Since the 1960s, Portabella always maintained a political commitment with all those movements against the Franco dictatorship that supported individual and collective democratic liberties.
In 1977, he was elected Senator in the first democratic elections and he participated in the writing of the present day Spanish Constitution. In 1999, was honoured with the Creu de Sant Jordi, the highest recognition that a person can receive from the institutions of the Generalitat de Catalunya. He has presided over the Fundación Alternativas since 2001.
As a filmmaker Pere Portabella has been a relevant presence in the Spanish film world for the last fifty years. With Films 59, his production company, he fostered some of the most emblematic films in the history of Spanish cinema. Los Golfos by Carlos Saura (1959), El Cochecito by Marco Ferreri (1960) and Viridiana by Luis Buñuel (1961). He directs his own creations combining a heritage of avant-garde culture with breakaway forms of language. His films, Vampir-Cuadecuc(1970) and Umbracle (1972), constitute radical interventions in artistic and cinematographic institutions. A long interval ensues between Informe General in 1976 and his return to his work as filmmaker and producer at present, during which he enters the political/institutional world during the "Transition" period in Spain. In 2001, his films became part of the artistic collection of the MACBA. In 2002, he was the only Spanish artist invited to participate in Documenta 11 in Kassel. In 2003, the George Pompidou Center organized homage for Portabella and acquiredNocturno 29 for its collection.
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and New York have all organized exhibits and screenings of his films. The 8th Buenos Aires Film Festival and the 42nd Mostra Internacional del Nuevo Cinema of Pesaro have both programmed retrospective exhibits in 2006.
His film, Die Stille vor Bach (The Silence Before Bach), is selected for the Orizzonti Section of the 64th. Mostra Internacional de Arte Cinematográfico di Venezia. The film also receives the Special Jury Prize at the 45 th International Film Festival of Gijón, and was premiered at first for North America in autumn 2007 at the MoMA in New York as part of the retrospective of his work. At the end of the year, Mr. Portabella received the Mikeldi prize in the 49th International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, and the Ciutat de Barcelona 2007 audiovisual award forDie Stille vor Bach.
In the summer of 2008 the four short films on Joan Miró made by Pere Portabella during the 70s, are part of an exhibition entitled Miró: Earth organized by the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. Thit same year Portabella shoots which is his last film to date, Mudanza, a tribute to Federico García Lorca created for the international exhibition EVERSTILL commissioned by Hans Ulrich Obrist and premiered in La Huerta de San Vicente in Casa-Museo de Federico García Lorca in Granada.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires for their art fund a copy of Vampir-Cuadecuc andDie Stille vor Bach.
By the end of year Pere Portabella is invested Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)