Pere Portabella – Cuadecuc, vampir (1971)


Cuadecuc, vampir is a dreamlike combination of documentary, narrative, experimental, and essay film styles and is one of the key films of contemporary Spanish cinema. Shot on the set of Jesus Franco’s Italian horror film Count Dracula, and featuring the star of that film, Christopher Lee, Vampir is both a sly political allegory about generalissimo Francisco Franco, a gentle homage to early films about the vampire legend, particularly Dreyer’s Vampyr and Murnau’s Nosferatu, and a work of subtle beauty and great richness. Continue reading

Pere Portabella – Nocturno 29 (1968)


Nocturno 29 begins where “Don’t Count on your Fingers” left off: facing a blank screen and the materialness of the projection. It goes in depth into the future Eisenstein-like structure of Portabella’s films which do not advance through a lineal narrative, but rather by a succesion of semi-autonomous scenes and almost always unexpected links. “A series or suite of situations that, although apparently unconnected, always turn about a thematic development that gives body and unity to the story without resorting to the use of an anecdote for plot continuity” (Portabella 1968). Antonioni, Bergman or Buñuel come to mind in this, Portabella’s most “anti-bourgeois” film. Continue reading

Cristina Alvarez Lopez and Adrian Martin – Phantasmagoria of the Interior (2015)

PHANTASMAGORIA OF THE INTERIOR is an audiovisual essay devoted to Walerian Borowczyk’s film THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE. Utilising the materials of the complete, restored version of the film, and its French language soundtrack, the film offers a new way of looking at, understanding and appreciating Borowczyk’s intensely cinematic art. Particular attention is paid to a painting by Vermeer of a pregnant woman, introduced early into Borowczyk’s film, and reappearing at key moments. Beginning from this painting – its content, style, and historical background – particular aspects of the film are explored: its unusual pictorial compositions; the mingling of sexuality with violence; and the association of men and women with (respectively) open and closed spaces. The film argues that Borowczyk brings a surrealist sensibility to his free adaptation of the Jekyll and Hyde story, especially emphasizing the transgressive, revolutionary role of the free-spirited Lucy Osbourne. Continue reading

Carlos Saura – Elisa, vida mi­a AKA Elisa, My Life AKA Elisa, My Love [Uncut] (1977)


Elisa, vida mía is a 1977 Spanish drama film written and directed by Carlos Saura. The film stars Saura’s long-term companion and frequent collaborator, Geraldine Chaplin. She stars alongside, Fernando Rey who won the Best Actor award at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival for his performance.

‘ELISA, VIDA MIA’ By Vincent Canby Published: March 11, 1983

NEAR the end of Carlos Saura’s ”Elisa, Vida Mia,” Fernado Rey, in the role of an aging ascetic named Luis, talks movingly to his daughter, Elisa (Geraldine Chaplin), about his youthful artistic pretensions. He recalls that he used to spend hours and days polishing a letter, getting the syntax right, refining the thoughts and elevating the tone. Now, he admits, he prefers the spontaneous letter, unrefined, natural, with crossed-out words. Luis has no interest in Art. Continue reading

Carlos Saura – La Prima Angélica AKA Cousin Angelica (1974)


The initial idea for the film came from a specific reference to a cousin Angélica, in a scene from Ana and the wolves (Spanish: Ana y los lobos), director Carlos Saura’s previous work. In Ana and the wolves there is an inconsequential bit of dialogue that occurs in the private conversation between the family matriarch and the title character. The old woman speaks of a certain cousin Angélica who, as a small child, coquettishly played with one of her sons. Building on that allusion, Saura and writer Rafael Azcona developed a script about the childhood memories of a man now in his mid forties and his flirtatious cousin, Angélica, on whom he had a crush when he was ten years old. These memories become the lure for the protagonist’s reencounter of his long suppressed past. Continue reading