Close-Up Cinema: Pere Portabella retrospective

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21 January 2020, 8.15pm
Pere Portabella Short Films

We’re pleased to present a selection of Pere Portabella’s short films, including four collaborations with Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist Joan Miró.

  • Aidez L’espagne, Pere Portabella, 1969, 5 min
Miró L’altre, Pere Portabella, 1969, 15 min
Premios Nacionales, Pere Portabella, 1969, 5 min
Miró Forja, Pere Portabella, 1973, 24 min
Miró Tapis, Pere Portabella, 1973, 22 min

  • Art A Catalunya, Pere Portabella, 1992, 31 min
La Tempesta, Pere Portabella, 2003, 6 min

Total runtime ca 109 min


23 January 2020, 8.30pm
Nocturno 29 + No compteu amb els dits

No compteu amb els dits
Pere Portabella, 1967, 28 min
Spanish with English subtitles

Returning from an exile imposed by his production credit on Luis Buñuel's Viridiana; the first sentence of the film, Portabella’s directorial debut, is "Defeated… Deafeated but not vanquished" the final sequence: a gift to the spectator in a blank screen. With the participation of poet Joan Brossa, this is Portabella’s maiden ripping of the rulebook: an attempt to liberate from stasis and dogma the language of cinema.

Nocturno 29
Pere Portabella, 1968, 86 min
Spanish with English subtitles

Nocturno 29 begins where he left us in No compteu amb els dits: in front of the blank screen and the materiality of the projection. Co-scripted by the poet Joan Brossa, the film adopts a loose, fragmentary approach, depicting the lives of a bourgeois couple who engage in extramarital affairs. The title of the film refers to the 29 "dark years" of the Franco dictatorship in Spain and Catalonia. Though indebted to the works of Eisenstein, Antonioni, Bergman and Buñuel, Nocturno 29 remains entirely fresh and challenging as a forebear of the Barcelona avant-garde that would go on to carve out a radical reimagining of the potential of the moving image.


24 January 2020, 8.13pm
Carles Santos Short Films

"It is impossible to assign the work of Carles Santos (1940-2017) to one discipline, as he is a versatile artist like few others. He was a trained pianist and has not only composed and interpreted musical pieces and theatre plays, but has also directed and starred in several experimental films since the late sixties, where he researched the role of music and sound in the perception of a film from the viewers perspective. During the seventies, Santos composed pieces of music for many of Pere Portabella’s first short films, again experimenting with the concept of soundtracks and what they represent, elaborating a discourse that was not just a mere support for the images that were on screen." – Mostra de València, Cinema del Mediterrani

We're thrilled to host a very special evening with Tom Wheatley, presenting three newly restored films by Carles Santos – screening for the first time outside of Spain – alongside three collaborations between Santos and Pere Portabella.

  • L'Àpat, Carles Santos, 1967, 27'22 min
  • L'espectador, Carles Santos, 1967, 6'45 min
  • Preludi De Chopin, Opus 28, Núm. 7, Carles Santos, 1969, 20'45 min
  • Play Back, Pere Portabella, 1970, 8 min
  • Acció Santos, Pere Portabella, 1973, 12 min
  • Visac El Piano!, Pere Portabella, 2006, 12 min

Total runtime: ca 90 min


26 January 2020, 6pm
Tren de sombras

Tren de sombras
José Luis Guerín, 1997, 88 min
French & Spanish with English subtitles

Produced by Pere Portabella. "In this meditative, beautiful film, Guerín pays tribute to another artist, Gérard Fleury, an amateur filmmaker who disappeared in 1930 while scouting a location for a silent film. Home movies, re-creations, and present-day visits to key locations are intertwined and scenes are repeated and restaged, blurring fiction and nonfiction and questioning our ability to judge what is authentic. Fragile and decaying images reveal one view of Normandy, including provocative glimpses into intimate family life; contemporary images suggest another, populated by anonymous people. Underlying the film is the compulsion to salvage a lost and threatened past, a conviction that resonates with the films of Fleury, with cinema in the broadest sense, and with Catalan history." – Kathy Geritz


29 January 2020, 8.30pm
Umbracle + Mudanza

Pere Portabella, 1972, 85 min

"Umbracle" stems from the Latin "umbra": the innermost and darkest part of a shadow. As in Vampir-Cuadecuc, this film turns on two basic axes: the inquiry into ways of cinematographic representation and a critical image of official Spain at the time of the Franco dictatorship. "Montage of attractions" and Brechtianism in strong doses. Umbracle is made up of fragments (some are archive footage) that resound rather than progress by unusual links, with dejá vu scenes that promise us more but remaintensely unfinished. Jonathan Rosembaum said: "few directors since Resnais have played so ruthlessly with the unconscious narrative expectations to bug us". Learning from the feeling of strangeness caused by Rossellini as he threw well-known actors into savage scenery in southern Europe, Pere Portabella makes Christopher Lee wander around a dream-like Barcelona. Without a doubt Portabella's most structurally complex and most profoundly political film, that is ferociously poetic.

Pere Portabella, 2008, 20 min

Mudanza (Removal) came to be made after the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist asked for involvement in the Huerta de San Vicente, the home and museum of the García-Lorca family in Granada. The film records the removal of furniture and objects from the building, leaving visitors able to move freely amongst its empty spaces and a silence charged with feeling and resonance and the take from the experience whatever the y demand from it – thus making poet Federico García Lorca's emotive and historic absence ever more powerful, evident and heartfelt.




Tuesday, January 21, 2020 (All day)
Thursday, January 23, 2020 (All day)
Friday, January 24, 2020 (All day)
Sunday, January 26, 2020 (All day)
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 (All day)


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