press release

Pere Portabella (b. 1929, Barcelona) is a veteran Spanish filmmaker whose narrative features—rich in interludes, plot diversions, atmosphere, and unexpected synchronies between sight and sound—limn the avant-garde and expand the expressive potential of cinema. Portabella, who began his cinematic career as a producer of fiction films implicitly critical of General Francisco Franco, had his passport revoked when Luis Buñuel's Viridiana (1961), which he helped to make, "embarrassed" Spain at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. When democracy returned to Spain, Portabella served as a senator in the Catalan government. However, throughout his various careers, Portabella continued to make cinema, investigating meaning in the moving image and flexing the notion of genre—particularly for horror films, fantasy films, and thrillers. MoMA first screened a Portabella work—Vampir Cuadecuc (1970)—on January 25, 1972, in its Cineprobe program. After a thirty-five year absence, the Department of Film is honored to welcome Portabella back to introduce the New York premiere of his recently completed The Silence before Bach (2007). Roundtable discussions will also be held at New York University, September 25–27. All films directed by Portabella.

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, and Mark Nash, Professor and Head of the Department Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, London. The exhibition is made possible with the support of the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad SEACEX (Sociedad Estalal para la Acción Exterior, Madrid). The organizers gratefully acknowledge MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona) and Portabella's own production company, Films 59, for the loan of films and texts. Additional support and programs are provided by two New York University Centers: the King Carlos 1 of Spain and the Catalan. Thanks go to Anael Garcia and Marta Rincón of SEACEX, Marcello Esposito and Jorge Ribalto of MACBA, and Mary Anne Newman and Laura Turegano at NYU.

only in german

Pere Portabella
Kuratoren: Laurence Kardish, Mark Nash