El Raval

08001 is the postal code of the Barrio of Raval, in Barcelona, in Catalonia, in Spain. Barcelona is one of the new capitals of european culture; a city with 1,6 million habitants, it has a huge cultural output compared with its physical size.
In this vibrating capital a distinct microcosm in its center stands as a unique symbol for its mixture of global flair, and real and virtual migration. The Raval is a well-defined district, having once housed the city walls, and being now the most transformed neighbourhood of the city. It consolidated its claim as an industrial nucleus during the 19th century, began life in the 20th century not only as the breeding ground of the emerging trade union movement but also as one of the most densely populated areas of the city, with an advanced state of degradation. A torturous network of narrow streets close to the port housing the poorest strata of society, emigrants and prostitutes who earned their living in the neighbourhood so-called Barrio Chino. In the 80`s the area was the subject of an elaborate and ambitious urban plan, the PERI, by the city`s administration. The project involved the compulsory purchase of lands, the construction of new housing to accomodate the affected families and the demolition and remodelling of existing buildings. Even though the project was the cause for much protest, the area has come to permit a certain coexistence, combining its inherited poverty with artist studios, private art galleries, commercial offices,the University, the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), and Barcelona's Centre for Contemporary Culture (CCCB). The Barrio is famous for its high output in music, multimedia, art, design, arcitecture and theater, influenced by the different cultures coming together in Raval. The inhabitants, from europe, africa, south america, and asia, live here side by side, in a mix of tradition and progress. Nowadays tourism is a rapidly growing phenomenon here, with the rent increasing rapidly, bringing to light the inevitable processes which are part of one of the poorest neighboorhoods in Barcelona becoming one of the wealthiest.

The Concept

The goal of this documentary is to give a kind of snapshot of people's lives in the neighborhood. The stories of the inhabitants tell a lot about the various aspects of the location from a very personal point of view. The idea is to accompany people with very distinct points of view through their everyday lives and to combine all of these stories as part of one day in Raval, in which the camera changes situation and thus perspective over time.

The way of filming

The cinematic design is to be clearly distinguishable and stand out from a classic reportage or documentary film style. The film does not follow a story in the classical way, it does not use any interviews, a narrative voice or music which is not part of the ambience in the image. Instead the camera is observing simple situations in the daily life in the Raval neighbourhood, following its main protagonists as a silent observer in their ordinary life. Subtitles are avoided in the film; instead the viewer finds himself observing simple routine from different perspectives as if he were precisely on location, encountering the usual cloud of conversation as it occurs on the street.


The documentary has been filmed and realised by Christian Plähn and Miguel Anton Malo. Original concept, edit, sounddesign, grading and design by Christian Plähn.

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