Feature: “Vampir-Cuadecuc” by Pere Portabella

VAMPIR-CUADECUC (new digital restoration)
A film by Pere Portabella
66 minutes
Rent: $4.99 | Buy: $12.99

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 into the figure of the vampire. Both playful and deadly serious, with high-contrast black-and-white cinematography and an electronic soundtrack, “it is a film within a film, a discourse within a discourse, in other words, a ‘bloodsucking film’ of another.” (Portabella)

Grasshopper is proud to premiere the digital restoration of this landmark film.

“My favorite Portabella film. A masterpiece. Recalling without imitating such classics as Nosferatu and Vampyr, the film uses high-contrast cinematography to evoke the dissolution and decay that strikes viewers who see those films today in fading prints. It all adds up to a kind of poetic alchemy in which Portabella converts one of the world’s worst horror films into one of the most beautiful movies ever made about anything.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum

“A hypnotic 1970 deconstruction of a Christopher Lee vampire film directed by that other and quite opposite pillar of the Spanish cinema, the exploitation specialist Jess Franco.” — Dave Kehr, The New York Times

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