photo: Gracia Bascones helps her two sons, Pepe and Gabi Fernández, put on their tunics of the brotherhood of La Candelaria. / CARLA SRADERS
Semana Santa in Seville. During one week, thousands of citizens trade in their everyday wear for different costumes: hooded nazareno penitent tunics, elaborate black veils, and well-tailored suits. Restaurants decorate their shop fronts with purple banners and religious images. Spectator stands, chairs, fences and gates are set up throughout the city center.
Before news stations, professional and aspiring photographers, and documentary filmmakers fill the city on the first Sunday, Seville prepares itself. During its Semana Santa the city becomes a stage and its inhabitants actors of a drama, both joyful and solemn, for which they have been longing a whole year.
One such actor is Gabriel “Gabi” Hernandez Bascones, a seventeen-year-old member of the hermandad or brotherhood of La Candelaria, whom we followed during Semana Santa of 2015. Here we see part of Gabi’s script on Martes Santo, or Holy Tuesday, as he prepares to process through the streets of Seville.
• • •
EXTERIOR – AVENIDA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN IN SEVILLE – JUST BEFORE NOON
Unfocused silver fence. Slowly focus to reveal the insignia of the city, “NO8DO”. Hold.
A man carrying chairs passes into frame. PULL BACK to reveal many men setting up chairs and fences. The sun beats down. The streets are empty and all is quiet aside from the metal clanking of chairs and fences.
PULL BACK to AERIAL SHOT. Thousands of brown wooden chairs. Dozens of men weaving in and out of the maze-like set.
INTERIOR – DORMITORY ROOM OF GABI HERNANDEZ BASCONES IN A LARGE HOUSE OF THE HELIÓPOLIS NEIGHBORHOOD – 10 AM
Black screen. Slowly lightens. AERIAL SHOT of seventeen-year-old GABI lying in bed with eyes wide open. Suddenly, we HEAR the buzz of an alarm clock across the room. Already awake, GABI reaches over to turn it off.
Rolling out of bed, GABI goes towards the window and pulls away the blinds. Sunlight pours into the room. DOLLY IN to look out the window. Bright blue skies, not a single cloud.
We HEAR GABI let out a sigh of relief.
INTERIOR – LIVING ROOM OF GABI’S HOUSE – 3 PM
White living room. Father and two sons, GABI and PEPE, seated watching the news. Silence. Quiet clicking of the remote.
ANGLE ON the remote. JOSÉ MARÍA, GABI’s father, methodically presses the channel button. We HEAR the whir of different stations.
POINT OF VIEW (POV) REVERSE ANGLE
The different channels show for a few seconds each, different news anchors. Suddenly, the TV shows pasos, or floats, of Semana Santa.
All three men lean in towards the TV.
Where is this?
The floats are huge.
Yeah, but they don’t carry them like the costaleros here in Seville. Instead, they carry the floats over their shoulders, outside of the float. That way is much easier.
GRACIA, GABI’s mother passes into the frame.
Get dressed! We’re going to leave in 15 minutes.
GABI gets up from the couch and walks towards the dining room table.
OVER THE SHOULDER
Three white tunics and hoods are laid out on the table. A box labeled ‘La Candelaria’ holds medallions inside.
PEPE, GABI’s younger brother, walks into frame and picks up his tunic. PEPE walks back out of frame. HOLD on GABI, staring down at the medallions on the table.
ANOTHER ANGLE favoring PEPE. Tunic over his head, unable to pull his arms or head through the tunic. Arms flailing.
GABI and GRACIA laugh. Both walk over to help PEPE put on his tunic.
Pepe, do you want me to bring water for you? Water or a sandwich?
GRACIA bends down to fix the hem on the bottom of the tunic. Smoothing out rough edges, primping PEPE.
Will I be able to eat it?
INSERT JOSÉ MARÍA, sitting on the couch, watching his sons get ready for the procession of their hermandad.
Yes, Pepe. But if you were at the front of the procesion… you wouldn’t be able to eat anything!
PEPE gets his tunic on fully. GRACIA continues to primp.
Not even a candy?
JOSÉ MARÍA (V.O.)
Not even a candy.
GABI pulls his tunic over his head and begins to get ready.
The nazarenos can’t even leave the line to go to the bathroom or to give their family member a kiss.
ANOTHER ANGLE favoring PEPE. GRACIA stands up and rests her arms on her son’s shoulders.
Are you ready?
EXTERIOR – 5 PM
GRACIA walking out of her house. Three white nazarenos follow, already wearing their pointed hoods.
The four walk towards a yellow van across the street. The men take off their hoods and all four climb inside.
