This year's Spanish Film Festival (13-23 June) contains a program of 21 films that showcase some of Spain's recent box office success-stories, award-winners, and other festival circuit gems. Not all of the films are from Spain, however, with other Spanish-language titles coming from Mexico, Argentina, and Peru. Of course, you're unlikely to see all the festival has to offer, but here is our shortlist to help guide you through.
It may seem strange, but I am going to begin my overview of this year's festival with its end; the closing night film. I am so excited about the selection that I simply have to put it up front. Rather than go with a new release film, the program's curators have instead turned to one of the great examples of Spanish film, made by arguably one of the most significant directors working in the 20th century; Luis Buñuel. Starring the impossibly beautiful Catherine Deneuve, Tristana (1970) is an absolute must-see for cinema lovers and the uninitiated, alike. A rare opportunity to see this masterpiece on the big screen. Go!
Despite the fact that this film is set in France (with French subtitles), its director Fernando Trueba is Spanish. Known for the beautiful Belle Epoque, his latest, The Artist and the Model, was nominated for 13 Goya Awards (Spain's equivalent of the Oscars), including Best Director. The film (set in 1943) tells the story of an aging artist who is reinspired by the appearance of a new muse. Meanwhile, the war taking place in the outside world begins to intrude on the artistic idyll. Veteran actor, Jean Rochefort puts in what could be his last performance.
This documentary by Spanish director José Luis García takes North and South Korea as its subject, and tells the story of a young activist who made a deep impression on the film-maker as a young man, back in 1989. While taking part in a student festival in Pyongyang, García witnessed a life-changing event when Lim Sukyung announced she would cross the border in to South Korea on foot. The Girl from the South is about García going back to South Korea to track down Sukyung with the intention of finding answers to questions he has been living with for over two decades.
I love a good cop movie. The truly great ones are few and far between, but this film out of Mexico looks like it could have all the right ingredients. With some Tarantino influences, a few bad-ass central characters, and a nomination at Cannes in 2011, Days of Grace certainly looks like the fastest paced film in the entire program.
This debut feature film by director Benjamín Ávila marks him out as a potential future great. Selected for film festivals around the world and taking out plenty of awards, Clandestine Childhood handles the complex subject matter beautifully. Against the backdrop of the troubling social and political upheaval in taking place in South America in the 1970s, the film also manages to sensitively portray a coming of age story, featuring the central character's first teenage love affair.
This is another stunning documentary with a fascinating story to tell. What happens when you find three old suitcases, only to discover they contain a priceless collection of negatives taken during the Spanish Civil War? The rumour of such a collection fascinated director Trisha Griff, and The Mexican Suitcase reveals the stunning truths and compelling histories contained in the tale of the illusive suitcases.
For more details about times and tickets, go here.
TUL Note: Nadia Buick co-directs The Fashion Archives, is a freelance fashion curator, and recently submitted a PhD at QUT, so it's no surprise that she knows a thing two when it comes to art and style. Nadia is an avid wearer of vintage (just ask for her best spots about town), collects old paintings and postcards and can always find the beauty in a little clutter.
Image Credit: Spanish Film Festival