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Politico-poetry: The Cinema of Pere Portabella

Politico-poetry: The Cinema of Pere Portabella

Pere Portabella is one of Spain’s most adventurous and pertinent filmmakers: while being deeply involved in politics (before and after Franco’s death), he also took his first steps into filmmaking, first as a producer (of Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana amongst other films) and then as a director. What is astonishing in the Catalan director’s artistic practice is how the political and aesthetic dimensions coincide fully. Alongside his formally and fundamentally activist early films, the works from his later filmography testify to a more narrative yet free-flowing type of cinema, in which architecture, art and music take a pivotal role in exploring the makings of history, fragmenting and unweaving its representation to better explore the current state of our modern world.

NOCTURNO 29

Pere Portabella Spain, 1968

Starkly shot in evocative black and white, Nocturno 29 is a moody masterpiece from renaissance man Pere Portabella (politician, experimental filmmaker, senator, intellectual, and the producer of Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana!) co-scripted by the great poet Joan Brossa.

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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.

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!

MIRÓ L'ALTRE

Pere Portabella Mexico, 1969

As publicity for the exhibit Miró L’altre, organized by the Colegio de Arquitectos de Catalunya in 1969, the Board commissioned Pere Portabella to film Miró painting the “poster” for the exhibit on the ground floor windows of the building.

MIRÓ FORJA

Pere Portabella Spain, 1973

The film, that took five days to shoot, shows the smelting and casting process of the work known as Puertas Mallorquinas by Joan Miró.

MIRÓ TAPIS

Pere Portabella Spain, 1973

The film was shot in six days in Montroig del Camp (the Miró country home) and in Tarragona during the process of elaboration of an original tapestry for eight months using 1200 kilos of wool and 600 kilos for the warp.

GENERAL REPORT

Pere Portabella Spain, 1977

The lucid, radical work of Pere Portabella creates an invaluable space for rethinking reality, fiction and the political dimension of both. With this monumental landmark of activist cinema, the filmmaker dissects a crucial moment in Spain’s history: its transition from dictatorship to democracy.

VISCA EL PIANO!

Pere Portabella Spain, 2006

Carles Santos plays several of his pieces on the piano. This film was made for the exhibit on Carles Santos Visca el piano! held at the Miro Foundation in the summer of 2006.