Casteller Festival

Mike Randolph has dedicated a lot of his time studying Spain as a country; its people and all that it entails. One of the most captivating features that he found was the “casteller festival”, that is an important aspect of Spanish culture. This is what the documentary is all about; the casteller festival. Mike Randolph filmed and documented the November 2010 casteller festival and brought into perspective a number of its features. The short film basically documents the activities that take place during the casteller festival, the regulations and other features included. The documentary has been shot in one of Spain’s main towns.

Basically, the documentary shows how Spaniards go about the casteller festivals. It shows masses of people organizing themselves to build castles. The people have been divided into various groups, with each group donning different-colored clothes. The festival is basically a sort of competition as the different groups are competing to come up with a castell (castle in Spanish) and bring it down. Though unknowingly, these groups of people are taking part in highly complicated architecture which has turned into a very popular tourist attraction for the region.

As shown in the documentary, the castells are not brought up haphazardly; there are certain rules to be followed. For one, the castell is built through succession. Each level is built at a go staring with the pinya, which is the bottom-most layer. It is comprised of strong individuals that support the whole castell.

Having formed the base, the documentary shows various levels being built slowly until they end up forming relatively high towers of people. The enxaneta is shown to form the final level of the castell. The documentary shows young children acting as the enxaneta in this case. They climb up the castell, and raise their hand showing four fingers while at the top. After this, they slowly go down the castell, systematically followed by the rest.

Mike however tries to depict just how risky the whole idea is. He shows several cases where various castells end up collapsing and people falling on top of each other. Although the pinya is said to provide cushion incase of such, there still ends up casualties many a times. Mike shows ambulances and sights of people injured after their castell crumbled. However, it still depicts the picture of a people united and aimed at achieving a particular goal together, as one.