EXTERIOR. BAR LA CANDELARIA on CALLE SAN JOSE – 6 PM
Overflow from bar La Candelaria onto the streets. Friends and family embrace, kiss and wave at each other among the crowd. People drinking, smoking and chatting. All dressed in their finest attire. We HEAR laughs and loud voices. Nazarenos pass by.
On their way to the Church of San Nicolas, home to the hermandad of La Candelaria and to the images of Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Salud and María Santísima de la Candelaria, which its brothers and sisters revere. Nazarenos show their inscription papers indicating their place in the procession.
A little girl dressed in a white tunic and blue cape over her shoulders passing out candy.
PULL BACK to see the street crowded with people. We HEAR trumpets and all chatter becomes silent. Stragglers move out of the street onto the crowded sidewalk.
Following a big black cross, two rows of white nazarenos start filing out of the church.
photo: A moment at the start of La Candelaria’s route. / CARLA SRADERS
DOLLY IN through the rows of nazarenos. Move towards a slim nazareno, GABI, CLOSE SHOT. Hold.
POV REVERSE ANGLE
Inside the slits of the nazareno’s hood. Swaying back and forth, slowly walking through the streets. Scanning the crowd.
A little girl walks into frame.
Will you give me a candy?
GABI reaches into his tunic and hands her one piece of candy.
Continue onto the street Muñoz y Pabón, GABI looks up towards the sky. Sunlight shines brightly down and flares in the camera.
What luck we’ve had that it’s sunny out! After having to cancel the event between 2011 and 2013 because of rain, we’re lucky that these past two years have been sunny.
EXTERIOR. PARTS OF SEVILLE, ALONG THE PROCESSION’S ROUTE ON ITS WAY TO THE CATHEDRAL – 7PM TO 3 AM
GABI walks sprightly down the street. We HEAR music playing, children laughing.
At the beginning of the route, I’m always really looking forward to doing it. Having waited for such a long time, it’s finally here. We can do our procession of penitence.
From inside the nazareno’s hood. Different parts along the path. Plaza de la Alfalfa, the giant honeycomb structure of the Setas, moving towards the start of the official route, or Carrera Oficial in Plaza de La Campana and calle Sierpes. All from the POV of GABI.
Gradually becomes much later at night. Darker. Longer cuts. Sways back and forth. Exhaustion. We HEAR less music, more whispers.
Although every year is different and I’m always excited to walk with my hermandad, it’s also very tiring.
A woman and her children pass into frame, cutting in the way of GABI and other nazarenos. The procession stops. People pass, cutting through the line of nazarenos for minutes. Local police block the path and GABI begins to walk again.
But while the procession of La Candelaria is very long, I have a lot of time to think about all that has happened during this past year and what I want to happen in the next one.
INSERT people watching appear tired. Children leaning against the fences. Those seated by city hall rest their heads in their hands.
When I see someone familiar, I lose all sense of tiredness. I pray for the people that accompany me in life.
Dark building. Still sways back and forth. Mostly darkness. Slowly PAN RIGHT to reveal the Cathedral. Lit up, powerful, contrast against the darkness. Less swaying, hold steady. Hold.
FOCUS ON nazarenos holding their candles. Unfocused view of the candles. All filing into the Cathedral.
FOCUS ON nazarenos, some holding their rosaries. Fingers drumming over each bead.
GABI enters the Cathedral through the Gate of San Miguel in Avenida de la Constitución. End of the Carrera Oficial.
I have to remember why I do this. I do it for my grandfather, José María. I do it for God.
PULL BACK through file of nazarenos until all of La Candelaria has gone inside. We HEAR a soft mutter of prayer coming from inside the Cathedral. Repetitive.
Fade to black. Still HEAR the repetitive mutter of prayer. Hold, then silence.
FIVE DAYS LATER
EXTERIOR. LA CAMPANA, SEVILLE – EASTER SUNDAY, 3 PM
Bright light. FOCUS ON the sun.
PAN DOWN from the sun towards La Campana. AERIAL SHOT. Streets are quiet. Barren.
GABI walks through La Campana. Follow him along the road. He walks through the empty street. Chairs and fences are stacked. Workers are putting the equipment into storage labeled for Semana Santa.
GABI continues down calle Sierpes. BREAK from his walk and SOFT DOLLY IN towards the fences. A worker is wrapping cellophane around silver fences used during Semana Santa. DOLLY IN towards the city’s ‘NO8DO’ insignia. Hold. Worker passes in and out of the frame as the cellophane begins to blur the insignia underneath. Semana Santa of 2015 is over.
FADE TO BLACK •