Pablo's Winter (El Invierno de Pablo) is set in Almadén, the filmmaker's hometown, which hosted for 2000 years the most productive mercury mines in World History. The mines closed some 15 years ago and the last generation of mercury miners are now in their seventies.
Pablo's Winter is the story of a retired mercury miner trying to stop smoking, with the end of the mining culture as an important backdrop. These miners and their families have been widely underrepresented. Therefore, with this film we aim to make justice to the essential role that the mercury miners have had in the history of this town.
Pablo, a chain smoker retired miner is always sitting down at his living room table. When Pablo visits the doctor, we find out that he has suffered five heart attacks. The doctor urges the miner to stop smoking. Pablo shrugs and buys 40 packets of fags in his way home...
A story of nicotine and mercury
Pablo spends the vast majority of his days alone. Either in front of the TV or sitting in his garage. Always surrounded by a cloud of smoke. This is how we meet him; thoughtful, quiet and taciturn. His dark eyes pierce the world surrounding him, seeing way beyond the surface of the town. His only interaction is with his wife. Their relationship is one of old habits and routines, two lives that run side by side but seemingly rarely intersect. When Pablo visits the doctor, he is told he must give up smoking; Pablo listens politely, shrugs, walks out, and lights up the next cigarette outside the very doors of the consultancy. He has no time for doctors.
As the obvious question of whether Pablo will succeed in his attempt to quit smoking arises so does the issue of the future of Almadén. Thus, this film becomes a profound reflection on past and present, the traditional and the new. It is a moment of historical importance for the town and it’s older generations, but it is also a moment of hope and opportunity for the young to reinvent themselves and create a new identity for this town steeped in history.
An x-ray of a town
Pablo's Winter visually explores the decay and abandonment of a town through the marks that the past has left on the local landscape. The black and white photography is used for its capacity to enhance the feeling, and texture, of a world that disappears.
Conceptually, the image of Pablo's lungs x-ray becomes pivotal to the film imagery, providing a strong visual motif to represent surface and depth, the two realities of a mining village. Likewise the real Almadén is beneath the surface, the real conflict that Pablo's Winter explores goes beyond Pablo's attempt to stop smoking, becoming a film about the end of an era.