The Plague, the debut feature by Neus Ballús, premiered in Barcelona

The Plague, the debut feature by Neus Ballús, Master in Creative Documentary from IDEC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, is shown in the Aribau Club cinema of Barcelona. The premiere was last Friday and it will be screened until 12 September, with three sessions: 16.30, 19.00 and 22.00 hours, with a 25% discounts for students with the UPF card.

Neus Ballús is from Mollet del Vallès and is 33 years old. She studied IDEC-UPF’s Master in Creative Documentary ten years ago. Luciano Rigolini, who was her tutor on the master’s degree (and who the director considers to be her master), has now become co-producer of The Plague.

The film was produced by El Kinògraf, in a co-production with Televisió de Catalunya and in collaboration with Arte France and was one of the only two Spanish titles selected to participate in the Berlinale 2013. It became the first Catalan film to be nominated for the prestigious LUX Prize 2013, granted by the European Parliament and, moreover, this year the jury at the Motovun Festival (Croatia) awarded it the Bauer Prize for best film from the official programme.

The Plague is a feature film, half way between a documentary and fiction, which tells the story of different characters who live in a Gallecs (Vallès Occidental), on the outskirts of Barcelona, and how their lives interweave.

It is about a farmer who tries to undertake organic farming; a Moldovan wrestler who has to do all sorts of jobs to survive; an old woman who has to leave the ancestral home where she has lived to enter an old people’s home; a Philippine nurse who has just arrived in the country and a prostitute who has less and less clients.

The main characters of The Plague are not professional actors but rather they play themselves after having worked with the director for over four years.

Ballús used this long process to show the uncertainty and the spirit of rebellion that characterises the Spain of the crisis. The whole construction of the film is in the service of the characters, who were given free rein. The film is a sort of raised platform from which they can express themselves and show  their most authentic emotions and gestures.

It will also be possible to see The Plague in other Spanish cities, such as Madrid, Girona, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.

Previously, Neus Ballús directed the shorts Quan Plovien bombes (When it rained bombs) (2007), Pepitu Ricu (2008) and the award-winning Immersión (Immersion) (2009), an innovative work of art recorded entirely in a neighbourhood swimming pool.