THE Spanish Film Festival 2016 is back with a delicious tasting plate of films promising to bring audiences on an emotional roller coaster ride. April Dudgeon brings you the highlights, including how you could win a double pass to the festival.
The Spanish Film Festival returns to Melbourne in April for three weeks of indulgent, spicy Spanish cinema, including special screenings, events and guest appearances.
With more than 30 films on offer, the diverse and entertaining line-up will feature something for everyone, as comedies, thrillers, documentaries and dramas from several Spanish-speaking countries take to the big screen.
Festival director Genevieve Kelly says this year’s festival offers up a “delicious tasting plate” of films representing a range of extreme emotions, taking audiences on an “emotional journey all the way from one end of the spectrum to the other”.
“The characters are often not afraid to bare everything, and to call things as they see them – this makes their stories genuine and easy to connect with,” she says.
“They are also not afraid to laugh at themselves, which is something I think resonates with Australian audiences.”
Interested but not sure where to start? Here are some films to watch out for.
Spanish Affair 2
As if one affair wasn’t enough! Following the smashing success of Spanish Affair at last year’s festival, the opening night of the 2016 event brings you the sequel, which outsold Minions on home soil and is proving popular with audiences worldwide.
In Spanish Affair 2, old favourites return, and new characters emerge as comedic tension builds up and incisive politically incorrect jokes fly.
The film’s director, Emilio Martinez-Lazaroi, playfully takes on the Spanish regional tensions between the Basques and the Catalans, as we find Amaia (Clara Lago) and Rafa (Dani Rovira) have broken up since the last instalment – and Amaia is now engaged to Pau (Berto Romero), a Catalan hipster. Much to the dislike of her fiercely Basque father Koldo (Karra Elejalde), he teams up with Rafa to sabotage the wedding, and helps Rafa win back the love of his life.
Sports fans won’t mind missing the weekend’s match as they attend the special event screening of this film. Barça Dreams details the emotional and amazing history of one of the world’s most popular and admired football clubs, FC Barcelona.
Historic materials, never before seen footage, and exclusive interviews – including ones with arguably the world’s best player of all time Lionel Messi and the famous coach Pep Guardiola – form the main thread of the production.
“Barça deserved a documentary film like this,” said director Jordi Llompart.
“[The film] explains why its history is so unique and explores its revolutionary contribution to the modern football spectacle.
“A lot of Barça fans, especially abroad, will be surprised by the different anecdotes and historical facts that reveal the extent to which Barça is much more than a mere sports club.”
Beyond the sport itself, the film also shows how competition can be a positive force in pushing forward to achieve any dream.
A popular filmmaker at the Spanish Film Festival, Argentinian comedy maestro Ariel Winograd returns with another box-office hit that’s sure to delight audiences.
Her concept this year is simple – a divorced dad with a daughter falls head-over-heels for a woman who hates kids. The question though is how well Winograd exploits the premise, and the answer is very well – with sizzling performances by Diego Peretti (known as Argentina’s Hugh Grant) and Maribel Verdú, and a cheeky, stand-out debut from Guadalupe Manent.
Gabriel (Peretti) hasn’t been in a relationship for more than four years, and his world is rocked when his childhood crush Vicky (Maribel Verdú) reappears having grown into a strong and independent woman. But Vicky regularly attends parties held by an organisation called ‘No Kids’, who celebrate the freedom that having no children brings.
When Gabriel learns of her dislike towards children, he attempts to keep his daughter (Guadalupe Manent) a secret, which inevitably unravels as it transpires that Sofia has her own plans for Vicky.
Penelope Cruz shines as actor and producer in this story about a woman experiencing major life challenges with an indefatigable dignity, persevering in the only way she knows how.
Magda (Cruz), an unemployed teacher and single mother having recently separated from her husband, is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Throughout the course of her treatment she develops a relationship with a soccer scout Arturo (Luis Tosar), who is experiencing changes and a loss of his own. Their support of one another through the unfolding hardships and treatment, and their love gives life to, and joy in, events that are both unexpected and illuminating.
The strength in the female spirit is on show in this moving, smiling-through-tears film, directed by Julio Medem, who has previously brought you feminine sensibility in A Room in Rome and Sex & Lucia.
The 2016 Spanish Film Festival will run from April 13 to May 1, with screenings at Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinema, and select screenings at the Astor Theatre. More information, including session times, ticketing and the full program is available via the Spanish Film Festival website.
Meld is also giving readers the chance to win one of five double passes to the festival. For your chance to win, simply take part in the Rafflecopter competition below! The competition will close Sunday, April 10.