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Photo of Pere Portabella
Photo of Pere Portabella

Pere Portabella

“To conceive a film, I always need to place myself in front of a blank sheet. It is the shortest road to the blank and empty screen, with the best conditions. In a way, it is like working directly on the screen itself.”

Available to Watch

    THE SILENCE BEFORE BACH

    Pere Portabella Spain, 2007

    Right from the initial prowl of a camera through an empty studio and toward a piano, this pensive feature from experimental Catalan director Pere Portabella explores the complex relationship between image and music. A strange and beautiful celebration of the role Bach’s music plays in the world.

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    VAMPIR

    Pere Portabella Spain, 1971

    Pere Portabella—master of the avant-garde, politician, and all-around renaissance man, made this mysterious film; which follows Christopher Lee. Shot on the fly in between scenes in the crevices of another films shoot, Vampir is an evocative investigation into narrative, myth, and Spanish cinema.

    WARSAW BRIDGE

    Pere Portabella Spain, 1989

    An enigmatic work from one of our favorite filmmakers, Pere Portabella, Warsaw Bridge is both a drama of a love triangle and a study of collective memory. Released the year of the fall of the Berlin wall, this fractured, sophisticated artefact remains a pertinent meditation on the state of Europe.

    NOCTURNO 29

    Pere Portabella Spain, 1968

    Starkly shot in black-and-white, Nocturno 29 is the moody debut from renaissance man Pere Portabella (experimental filmmaker, senator, intellectual and producer of Buñuel’s Viridiana!). His fragmentary ’68 masterpiece stars Lucia Bosé and was co-scripted by the great poet Joan Brossa.

    UMBRACLE

    Pere Portabella Spain, 1972

    Experimental Catalan director Pere Portabella is highly praised—vividly by Jonathan Rosenbaum—yet under-known, and it’s films like this poetic, fragmentary attack on Franco’s “official Spain” which make him essential. An avant-garde firebomb starring, believe it or not, Christopher Lee!

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