THIS year’s Spanish Film Festival will showcase a fantastic line up of robust films full of passion, beautiful storytelling and vivacious characters. Jessica-Anne Lyons sets the scene and explains how you can win one of 10 double passes!
Get your tickets and popcorn ready because this month, the 2013 Spanish Film Festival looks set to be a huge celebration of Spanish cinema. Featuring 21 Australian premieres and one 1970s classic, this year’s festival aims to be one of its biggest.
Festival director Genevieve Kelly says audiences can look forward to a “celebration of food, wine, music and the incredibly rich Spanish culture”.
“Each film is very unique and it’s a great opportunity for people to see something they haven’t seen before…”
“Each film is very unique and it’s a great opportunity for people to see something they haven’t seen before and probably wouldn’t have the chance to see normally in Australia,” Ms Kelly says.
Alongside the executive chairman of Palace Cinemas and co-curator of this year’s lineup Antonio Zeccola, Ms Kelly says in addition to specific criteria, she was looking for exceptional acting and production value when selecting the films that make the cut for the film festival.
“It’s not only about your personal taste; it’s thinking about what other people will like too because film can be very subjective,” she says.
While all of the films screening at this year’s festival are stunning works, one title in particular really impressed Ms Kelly.
The Artist and the Model, directed by Fernando Trueba, is a Spanish production spoken in French and was nominated for 13 Goya Awards (similar in prestige to the Academy Awards) including Best Director and Best Actress.
“Shot in black and white, the film is about an aging artist who has lost inspiration and is struggling to create another masterpiece, until he meets a stunning young girl,” Ms Kelly explains.
“The relationship between them is just beautiful and although the film is simply made, the acting is phenomenal and the cinematography is gorgeous, so that’s definitely one that I have a soft spot for.”
If you love an indie film comedy that’s a bit crass and tongue-in-cheek, Paco León’s Carmina or Blow Up is a jaw-droppingly funny film about 58-year-old Carmina, who is outrageously outspoken in an, ‘I can’t believe she actually said that!’ kind-of way.
One particular scene that is guaranteed to give you the giggles is when Carmina, who is a large lady, says she thinks she has the opposite of anorexia and believes she’s actually very fit. It’s this bizarre sense of humour, along with the stunning visuals and cast of big personalities that make this laugh-out-loud film a real winner.
For wartime drama lovers, Miguel Courtois’ Operation E is based on the captivating true story of the hostage negotiations surrounding Clara Rojas and her son, Emmanuel.
Set during the Colombian guerilla war, the thriller follows a poor cocoa farmer José Crisanto, played by Luis Tosar, who is threatened by the controlling militant group, FA RC, for losing baby Emmanuel. Prepare to still feel your adrenaline rushing long after you leave the cinema.
Other notable films include Don’t Fall In Love With Me, a drama/romance made up of multiple intertwining stories, and The Body, a Hitchcock-style thriller with a twist at the end.
Special Guests and Events
There will also be a special guest appearance at this year’s festival by Maribel Verdú – perhaps best known to international audiences for her role as Mercedes in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth – who will be returning to the screen in two films, The End and 15 Years + 1 Day at this year’s festival.
Verdú will host a Q&A session at Palace Cinema Como on Thursday, June 20. The night will begin with a screening of The End – a post-apocalyptic film where members of a group of friends begin disappearing one by one – followed by the Q&A. Afterwards, Verdú will introduce her second film 15 Years + 1 Day, where she plays the mother of a delinquent child.
“It will be a great night if you want to really connect with her; she’s very excited to come to Australia and we’re very excited to have her,” Ms Kelly says.
Mexican director Natalia Beristáin will also be hosting a Q&A session at the Como on Friday, June 21 after the screening of her debut feature, She Doesn’t Want To Sleep Alone – a beautiful portrait of two women in very different seasons of their lives.
Look out too for two special cinema events held in conjunction with the festival.
‘A Splash of Summer’ on Tuesday, June 18, will feature a screening of The Summer Side, with drinks, tapas and live entertainment beforehand.
This emotional black comedy revolves around a dysfunctional family where each member of the family guards their own secret. The Summer Side‘s family might just top the most dramatic family list, though the result of this isn’t overdone or unconvincing in the slightest.
Eduardo Casanova’s performance as a young man struggling with his mother’s blatant hatred of his sexuality is particularly noteworthy.
Poignant and relatable, The Summer Side, will make you cry and laugh simultaneously. If you ever thought your family was a burden, watch this and you’ll change your mind.
If you feel like going back in time, audiences can enjoy a few drinks, tapas and live jazz music at ‘Jazz and Jewels’ on Thursday June 20, before the screening of Hold Up!
Set in the 1950s, Eduard Cortés’ Hold Up! is a beautifully designed piece of cinema that’s based on a true story about a complicated plan to stage a robbery at a jewelry shop in Madrid. However, like most things the hold up didn’t go quite to plan.
If you want to laugh, watch some action, become engrossed in drama and lovingly sigh along to romance, this film ticks all those boxes and is a winning crowd pleaser. Expect a hilarious and extremely entertaining performance from Nicholás Cabré, who plays the loveable and overenthusiastic Miguel, a struggling actor who just can’t get his act together – pun intended.
“Spanish filmmakers really have their own way of seeing the world, a wonderful quirky sense of humor and the great ability to laugh at themselves…”
“Spanish filmmakers really have their own way of seeing the world, a wonderful quirky sense of humor and the great ability to laugh at themselves, which I think Australian audiences will relate to,” Ms Kelly says.
“The great thing about Spanish cinema is that their films have a really rich and diverse way of looking at society, relationships and politics.”
Given the pedigree of filmmaking emanating from the Spanish Film Festival, audiences of the festival will be sure to find something that satisfies all their movie-going needs.
Can’t wait to check it out? We have… drum roll…. 10 double passes to the Spanish Film Festival to give away to our readers! If you’d like to take part in the celebrations, enter the competition below for a chance to win!
The 2013 Spanish Film Festival is on now to June 26 with screenings at Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth and Kino Cinema. Palace Movie Club Members will be able to purchase tickets to screenings at $15 while concession and adult charges are $16.50 and $19.50 respectively.
For further ticketing information, event bookings, session times and the full program, visit the official website of the 2013 Spanish Film Festival.