VAMPIR-CUADECUC

A film by Pere Portabella
1966, 66 minutes
No. 091
Documentary


VAMPIR-CUADECUC
$325.00
Description
A major figure of Spanish cinema, Pere Portabella's contributions have included a variety of roles (such as convincing Buñuel to return to Spain and shoot Viridiana, which he co-produced), but most importantly as the director of a number of films from the 1960s and 1970s that blend experimental filmmaking with documentary and fiction.

Filmed on the set of Jess Franco’s 1970 cult film Count Dracula starring Christopher Lee, Portabella’s Vampir-Cuadecuc mixes making-of footage with an investigation of the figure of the vampire. Both playful and deadly serious, with high-contrast black-and-white cinematography and an electronic soundtrack, the film asks us to consider the undead as a stand-in for both General Franco, the bloodthirsty avatar of a fascism that won’t die, and cinema, the art that reanimates the dead.


Reviews
"The first word in the title of Pere Portabella’s ravishing 1970 underground masterpiece, made in Spain while General Francisco Franco was still in power and shown clandestinely, means both “worm’s tail” and the unexposed footage at the end of film reels. The film is a silent black-and-white documentary about the shooting of Jesus Franco’s Count Dracula, with Christopher Lee, that becomes much more: the lush, high-contrast cinematography evokes deteriorating prints of Nosferatu and Vampyr, and the extraordinary soundtrack by composer Carles Santos intersperses the sounds of jet planes, drills, syrupy Muzak, and sinister electronic music, all of which ingeniously locate Dracula and our perceptions of him in the contemporary world. Moving back and forth between Franco’s film (with Dracula as an implicit stand-in for the generalissimo) and poetic production details, Portabella offers witty reflections on the powerful monopolies of both dictators and commercial cinema." — Jonathan Rosenbaum