Time Out says
Catalan director Pere Portabella has been enjoying an unusual amount of exposure in New York lately. Last September, MoMA imported a Chicago retrospective that was the first of its kind in North America. In January, Film Forum gave Portabella’s 2007 film, The Silence Before Bach, a two-week theatrical run. And now, MoMA revives his 1990 drama, Warsaw Bridge (the infrequent filmmaker’s previous feature), for a weeklong stint. Seeing as Portabella refuses to release his work on home video, this latest opportunity to check him out is a rare gift.
Supremely confident, audaciously experimental, intermittently comprehensible and never less than engrossing, Warsaw Bridge is a collage of images and sounds, loosely held together by a handful of characters—a writer, a conductor and a marine biologist. They hint at a plot but really function more as abstracts for introducing larger ideas about fate, chance and will before the backdrop of history, literature, art and music. Arrestingly visceral set pieces abound, whether it be a reverie of Barcelonan architecture, an outdoor urban symphony performed by scattered musicians, an opera set inside a fish market or a water plane extinguishing a forest fire. The effect is overwhelming and exhausting but always transfixing.
Cast and crew