Warsaw Bridge/ Pont de Vàrsovia (Pere Portabella, Spain, 2020)

Pont de Varsovia



I´ve read much about Pere Portabella but had never seen any of his films until now. I´ve simply never had the opportunity and I´m grateful to MUBI for providing one. Ostensibly, for a long time he didn´t allow any of them to be released on VHS, DVD or blu-ray. As you can see from the kind comment below there are now box sets with English sub-titles so rather than  a rare chance to see his films as I initially thought, this might better be seen as a great introduction to his work. .

Warsaw Bridge is a gorgeous meditation on the nature of art and the role of the artist; a measure taken of the differing relations between the chattering classes, working people, and the connection of each to art, interpretation, whether reality can be known objectively or whether it is always mediated through signs and paradigms of knowledge.

The film has a loose narrative involving a university biology teacher, a prize-winning author and a publisher but often takes flights of fancy, usually motivated by music: an orchestral score played through a neighbourhood in Barcelona, with pianos in the rooftops, and with the orchestra conductor leading on from a television monitor. We get naked women posed as classical tableaus, who sing and as they do so, their image becomes signs, which then get reduced to outlines and finally to computer code. This is a gorgeous, seductive, intelligent film about science and the body, memory and history, a history of art, and the value of aesthetics as mediated through various arts. I loved it.


Note: the images accompanying this text are image/notes for future reflections on the film.

Screenshot 2020-03-05 at 13.11.25

José Arroyo

4 thoughts on “Warsaw Bridge/ Pont de Vàrsovia (Pere Portabella, Spain, 2020)

  1. There is a Spanish boxset (by Intermedio) that contains all of Portabella’s work, apart from his most recent film (the kind-of sequel to the gargantuan Informe general sobre algunas cuestiones de interés para una proyección pública (1976)). The Spanish edition now appears to be OOP but there is also a French edition (it comes up if you search his name on either the French or Spanish Amazon sites) that is likewise fully subtitled in English, French, and Spanish – his short films are really good and well worth seeking out (my favourite is Poetes catalans (1970)). Apart from that, Vampir-Cuadecuc was released on UK DVD by Second Run a couple of years ago, and the two Informe general… films are available as a pack in Spain. Enjoy!

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