws or short-term policies. This freedom, often emerging out of university initiatives, has attracted young filmmakers wishing to explore the borders between documentary and fiction. The present article examines a number of their works, focusing on the use of multilingualism as a way to underscore the commitment of these documentaries to the reality they seek to represent. We argue that multilingualism as a phenomenon does not imply an obstacle to the presence of Catalan, as is evidenced by the partly autobiographical fictions produced by directors who use Catalan as a vehicular language to represent intimate experiences. Rather, multilingualism is becoming a style in itself and a way of ensuring that the Castilian language is not simply imposed for commercial reasons, a factor which has seriously affected the world of conventional fiction.