Aidez l'Espagne, 1969

Help Spain, 1969

In the late seventies, following the death of Franco, the film production of Pere Portabella (Figueres, 1927) took two directions. Firstly, towards an experimental cinema that undermines the classic canon of narrative by pushing the boundaries between fiction and documentary. Secondly, he produced short films linked to an institution or organization and stylistically related to the Catalan avant-garde tradition. Within this last category, three shorts films stand out, all of them financed by the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Barcelona and made on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of Joan Miró held at the college in 1969. One of them is Miró 37/Aidez l'Espagne, also known as Miró de la guerra, made in 1969.

Lasting five minutes, this is a short black-and-white film with a final colour sequence showing the well-known image Aidez l'Espagne, painted by Miró during the Civil War to help the Spanish Republic. Portabella played with a number of images trying to achieve the opposite effect to that sought by the Franco documentalists that had recorded them. The filmmaker manipulates sequences from newsreels alternating military marches with urban bombings, demonstrations of Republican militants with the burial of the anarchist leader Buenaventura Durruti, together with a third level of images, brief but very effective, of Miró’s paintings evoking the tragedy of war. Aggressive teeth and inquisitive eyes seem to observe the documentary images alongside the viewer. Rejecting a voice-over, as was usual at the time, Portabella incorporates Republican symbols such as the Riego Anthem and the Internationale. Miró 37/Aidez l'Espagne pays tribute to defeat and to the permanence of hope.

Technical details

Original title:
Aidez l'Espagne
Registration number:
Portabella, Pere
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Audiovisual recording
16 mm film, b/n and color, sound, 5 min - Created by Pere Portabella - Produced by Films 59
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Gift of Pere Portabella
© Pere Portabella
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The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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