Brisbane audiences are in for a star-studded line-up of films at the Spanish Film Festival, with 39 movies showcasing the best of Spanish culture on the big screen.
The festival will open this week with the sexy and daring Spanish box office hit, Kiki, Love to Love. Told through five stories, as a scorching summer heatwave intensifies the desires of a collection of Madrid lovers, this award-winning comedy is actually adapted from Australian director Josh Lawson’s film, The Little Death.
The festival will close with The Trip to Spain, directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring the hilarious Steeve Coogan and Rob Brydon, reuniting for the third chapter of their hugely popular The Trip… series. Picking up where they left off in The Trip to Italy, with semi-fictional, spouse-free raconteurial ramblings and impressions of Michael Caine, the duo will take a sun-drenched tour of some of the best restaurants in Spain.
The Queen of Spain, directed by Oscar winner Fernando Trueba and starring Penelope Cruz as a 1950s Hollywood film star returning to Spain, will be featured as a Special Event screening.
The Reel Flamenco section of the program will electrify with screenings of Flight of the Guitar: Dreaming of Paco De Lucia, which tells the story of Spanish musician Paco De Lucia (aka ‘La Maestro’) and his self-designed guitar; Jota: Beyond Flamenco, the new film from legendary Spanish filmmaker Carlo Saura (Carmen, Tango) which captures the vivacity and charisma of the jota, a waltz-like castanet dance; and 13. Miguel Poveda, a behind-the-scenes expose and tribute to one of Spain’s most famous flamenco singers, celebrating his 25-year career.
The Reel Infantil section features kids films that will entertain the whole family, including the fantastical adventure film Zip & Zap & Captain’s Island, the story of two mischievous brothers on a mysterious remote island adventure; and the adorable animated feature Ozzy, about a friendly beagle whose idyllic life turns upside down when his family goes on holidays to Japan — where no dogs are allowed!
Highlights from the Reel Español section include The Bar, an offbeat thriller from cult director Alex de la Iglesia about a motley group of people trapped in a bar; May God Save Us, featuring Roberto Alamo in his Goya award-winning role as a detective tasked with tracking down a killer amongst a million tourists in mid-summer Madrid; and Smoke and Mirrors, the incredible true story of the shadowy Francisco Paesa, the man who fooled an entire country.
This year’s retrospective will focus on Ana Belén, a multi-talented actress, singer and director who has recorded more than 35 albums and appeared in more than 40 films and 30 theatrical productions across her career. The retrospective will include three of Ana’s earlier films — Torment (1974), Demons in the Garden (1982) and The House of Bernarda Alba (1987), all screening in 35mm courtesy of the Instituto Cervantes.
Finally, this year’s centerpiece film is Summer 1993, the critical breakout at this year’s Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival), where it took out the Best First Feature prize. Telling the moving tale of a six-year-old orphan girl who goes to live with her uncle after losing her mother, this coming-of-age film is delicately crafted by Catalan director Carla Simón, and heralds the arrival of a major new voice in world cinema.
The Spanish Film Festival will run from Thursday 27 April to Sunday 14 May at Palace Barracks and Palace Centro; to see the full program and buy tickets, visit spanishfilmfestival.com.