Éste coche shows a series of cars, a few shiny and polished, but most rusted out. The models suggest that they have been standing still for decades, left for dead on the curb. In the Netherlands, they would all have been given a parking ticket, but in South American streets, cars are allowed to slowly die.
This brief portrait is, because of its preciseness, a good introduction to the travel films of Henri Plaat, because these are no ordinary travel films. They do not describe the route from A to B, and there are no recognizable places or tourist destinations.
The fact that Éste coche was shot in South America can only been deduced by reading the texts on the whitewashed walls, or by listening to the old boleros on the soundtrack. But the exact locations remain unclear, and it does not matter. Henri Plaat’s eye is initially drawn by colour and form, regardless of the object, and regardless of the location. And above all, he is interested in the weathering, abrasive action of the sun, the rain, and the wind; basically, of time. What does time do to those shapes, to those colours? Plaat collects (as the title of one of his films indicates) fragments of decay. That is why he travels to Latin America, or Asia, or the Maghreb: unlike the shiny, always renewed West, in these places you can still see the beauty of peeling paint on a wall, of uncompleted buildings, or rusting cars.