Ciutat morta

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Ciutat Morta ("Dead City" in Catalan) is a Spanish documentary film about the 4F case directed by Xavier Artigas and Xapo Ortega in 2013. It has been honored at the Guía de Isora Festival, MiradasDoc, with an honorable mention, and also as best documentary at the Málaga Film Festival in 2014.[1]


The documentary 4F: ni oblit ni perdó ("4F: neither forgetting nor forgiveness" in Catalan) was pre-screened in Barcelona on June 8, 2013 with an action of civil disobedience. This action consisted of the occupation by 800 people of a cinema closed 11 years ago, in the center of Barcelona: the Palacio del Cine of Via Laietana. The cinema was renamed Cinema Patricia Heras. Ciutat Morta includes images of the occupation of the cinema.[2][3]

Ciutat Morta was officially premiered on March 24, 2014 at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival.


June 8, 2013. 800 people enter an abandoned cinema in the center of Barcelona in order to project a documentary. The old building is renamed Cinema Patricia Heras in honor of a girl who committed suicide two years earlier. But who is Patricia? Why did she decide to take her own life? How does her death relate to Barcelona? The answers to these questions are exactly what they want to publicize with this illegal action as well as a great media impact: to know the truth about one of the worst cases of police and judicial corruption in Barcelona.

4F case[edit]

The night of February 4, 2006 ended with a police charge in the center of Barcelona. It was around an old busy theater where a party was being held. Among nightsticks hits, objects started to fall from the occupied house’s rooftop. As the Mayor of Barcelona reported on the radio a few hours later, one of the city policemen, who wore no helmet, was in a coma by the impact of a stone.

The arrests that came immediately after the tragic incident tell us the chronicle of revenge. Three young detainees, of South American origin, were severely tortured in police stations and later sent to provisional prison, being deprived of their freedom for two years, awaiting trial, without being able to clarify what they were accused of. Two other detainees that night - Patricia and Alfredo - deny they had been present at the scene: they were detained in a nearby hospital and found suspected because of the way they dressed.[4] Despite the evidence that exonerated all defendants, in the trial that was held against them, individuals were not being judged, but an entire collective.[5]

It was a generic enemy built by the press and politicians of the model city Barcelona. Barcelona, had just released its so-called "civic ordinance," a hygienist law, a perfect legal framework for the gentrification plans of some downtown neighborhoods for tourism.[6] The boys arrested that night were scapegoats that fit perfectly, for its aesthetics, with the image of the anti-establishment dissident: the internal enemy that the model city had been generating lately.[7]

Years later, the news appeared in the media that two policemen had been sentenced to prison, with sentences of more than two years, for having tortured a young Latin American in police stations. The conviction showed that officers lied and manipulated evidence during the trial. In order to cover up the torture they subjected to the young Latin American, they accused him of being a drug trafficker. However, in the course of the judicial inquiry the judge found that the accusation was false and was a police coverup: the young man was actually the son of the honorary consul of Norway in Trinidad and Tobago and was in Barcelona studying for university studies. These officers turned out to be the same ones who had tortured the young detainees that night of February 4, 2006, in addition to having declared as witnesses against the defendants during the celebration of the trial. It became clear that the torturers used the same modus operandi in both cases. The only difference in the second case was the social origin of the victims: being the son of a diplomat, the tortured young man had a fair trial; Those accused of the process of February 4, 2006 did not have it. It is the umpteenth history of police impunity, accompanied by good doses of racism, classism and the violation of fundamental rights, all protected by a police-judicial apparatus and politicians obsessed with the real estate business that offers the Barcelona brand at the expense of its citizens.

Patricia Heras, the dead poetess[edit]

Beyond the city of Barcelona, the main character of Ciutat Morta is Patricia, who we get to know through her poetry, the testimony of her friends and her ex-partners.[8] She is a young student of literature, extremely sensitive, which hides her insecurities behind an eccentric aesthetic, fueled by the queer culture with which it is identified.

The experience that runs through that morning of February 4, 2006, when she is arrested along with her friend Alfredo in a hospital, gives a radical change to her life. Two years of anguish awaiting trial, exhausting all the savings of her life to pay lawyers. Three years in prison. Apart of shredding her life, these events trigger her literary productivity that is being recorded in a blog titled in a premonitory way: Poeta Muerta ("Dead Poet" in Spanish).[9]

Patricia commits suicide during a release from jail in April 2011. The authors of this film tried to pay homage.

Dissemination and impact on the media[edit]


The film is published under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.


