At the beginning of the 70s, a group of young Catalans moved to New York, fleeing Franco’s grayness. Initially gathered around the poster artist Carles Fontserè, who subsists in the city as a taxi driver, they make friends as they settle in the SoHo neighborhood, the egg yolk of the avant-gardes that will mark the second half of the 20th century Over the years, a friendship and unbreakable loyalty will be born between them and they will call themselves, ironically, the Karamazoffs. They are the plastic artists Robert Llimós, Evru (Zush), Xavier Medina-Campeny and Antoni Miralda, the photographers Mireia and Marta Sentís, the video artist Antoni Muntadas, Jaume Ollé, a doctor and photographer, who worked in a NY hospital, and the graphic designer Bibi Escalas who died shortly before starting the project and to whom the authors have dedicated the documentary.
Through the experiences of the Karamazoffs and interviews with other protagonists of the time, such as the pioneers of SoHo: Jonas Mekas and Jaime Davidovich, or the video artist Marshall Reese, the documentary takes us into the birth of SoHo at the beginning of the years 60, when artists from all over the world occupied the abandoned factories transforming the neighborhood into a nerve center of artistic experimentation, until its heyday in the 70s and 80s and its subsequent transformation into a district of fashion stores. A splendid documentary, which took four years of work and which has archival images that make it an exceptional document. In these images, many of them lent by Jonas Mekas, the “father” of American underground cinema, we can see the first experiments of Nan June Paik, George Maciunas and the beginnings of Fluxus, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the birth of The Kitchen, John Cage, the Factory and Andy Warhol’s first exhibitions or the first concerts of the Velvet Underground and Laurie Anderson, among others.
For the presentation and subsequent discussion we had the authors of the documentary, Juan Gamero and Carme Rodríguez, and some Karamazoff.
Title: The Karamazoffs
Screenplay and direction: Juan Gamero and Carmen Rodríguez
Production: Paradocs, with co-production of La Quimera and TV3-Televísió de Catalunya
Camera and editing: Juan Gamero
Original music: Marc Sastre