Using grainy 16mm stock, director Tom Haines’ stunning film captures the drama, confusion and traditions of the two-day Luminarias fiesta in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, with a rich soundtrack of an original Unkle score and a reading of the Rafael Alberti poem Galope. The festival takes place every January and involves “cleansing” horses and their riders as they pass through burning pine brush. 

Dating back 500 years, it evolved from a purification ceremony around the time of the Great Plague. A priest blesses the riders and the horses, before they are paraded through the town with a pageant of musicians. Riders then loop along the cobbled streets as the huge fires are lit, gathering speed until they dramatically charge through the flames

Premiered on Nowness. 

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