Capital Celluloid - Day 132: Friday May 13

Vampir Cuadecuc (Portabella, 1970): Tate Modern 7pm

Here is a real rarity. A chance to see Catalan director Pere Portabella's slyly subversive take on vampirism with, get this, Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom. Tate Modern are screening a season of Portabella's work and the director himself will be at the gallery for a Q&A in June. Here are the details.

The current issue of Sight & Sound contains an appraisal of Portabella's oeuvre by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum in which he counts tonight's film as his favourite work by the Catalan filmmaker. The movie itself consists of a black and white film of Jesus Franco's "very conventional colour movie Count Dracula (1970), starring Christopher Lee," writes Rosenbaum. "The material is submitted to a great deal of processing in visual textures and accompanied by a kind of musique concrete by Carlos Santos, consisting of such elements as jet planes, drills, operatic arias, kitschy muzak and sinister electronic drones."

I will be going to the June presentation but felt it incumbent on me to highlight the fact that this screening  is only one of two chances to catch this film at the Tate.

Rosenbaum first saw Vampir Cuadecuc at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971 and reckoned it the highlight of that year's crop. "Vampir was my favorite of all the films I saw at Cannes that year. I returned to it several times, and described it afterwards in the Village Voice  as 'at once the most original movie at the festival and the most sophisticated in its audacious modernism', says Rosenbaum in this essay on his website.

Here is an extract from the film.


Jonathan Rosenbaum said...

Hey, just for the record, I'm the one who wrote about Portabella in the current Sight and Sound, not Jonathan Romney. Look again.

Jonathan Rosenbaum said...

P.S. Thanks for linking to my web site just the same.