A film shot behind another! Everything is turned inside out behind the scenes of Jesús Franco’s 1972 mainstream horror film starring Christopher Lee, Count Dracula, as Spanish surrealist Pere Portabella turns on-set footage into an abbreviated, self-reflexive version of the Count’s story.
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The thing that is made; the making of the thing; the thing that is made about the making of the thing. All of these are equally real, and - in fact - are of the same reality. If Portabella was subverting Franco's Spain, it was by exposing the illusory power of the narrative; revealing, through construction, the fact of the construct. That, and calling Franco a parasite ;) All in a rapturously immersive sensory feast.
Brilliant! I want to know how Portabella got permission to even be on the set, let alone simultaneously make an "alternate/experimental" version of the commercial film! Who funded Portabella's films? I wish that there were more "alt/exp" versions of mainstream films! And now I really want the Portabella box set, it's only 93 dollars...
Do you mind if I demystify? The effect of using an alternate soundtrack over movies, or in this case, the making of a movie has been done quite a lot. The most famous is probably 'Dark Side of the Rainbow'. I used to use my VCR to record radio shows that were long. It would be on a channel, so there was video with the music and it generated a similar effect. Cool. Nothing particularly different about this movie.
Portabella's avant-garde film is a b&w exercise that removes sound from the equation and replaces it with white noise and effects yet still somehow achieves its purpose in its adaptation of the Stoker classic. The footage was shot on the set of Franco's 'Dracula' being made for Hammer at the time yet even with glimpses of crew and such our familiarlity with the source material still makes this a fascinating watch.
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.