Vampir-Cuadecuc is possibly a key film in understanding the transition in the Spanish film world from the period of the “new cinemas” (permitted by the Franco government) towards the illegal, clandestine or openly antagonistic practices against the Franco regime.
It consists of shooting the filming of a commercial film El conde Drácula by Jesús Franco. Portabella practices two types of violence on the standard narrative: he totally eliminates color and substitutes the soundtrack with a landscape of image-sound collisions by Carles Santos. Filmed provocatively in 16mm and with sound negative, the tensions between black and white favor the strange “fantasmatic materialism” of this revealing analysis of the construction mechanism for the magic in dominant narrative cinema, which at the same time constitutes a radical intervention in the Spanish cinematographic institution. —pereportabella.com
Since the 1960s, Portabella always maintained a political commitment with all those movements against the Franco dictatorship that supported individual and collective democratic liberties.
In 1977, he was elected Senator in the first democratic elections and he participated in the writing of the present day Spanish Constitution. In 1999, was honoured with the Creu de Sant Jordi, the highest recognition that a person can receive from the institutions of the Generalitat de Catalunya. He has presided over the Fundación Alternativas since 2001.
As a filmmaker Pere Portabella has been a relevant presence in the Spanish film world for the last fifty years. With Films 59, his production company, he fostered some of the most emblematic films in the history of Spanish cinema. Los Golfos by Carlos Saura (1959), El Cochecito by Marco Ferreri (1960) and Viridiana by Luis Buñuel (1961). He directs his own creations combining a heritage of avant-garde culture with breakaway forms of… read more
Via co-joining the cinematography of Vampirism with the collapsing of the cinematic fourth wall, Portabella joins Dreyer, Franco and Murnau in a unique guilt. Each perpetuates desires to evoke the immortality of cinematic performers while simultaneously condemning the 'act' to do so (via depicting the narrative's punishments). Beyond these criminal cinema-actions, the ultimate vampir-ous needs are of the audience.
Gorgeous high-contrast 16mm film stock, combined with a highly evocative soundtrack that ostensibly defies understanding through ratiocination. At times, this masterpiece makes some of Godard's playfulness with cinematic form seem, I daresay, 'vapid' in comparison. One of the most subversive, politically-charged allegorical achievements in Cinema. A true revelatory experience - but DEFINITELY NOT for everyone.
A film that both de-mythologizes filmmaking, but which also keeps the myths and the mystery behind it. Startlingly beautiful, the film creates a landscape of image and sound that collide in often funny, and yet always useful, ways. This is one fascinating document. Savvy