Pere Portabella follows his masterful 1976 documentary General Report — an epic survey of the Spanish social and political landscape in the wake of Franco — with a sequel that examines contemporary Spain as a microcosm of the economic, political, social, and ecological crises currently affecting Europe.
General Report II. The New Abduction of Europe
Portabella has played a pivotal role in Spain's cultural history. He acted as producer or executive producer for subversive films like Luis Buñuel's Viridiana (1961) and Carlos Saura's The Delinquents (1960) during the time of the Franco regime. In 1967, in response to the limits of state censorship, he began directing experimental films and developing a personal, radical cinematic language. And in 1976, he directed General Report on Certain Matters of Interest For a Public Screening, which detailed the struggles of post-Franco Spain during its transition to democracy.
His new film essay, General Report II, works in dialogue with the 1976 film while expanding dramatically on its scope, positing that European reality today is every bit as unhinged as it was 40 years ago. Onscreen conversations between activists, movement leaders, politicians, and scientists accumulate to form a registry of the current state of affairs — and an inventory of ways to face it. As he engineers encounters with experts at museums and cultural institutions, Portabella gives us a behind-the-scenes look at not just the construction of culture but its relation to power. And in documenting the recent presidential election in Catalonia, he examines how the issues affecting Europe play out in microcosm in his home country. These topics and more combine to form a panoptic view of human society's fragility and future.
The Festival is pleased to also present Pere Portabella's 1976 General Report on Certain Matters of Interest For a Public Screening in the TIFF Cinematheque Programme.