The frame of the dead (La pausa dels morts, 2011)

I started shooting this movie when I realized I was going to loose my mother in my arms. From that moment, my perception of the world changed dramatically: the relationship with my family, with my girlfriend and the rest of social relationships never were the same. I needed to research my family's past, rethink my present and look to the future in a different way. My frame of mind was suspended. My life was in a pause that can only be known by the dead.

Filmmaker Samuel Sebastian travels to Seville to visit his mother, the artist Ester Rodríguez - Ro, who is gravely ill with cancer. Together, they recall the lives of both and reflect about life and death. At the same time, Samuel Sebastian covers his family memories, piecing the puzzle of a past that he has failed to understand completely.

Original Spanish Title:  La pausa de los muertos
Catalan Title:  La pausa dels morts
International English Title:  The frame of the dead
Director and Editor:  Samuel Sebastian
Production:  sinCasa
Producers:  Samuel Sebastian y Alicia Vidal
Photography:  José Antonio Gómez Villanueva y Ramon Quesada
Music:  Clara Andrés
Graphic Design  Roser Cerdŕ
Duration:  108 min
Cast:  Ester Rodríguez - Ro, Samuel Sebastian, Eva Alloza, Pilar Bayo y Ŕngel Figols


What happens when we lose a loved one? The road we travel is so dark that once we raise our head again we do not want to remember it. The emptiness, the sense of betrayal that we feel ... betrayal of life to continue as if nothing had happened when in fact we become mere automatons who are pretending to live only by inertia. We are the shadows on a cloudy day of our true self because one of the pillars that holds us is gone. How can we return to what we were? We can't. We can't go back. But we can go forward.

Samuel Sebastian shows us the dark path he traveled during and after the death of his mother, Ester Rodríguez-Ro, painter, in an outpouring of affection and nostalgia. Divided into two parts that run in parallel, the filmmaker takes us through his memories and roots while showing us her last conversations with his mother. The film is full of little details of the daily life and they become so present after the void that leaves a loved one who passes: the sounds of the house like a washing machine or a clock, ... He gives us tour of Valencia, the city that has seen him grow, and leaves us a sour taste by the completely empty spaces we find.

The clearest division, visually speaking, is the chromatic one. The color is only present in his memories and scenes with his mother, the rest is is in black and white. The way to accept the absence, the black and white part, is the most beautiful part of the film. And perhaps it's the most beautiful because of the nostalgia that Samuel Sebastian gives to them.

The slow pace of the film, as its name suggests, helps us to be witnesses of this familiar journey. We try to avoid it but it is necessary to do in order to close the cycle, the stage and continue living. Because after that, all that people always will be with us, in our factions that are theirs, in our eyes that memorized them, in our hands that touched them and in our memories that will perpetuate them forever.


Making the frame of the dead took more than four years in which has been a lot of scripts, editings and discarded material. In addition, there has been a personal evolution and an obsession to express deep emotions in every sequence. It is more or less easy to transmit them when you are facing the abyss of death, because its attractive - repulsive form makes that you want to blindfold but at the same time you don't want to stop watching it, and it's even harder when you open your past and uncover the miseries of your life.

The frame of the dead is a documentary in which art plays a fundamental role: the eternal and imperdurable art, is opposed to the ephemeral, the representation of life to a non-existent audience. It is true that we make art and enjoy it in order to forget the brevity of our existence, but it is also true that only through him we can think lucidly about life.

The frame of the dead (Photo 1) The frame of the dead (Photo 2)
The frame of the dead (Photo 3)
© Copyright 2011. Samuel Sebastian
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