Vampir-Cuadecuc (screens with Sarah Winchester, Ghost Opera)
$12 General Admission
Filmed on the set of Jesse Franco’s 1970 cult film Count Dracula starring Christopher Lee, Portabella’s Vampir-Cuadecuc mixes making-of footage with an investigation of the figure of the vampire. Both playful and deadly serious, with high-contrast black-and-white cinematography and an electronic soundtrack, the film asks us to consider the undead as a stand-in for both General Franco, the bloodthirsty avatar of a fascism that won’t die, and cinema, the art that reanimates the dead.
Vampir-Cuadecuc will screen alongside the short Sarah Winchester, Ghost Opera, a film about ghosts and madness that is itself a kind of ghost. This short from master Bertrand Bonello tells the story of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune who was driven insane by unseen forces. But that may not be accurate, for Sarah Winchester, Ghost Opera is as much the story of a production that doesn’t exist — an incomplete work about a fractured life, a sumptuously layered and finely tuned meditation on artistic process and historical truth. To be lost in and perhaps never escaped, Ghost Opera offers more in 24 minutes than many films three, four, five times its length.
“[Vampir-Cuadecuc is] a ravishing masterpiece. Moving back and forth between Franco’s film (with Dracula as an implicit stand-in for the generalissimo) and poetic production details, Portabella offers witty reflections on the powerful monopolies of both dictators and commercial cinema.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum