An On-Screen Trial: Resistance to Corruption or Audience Manipulation in Ciutat Morta?

  • Aurélie Vialette Stony Brook University


In this essay I argue that Ciutat Morta, a 2013 film directed by Xavier Artigas and Xapo Ortega based on the case “4F,” is turned into a fiction of a court of justice and puts forth an aesthetics aimed at recreating the conditions for a new sentence. This aesthetics, in itself a fiction, is however constructed in all its aspects to become a powerful tool of denunciation of the actual trial. Witnesses from all institutional spheres dismantle the arguments that the judges had used to write the sentence and imprison the defendants. In this regard, then, the documentary, as a fictional medium, is however given the status of a document empowered as a tool for a new narrative of the events. Yet to do so, the documentary manipulates the development of the case to present evidence in its particular narrative, sometimes forgetting how the law actually operates: this subtle and notwithstanding alteration of the narrative provides a fascinating insight into how the creation of an on-screen trial can have social repercussions, up to forming webs of solidarity and acts of resistance in the public sphere. 

Número especial / Special Issue