Wednesday, 27 April 2011

from Spain with Love

With La Mirada Spanish Film Festival at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image this Easter I am fully covered for bouts of boredom or potential bad weather. I can witness the dramatically bleak uber realism of Spanish cinema unfold surrounded by fellow enthusiasts.

Obviously not all Spanish film falls under such bleak terms, however the genre (if you can forgive me for grouping vast Spanish speaking nations under one bushel) has a tendency to lean towards certain darker deeper accents which are skilfully and unmistakeably Spanish, watch Amores Peros for an inkling of where I'm headed.

Gael García Bernal in Amores Perros, he also starred alongside Maribel Verdú in Y tu mamá también.

The festival is co-programmed by Pedro Almodóvar, screenwriter, producer and director of numerous Spanish language films including (one of my favourites) Bad Education, High Heels, Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown and more recently Volver and Broken Embraces. His life is an inspiring path, born to family of modest means in a small farming town in backwater Spain, sent to a boarding convent school by his family with hopes of becoming a priest. He defied his parents’ wishes following his own path to Madrid where he worked as an administration assistant for Telefonica for 12 years, before going on to become a hugely respected director. Proof that you don't have to follow timetabled rules of development in order to reach your goal, something I remind myself of daily.


My computer wiped away the rest of the piece which contained my picks of the festival including Lucky Star (La Buena Estrella) a film about a butcher who accidently castrates himself and becomes entwined with a one eyed prostitute and her abusive boyfriend. Babies ensue and the plot becomes even more tangled with boyfriend in prison. The female lead is played Maribel Verdú of Y tu mamá también (another excellent film); definitely worth downloading if you can find it.

Lucky Star, 1997


It is now post festival, post Easter weekend and it's been a blast. Lots of parties and messy nights out, I managed to make it to the Directors choice - a surprise film - currated by Ang Lee of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Sense and Sensibility, Brokeback Mountain. We were treated to the 1977 surrealist movie, That Obscure Object of Desire, directed by Luis Buñuel, which flits between Spanish and French language, actress and setting.

The female protagonist Conchita originally given to Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris) is played by two women, Carole Bouquet (French Bond Girl) and Angela Molina (Spanish household name). The actresses change unpredictably creating an extra dimension in the characterisation of the role. It explores the cat and mouse dynamic within a relationship, magnifying the intensity of power of the chase, the mere suggestion of possibility is enough to keep Mathieu (Fernando Rey’s) ego encased.

Incidently there is also another Spanish Film festival in May...

14th Spanish Film Festival presented by Estrella DAMM
Festival Dates: 12 May, 2011 - 22 May, 2011

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