Institut Ramon LLull


What You See is What You Get

Cinema.  New York,  13/02/2018

COMMON VISIONS proposes a critical look at a multitude of collaborative practices. On February 13, Anthology Film Archives will show Play Back, by Pere Portabella; Dante no es únicamente severo, by Joaquim Jordà & Jacinto Esteva Grewe; and About Bridges, by Elsa Stansfield & Madelon Hooykaas. 

Elsa Stansfield & Madelon Hooykaas ABOUT BRIDGES 
Netherlands, 1975, 25 min, 16mm

Pere Portabella PLAY BACK 
Catalonia, Spain, 1970, 8 min, 16mm-to-digital

Joaquim Jordà & Jacinto Esteva Grewe DANTE NO ES ÚNICAMENTE SEVERO 
Catalonia, Spain, 1967, 75 min, 35mm-to-DCP. DCP courtesy of the Filmoteca de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.



PLAY BACK Pere Portabella (1970, Spain, digital file, 8 min)

The short is presented as a short rehearsal in a double sense. It is a satellite of the constellation of works that Portabella dedicates to the analysis of the “materiality” of aesthetic and cultural languages (Vampir-Cuadecuc and Miró l’Altre among others can also be understood in this manner). At the same time, he analyzes the rehearsals that Carles Santos carries out for the playback recording of a film on the work of Antoni Gaudi. The choir of the Gran Teatro del Liceu of Barcelona reads fragments from Wagner’s Tannhauser, Lohengrin and the Valkyries. The film was shot in the theater “Lluísos de Grácia”.

DANTE NO ES UNICAMENTE SEVERO Joaquim Jordà and Jacinto Esteva (1967, Spain, DCP, 75 min)

It is the film-manifest of the Barcelona School. The impossible relationship between a man and a woman, but also about the destruction of aesthetics. The girl wants to seduce her lover with incoherent stories that do not interest him at all. Through this relationship, the film projects the idea according to which it is impossible to tell a story. The project does not pursue the coherence of a well told story, rather it requires observing what is shown and delving into the different facets of the characters. Its purpose is to lay the foundations of a certain pop aesthetic in a Spanish way, in which the images can not refer to the world but to the publicity that the world sells to us.

ABOUT BRIDGES Elsa Stansfield & Madelon Hooykaas (1975, Netherlands, 16mm, 25 min)

“It all begins with how you feel on a bridge… You see how other people are busy and how you experience it yourself and so it becomes something about people.” The artist Marian Plug speaks to filmmakers Stansfield/Hooykaas while composing her large and intricate silkscreen “The Bridge.” After filming the many different types of bridges around Rotterdam, they interview workers who clean, paint and repair the bridges. Anchored by a buoyant electronic soundtrack by British composer Delia Derbyshire (known for her groundbreaking work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop), the filmmakers brought Derbyshire to Rotterdam for the shoot, so that they might create ideas together and so that she could experience the rhythms of the city. The film explores different ideas of work, connection and positioning: a bridge means something different to a builder, an architect or someone walking over it. (Image: source Collection EYE Filmmuseum)


Elsa Stansfield (1945-2004) and Madelon Hooykaas (1942) are a Scottish-Dutch artist duo who began an intense collaboration between London and Amsterdam in 1972. Their wide-ranging work in film, video, installation, photography, sound and other media has been exhibited in many major museum and has earned them the reputation as pioneers of European video art. A short list of solo exhibitions includes Whitechapel Gallery (London, 1976), The Kitchen (New York, 1980), CCA (Glasgow, 2010) and most recently M HKA (Antwerp, 2017), where their video installation Labyrinth of Lines (1978) was reconstructed. Labyrinth of Lines is one of several works made in collaboration with British sound artist Delia Derbyshire, including About Bridges (1975) which has been restored by EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam. Today, Hooykaas continues a prolific output of work in many different media.

Pere Portabella (1929) is one of fundamental filmmakers of the Barcelona School. With Films 59, his production company, he produced emblematic Spanish films such as Los Golfos by Carlos Saura (1959) or Viridiana by Luis Buñuel (1961). His films, Vampir-Cuadecuc (1970) and Umbracle (1972), constitute radical interventions in artistic and cinematographic institutions. Portabella is also an important political figure in Spain having been elected Senator in the first democratic elections of 1977, and having participated in the writing of the Spanish Constitution. His work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 11 (Kassel), the George Pompidou Center (Paris), the 8th Buenos Aires Film Festival, the 42nd Mostra Internacional del Nuevo Cinema of Pesaro, the Mostra Internacional de Arte Cinematográfico di Venezia, MoMA (New York), among other prestigious international institutions. 

Joaquim Jordà (1935-2006, Spain) studied Law in Barcelona and studied film at the National Film School in Madrid. Together with the producer and director Jacinto Esteva, Jordà was the creator and theoretician of the Barcelona School, of which Gonzalo Suárez, Vicente Aranda and José María Nunes were also members. At the end of the sixties after having problems with censorship he lived in Italy until 1973 where he made militant films, such as Lenin vivo (1970). He also shot some combative films against the regime in Portugal. Besides working as a director, he was a screenwriter, literary translator and professor. In 2006 he passed away in Barcelona at the age of 70 and he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Cinematografía posthumously in the same year.

Jacinto Esteva Grewe (1936-1985, Spain) studied Philosophy and Theory in Barcelona, Architecture in Geneva, and Urbanism at the University of Paris. After his studies, he became involved in filmmaking, and in 1960 co-directed with Paolo Brunatto Notes sur l’Emigration. Espagne 1960(1960) which won an award at the Moscow Film Festival. In 1965 he founded his production company, Filmscontacto, center of the Barcelona School. His first feature film, Far From the Trees(1966) was released seven years later. Esteva co-produced Cabezas Cortadas by Glauber Rocha (1970), collaborated with the production of Cercles by Ricardo Bofill (1968), and wrote a script with Luis Azcona, Icarus, which was never filmed. Esteva’s last two films: Metamorfosis (1970) and El hijo de María (1973) never had commercial release.


The Flaherty is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the proposition that independent media can illuminate the human spirit. Its mission is to foster exploration, dialogue, and introspection about the art and craft of all forms of the moving image. The Flaherty was chartered (as International Film Seminars, Inc.) in the state of Vermont but is based in New York City. It was established in 1960 to present the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, which was started five years earlier by the Robert Flaherty Foundation. The Seminar remains the central and defining activity of The Flaherty.

Through its unique annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, The Flaherty provides media makers, users, teachers and students an unparalleled opportunity to confront the core of the creative process, reaffirm the freedom of the independent artist to explore beyond known limits and renew the challenge to discover, reveal and illuminate the ways of life of peoples and cultures throughout the world.

SPECIAL THANKS to Filmoteca de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

Tuesday, February 13, 7 pm @ Anthology Film Archives

Presented by Flaherty NYC, programmed by Almudena Escobar López & Herb Shellenberger

Q&A with Vicente Rubio Pueyo (Department of Modern Languages, Fordham University)

Co-presented with Institut Ramon Llull


Sponsors of IRL projects

The Institut Ramon Llull

is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Generalitat de CatalunyaGovern Illes BalearsAjuntament de Barcelona

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