Close Up

23 January 2020: 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.

Part of the Liberated Film Club's retrospective on Pere Portabella

"A Worm’s Tail View is Often the True One: Films by Pere Portabella", curated and produced by the Liberated Film Club, is the most complete, ambitious and creative survey of the radical Catalan filmmaker Portabella's work ever to have taken place. Close-Up is proud to act as headquarters and locus for this London-wide survey, taking place over four months at venues including ICA, Whitechapel Gallery, Cafe Oto and the University of Cambridge.

With thanks to the kind support of Institut Ramon Llull and Films 59.

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