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  • Prologue to the Spanish edition of MOVIE MUTATIONS by Pere Portabella [2010]

    Prologue to Movie Mutations By Pere Portabella Over a period of six years, Jonathan Rosenbaum coordinated a group of analysts, critics and film historians with the idea of starting research through dialogue, texts, epistolary exchanges and personal encounters. The people forming part of this interesting process, which has now been ...

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  • Pont de Varsòvia. Critica

    Catalan director Pere Portabella has been enjoying an unusual amount of exposure in New York lately. Last September, MoMA imported a Chicago retrospective that was the first of its kind in North America. In January, Film Forum gave Portabella's 2007 film, The Silence Before Bach, a two-week theatrical run. And ...

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  • Speech by Pere Portabella for the event at which he is awarded an Honorary Doctoral Degree by the Universidad Autónoma of Barcelona

    In order to conceive a film, I must always place a blank sheet of paper in front of me. This is the quickest way to envisage a blank and empty screen under the best of conditions. In a certain way, it is like working directly on the screen itself. Then ...

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  • A General Report

    The central idea of this film originated in the same context in which it intends to situate itself: a complete lack of information, a result of an inaccessibility to mass media by important opinion sectors in the country. Cinema can contribute to increase the degree of awareness of the subjects ...

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  • Miró-Portabella. Poetics and transgression

    This exhibition was inspired by the impressionthat the documentary Miro l�altre byPere Portabella made on me when I saw it on cinema screen. After that, the ideakept going round and round in my mind that I had to find a singleexhibition format that could link in both creators� transgressive ...

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  • Pondering complexity though cinema

    Filmmaker Pere Portabella's work as director, producer, and agitator has been influencing Spanish cinema since the late 1950s. Portabella produced Carlos Saura's first feature-length fil, Los golfos (1959), Marco Ferreri's El cochecito (1960), Luis Buñuel's Viridiana (1961), and the young José Luis Guerin's Tren de sombras (1997); the latter ...

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  • Interview with Pere Portabella. 1973

    QUESTION: What is your educational background??   ANSWER: I did primary school at the Hermanos de la Doctrina Cristiana and then high school at the Escolapios on Balmes street (in Barcelona). Q: The fact that you were educated at the Escolapios presupposes a certain economic level. A: I went to the ...

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  • Looking after sight

    In this country, we are so used to contemplating our navel that, instead of considering the general crisis which has befallen the cinema for the last decades, we reduce the problem to the bad health of Spanish cinema and blame our authors, our governments, the American film industry or the ...

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  • Moviegoing at Cannes: Classics without labels

    Re-discovering the silent cinema through largely "documentary" means, Pere Portabella's Vampir-Cuadecuc was at once the most original movie at the festival and the most sophisticated in its audacious modernism. Initially, the documentary subject is the filming of a commercial Spanish version of Dracula with Christopher Lee (directed by Jesus Franco), ...

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  • Miró 37 (Aidez l'Espagne) - Miró La Guerra, 1969

    Between the end of the 1960s and the dictator's death, Pere Portabella focused his production in several complementary directions. On the one hand, he took on the job of directing two of his most personal full-length films, the deconstructive Vampir-Cuadecuc (1970) and Umbracle (1972), both related to the analysis and ...

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  • Still Life

    It is impossible to hold your breath for twenty minutes, you can however imagine that what you are seeing lasts for a whole suppressed intake of breath. The camera moves this way and that while it follows the process of emptying the Huerta de San Vicente of all its contents; ...

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  • No compteu amb els dits

    This film is narrated by using as a narrative structure, the norms for publicity cinema and by taking as "new time" the screening in most movie theaters of a series of publicity spots. Each of the 28 sequences of the film have an autonomous action always enclosed within itself, and ...

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  • Nocturn 29

    The narrative approach of Nocturn 29 is based on a series or suites of apparently unconnected situations, that always turn around the development of a subject that gives "body" and unity to the story without resorting to the use of an anecdote as plot continuity. At the center of its ...

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  • Umbracle. The Village Voice. 1972

    For the second year in a row, the boldest new work I saw at Cannes was by Pedro Portabella. Umbracle, a multi-faceted statement of political despair from Franco's Spain, is far more ambitious and open-ended than last year's Vampir - Cuadecuc, and even harder to encapsulate. The eerie, spectral imagery of ...

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  • Screening of Vampir-Cuadecuc in MoMA. 1972

    The fact that I cannot be here today – much against my will – forces me to write these lines as an introduction to my film.   VAMPIR is an attempt at a reflection on cinematic language. Perhaps, since it was made during the shooting of Jesus Franco's production COUNT DRACULA, it is ...

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  • An Instant of Truth

    Should a special edition in digital format of Count Dracula (1971), by that prolific Spanish director, Jesus Franco, be released again on the market, Vampir-Cuadecuc, the very film that subjugates and "vampirizes" it, should definitely be included as an important extra on the DVD. It would not be the first ...

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  • A punk in a suit and tie

    If Glauber Rocha had been forced to film a commercial for Levi's, the result would have been very similar, visually, to the first sequence of Nocturn 29. The open landscape in which the action takes place is like the scenery in Serrato in several of this Brazilian director's films: dry, ...

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  • Strange Beauty

    The medium-length film No conteu amb els dits, Pere Portabella's first work as a director, starts with the following phrase: "defeated, but not conquered". This may or should be taken as an allusion to the technical K.O. -see interview- taken by Portabella from Franco's regime during the sixties as ...

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  • Eisenstein, Godard, Brossa, Brecht, Buñuel, Dracula and General Franco dine at the table of History: the persevering cinema of Pere Portabella

    To understand the historical relevance of Pere Portabella we need to consider his work as the singular result of a crossing of the artistic vanguard, cinematic experience and political activity - experience which, since the beginning, has sought to operate simultaneously in synch and in depth with the contemporary languages of ...

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  • Virtual architecture

    In the first series of shots of Pont de Varsòvia, the viewer sees different buildings that seem to suggest the plans of an impossible museum, one which can contain a life-size history of architecture, going from a mud or adobe hut to glass and metal skyscrapers, by way of ...

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  • Perfect politics

    The best political film ever made begins with fifteen unforgettable minutes. This beginning corresponds to a long shot over the Castile mountain range that stops facing the huge cross, part of the monument in the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen). The following shots are different approaches ...

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  • In destruction

    The many facets of the meaning conveyed make Umbracle an unclassifiable, heterogeneous, unfathomable creation. It is both a reflection on the mechanics of film representation (perhaps like all Portabella's incomprehensibly occult work) and a film that branches out at each step it takes. But while some films think of cinema ...

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  • Umbracle. Time Out. June 1972

    During the festival there was also a series of one-off screenings outside any official presentation, and one of the films shown, Pere Portabella's Umbracle. Umbracle (the title means literally "shady place" and is the name of an area of Barcelona), is a film about frustration, repression and paranoia, that operates ...

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  • The Silence Before Bach - A film by Pere Portabella (2007)

    Die Stille vor Bach is an approximation of music and its related disciplines and professions through the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. The film is a reflection on the deep dramaturgical relations between image and music, where music is not merely a subsidiary substratum of image, but a subject of ...

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  • Portabella's other continuity

    On a certain occasion Pere Portabella declared that his films were based on constant surprises for the spectator, on "the magic, the charm (duende), the interest, passion and emotion roused by entering the unknown".1 But this observation is common to many film makers (particularly political leftists). Portabella adds, however, ...

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