The documentary Ciutat Morta was financed exclusively with a campaign of crowdfunding on the platform Verkami from microdonations, obtaining 4,720 € of the 4,211 € requested. The surplus was allocated directly to the support group to Patricia Heras and Rodrigo Lanza with the "Des-Montaje 4F" campaign.[10]

The real cost, if all the expenses of realization had been covered, would amount to approximately €90,000.


The media minimized the coverage of its premiere and its winning prizes at different festivals.[11] TV3, the Catalan public television, refused the coproduction of the film once the shooting was concluded, and tried to delay as much as possible the airing of the documentary, even when it was offered to air for free. Eugeni Sallent (director of TV3) even lied about this fact in the parliament.[12]

Finally, the documentary was broadcast on January 17, 2015 on Channel 33 in prime time but not in its full version, obtaining a screen share in Catalonia of 20% and an audience of 569,000 people.[13] The version broadcast on TV had around 5 minutes deleted, in compliance with a judicial ruling,[14] which was considered as a possible form of partial censorship.[15]


  • Festival Internacional de Cine Documental MiradasDoc 2013. Mención Honorífica.
  • Festival de Málaga de Cine Español 2014. Premio al mejor documental. Biznaga de Plata.[16][17]
  • Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián 2014. Sección Made In Spain
  • Festival DocLisboa 2014.[18]
  • Muestra Cinematográfica del Atlántico Alcances de Cádiz 2014. Premio del Público al mejor largometraje.
  • Festival Plataforma Nuevos Realizadores de Madrid PNR 2014. Premio a mejor largometraje. Premio de la crítica. Premio del jurado joven.
  • Festival de Cine Iberoamericano de Huelva. Premio al mejor documental de la Universidad de Huelva.
  • Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona L'Alternativa. Premi GAC a millor Guió.
  • Festival de Cine i Drets Humans de Barcelona- Premi Amnistia Internacional.
  • Festival du Cinema Espagnol de Toulouse. Cinespaña. International Documentary Film Festival DocsBarcelona. Sección especial.[19][20]
  • Festival Internacional de Cine Documental de Uruguay AtlanticDoc 2013. Sección oficial.
  • OVNI 2014.
  • Muestra Documental LUPA. Donostia 2014.
  • Voghera Film Festival 2014. Sección oficial.
  • Barcelona Creative Commons Film Festival BCCN.
  • Festival de Cine Creative Commons Donostia.
  • Festival de Cine Creative Commons Sevilla.
  • Festival de Cine Creative Commons Valladolid.
  • Festival Internacional de Cine de Albacete 2014. Sección oficial. Abycine.
  • Festival Internacional de Cine de Porcuna 2014. FIC Porcuna.


  1. ^ "Un documental sobre el caso 4F, premiado en el festival de Málaga". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  2. ^ "Cientos de jóvenes ocupan el Palau del Cinema para proyectar el documental sobre el 'caso 4F'". La Vanguardia. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  3. ^ "Poeta morta". El Punt Avui (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  4. ^ "Ciudades muertas, sistemas deficientes | La Crítica". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  5. ^ "Ciutat morta". Cronica global (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  6. ^ "'Ciutat morta': El vídeoactivismo rompe el silencio | Periódico Diagonal". Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  7. ^ "Ciutat morta -" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2017-05-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ "Mantener con vida a la poeta muerta". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  9. ^ "poeta muerta". Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  10. ^ "Èxit de la campanya – CIUTAT MORTA (Des_Montaje 4F)" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  11. ^ "El caso más grave de torturas en Barcelona, silenciado por los medios" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  12. ^ Directa. "Cinc correus electrònics demostren que el director de TV3 ha mentit amb relació al documental 'Ciutat Morta'". Directa (in Catalan). Archived from the original on 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2017-05-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ associats, Partal, Maresma i. "La censura dispara l'expectació per 'Ciutat Morta'". (in Catalan). Archived from the original on 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2017-05-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ Directa. "Un jutjat de Barcelona ordena que TV3 emeti 'Ciutat Morta' amb cinc minuts de censura". Directa (in Catalan). Archived from the original on 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2017-05-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  15. ^ BARCELONA, EL PERIÓDICO / (2015-01-17). "Un juzgado censura cinco minutos de 'Ciutat morta'". El Periódico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  16. ^ "'Ciutat morta', premi al millor documental al Festival de Màlaga". (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  17. ^ "El Caso 4F llega al Festival de Cine de Málaga de la mano de 'Ciutat Morta'". 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  18. ^ "Doclisboa 2014". Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  19. ^ "El DocsBarcelona estarà carregat de d'activisme social". (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  20. ^ "'Ciutat Morta': rèquiem per Barcelona". Time Out Barcelona (in Catalan). Retrieved 2017-05-26.

External links[edit]