MASTER OF DARKNESS
Summer has arrived in Écija, we are on the last days of work at the municipal archaeological site. A few meters from the excavations, in an abandoned palace in the center of the city, the team of Sergio García-Dils is working. There are restorers, archaeologists, researchers and other specialists. A large mosaic returns to its place of origin after being restored; it ends up being a great success.
Sergio packs to travel to the Independent Republic of Abkhazia. There, together with a team of fifty Russian cavers (Cavex team), he will enter the deepest cave on the planet in search of life and answers about how the world where we live is formed.
At more than 2 kilometers of vertical distance, a completely different world rises, a parallel reality that tries to fit into ours and that hides some of the greatest secrets of the earth, secrets that will never be understood by the human kind.
Title: El abismo de los dioses (Master of Darkness)
Duration: 75 min.
Spoken language: Spanish, Russian
Shooting format: 4K
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Written and directed by: Ricardo Yebra
Production: Pendejo Films, El Médano
Executive producers: Rafael Álvarez, Ricardo Yebra
Production manager: Cristina Vivó
The 19th century belonged to the explorers; On those days, much of the world was discovered as we know it. Today, with technology, it seems that everything has been discovered and the concept of explorer has been lost. The truth is that there are places where technology is unable to reach and advances continue to depend on the human kind. To this day there are still explorers, unknown to many of us, who continue to discover the world and face the great challenges it still offers us. Sergio García-Dils is to the explorations of the 21st century what Jacques Cousteau or Neil Armstrong are to those of the 20th century.
In addition to an explorer, García-Dils is an archaeologist and historian by profession. His connection with the ancient world is absolute, he has discovered some of the most important mosaics of recent history in Spain. Mosaics with mythological motifs that in Roman times adorned the houses of wealthy families and that for centuries have remained buried underground. García-Dils’ relationship with ancient civilizations (through his excavations), and with the origin of the world (when exploring places where no one has ever been) make him a man of the renaissance. Until today few knew his story.
During the academic year, García-Dils dedicates his days to working in the Alcazar of Écija (Seville), where he directs the excavation of a site with remains dating back to the ninth century BC. However, every summer he travels to the independent Republic of Abkhazia with his team of Russian cavers and scientists (Cavex team) in order to continue gaining depth in the deepest cave on earth.
“In 2015 an extreme personal situation took me to places inside me that I had never known. From one day to the next, I decided to leave everything behind and go far away. I bought a one way ticket to Argentina and with a backpack, a tent and my video camera, I arrived to Tierra del Fuego. In a year and a half I hitch-hicked more than 5,000 kilometers and lived infinite experiences. When I returned home, I was able to launch them in the timeline of my editing program, and realize the magnitude of that life changing journey. The camera had helped me find a shelter from which I could return to myself, the result was my first documentary feature film.
What relates me to Sergio is the continuous need to understand the world in which we live. Even having traveled to the most remote corners of the planet, with Master of darkness we will take that search one step further. My previous film led me to live for more than a month with a family of fishermen in Chilean Patagonia. During that time I lived with them in 20 square meters and had the opportunity to approach their reality, their particular way of seeing life. On this occasion, through the main character and his closest environment, we search to understand the gears of the world. Cavers try to understand the universe through their tool, caving, and I do the same through cinema, using their research as a backdrop and catalyst for my reflections. But ultimately, the goal of his research, like that of my movie, is the same.”
The main action of the film is Sergio’s trip to the origins of our society and the world itself. Through his excavations in Écija and his investigations in the cave, our main character tries to understand (and rewrite) his own origins.
The strong link with the concept of motherhood as well as the female presence are both visible throughout the film. The cave ultimately functions as an allegory of the mother’s womb, in which our protagonist is introduced to be reborn. The interior of our body is not far from the insides of a cave, thus breaking the physical frontier that separates our bodies from the earth itself on which we inhabit or even outer space. We belong to an absolute in which the differences between the universe around us and ourselves are blurred.
The sky represents the gaze of the one who sees us and observes us without necessarily understanding what he sees. Is it an extraterrestrial life that observes us? Or is Sergio himself, who, looking inside the cave, ends up looking at himself from the sky? In the same way that a child would return to the ground after reaching the highest point on a swing, in Master of darkness we descend to the furthest point from the surface to end up reaching the sky and observe ourselves in third person. This idea is directly related to the mother’s womb and how, reaching the deepest point of the earth’s surface we can travel in time, go back to the surface, be born again.