Warsaw Bridge portrays a romantic triangle between a novelist, a conductor, and a marine-biology professor who are anecdotally linked to the elusive story of a scuba diver found dead in a burning forest.
Catalan director Pere Portabella, whose 91st birthday is today, is one of the great figures of Spanish cinema. In his wondrous and unclassifiable Warsaw Bridge, the filmmaker fractures his film’s story to compose a sophisticated artifact able to defy History and question collective (in)memory.
Such a marvel to watch.I hate to say dreamlike but it was in the best way. That ending by the way of the scuba diver picked up by plane from water is the same scenario in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia
_"The passing of time modifies my capacity to evoke and introduces a new system of memory selection. Bit by bit those memories I could share with others become blurred and those I cannot share force themselves on me. They are vivid and persistent memories, but not verifyable by anyone else. There are no witnesses.... All submerge in the slowness and silence of distant memory."_
One of the most visually accomplished and coherent Portabella films, despite the elliptical narrative. The operatic approach (reminiscent at points of Syberberg) is no mere veneer but, rather, serves to elevate the routine or even silly dimension (the 'squid' controversy!) to remarkable levels of reflection about history, pre-history, post-history. The finale is riveting and on the whole it looks and sounds gorgeous.
*when you find what you didn't quite know you were looking for* Had been trying to visualise a way you might conflate the experiences of banal work, the mass presence of culture and occasionally transcendent art (ie. life) only to find Portabella had done it already! Like a puzzle in motion, in turns foggy and concise but always with a promise of great beauty obscured in unexpected places.
35mm, re-rating. A film that announces, to a great distance, his film on Bach, converging an idea of political intervention with an abstraction of the narrative modes and the subjects. Formalization is appealing, although sometimes there is a tiring rhetoric of movements. What most diminishes the film - which is quite interesting - are the dialogues and fictional situations, too comfortable and accordingly.
The film has a fractured structure. It is a puzzle. Once you get into a rythm it shifts into a new and dramtically different one. It plays around with its time, does magic tricks with it, Poof! It's all gone.
If the mind finally concedes to the Big Meaning, the one we understand but can't convey, then conveyances are revealed to be farce at worst or, at best, indistinguishable components of the Flow from which Meaning arises. As are all experiences. Leaving no escape from purely base/shallow connections, or the seductions of solipsism, but through art & its moments of mutual understanding. That, or denial. Probably both.