SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL 2008 – PREVIEW
BILLIARDS TABLES … AND FEAR
Opening Night at this year’s Spanish Film Festival, with the warmly humorous
drama, Seven Billiards Tables, will not prepare audiences for the horrors to
come in the fest’s Cine Fantastico section, which includes [REC], the film that
scared the pants off Spain’s cinema audiences last year.
But that’s just how it should be at a film fest, and founding director Natalia
Ortiz has plenty more in store. “The filmmakers in this year’s program have
produced vibrant, polemical, shocking, experimental, artful, and beautiful
films. Despite a general fear that culture, therefore stories, are becoming
homogenized, the films of the 2008 Spanish Film Festival line-up prove
otherwise. Some tell intimate, human stories focused on local issues, while
others reveal transnational cultural landscapes. The make-up of the productions
themselves attest to this: co-productions between Argentina, Morocco, Ecuador &
Spain show global collaboration, while a Chilean director working in Barcelona,
and Spanish producers working in Latin America and Europe, demonstrate how the
borders and boundaries are no longer cultural markers.
"a vibrant and active film industry"
“Although Spain has an industry with very well-established international
filmmakers, we are also proud of having a vibrant and active film industry which
supports new young talent. For 11 years the Spanish Film Festival has proudly
showcased these new directors, providing opportunities for young filmmakers to
break through in International Festivals and be discovered among the well
established and up and coming,” Ortiz says.
In [REC], a TV reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her crew are sent out to spend a
night with firemen for the programme When You're Asleep. When a 999 call arrives
from a Barcelonan block of flats, they accompany the firefighters inside. Big
Trapped in a building in quarantine the only thing that matters is hiding,
surviving, overcoming the fear ... And to keep on recording.
The opening night film heads this year’s festival focus, SPOTLIGHT ON MARIBEL
VERDÚ. Six films starring Verdú show her amazing range and versatility from the
crowd-pleasing comedy Oviedo Express and dizzying psychological thriller The Mud
Boy (El niño de barro) to the taut social thriller La Zona all made in 2007. The
Spotlight also features two of her early films that brought her to international
prominence, 1992’s Academy Award winning Belle Epoque in which she stars
alongside a young Penelope Cruz and 2001’s international smash-hit Y Tu Mama
The 2008 Festival CLOSING NIGHT features the Australian Premiere of The
Orphanage (El Orfanato), an elegant and shivery ghost story and the
biggest-earning film at the Spanish box office last year. The film is the
directorial debut of JA Bayona, and the first film to be presented by Guillermo
del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).
The core program thread as always is CONTEMPORARY SPAIN, the modern face of
Spain as depicted through cinema. In 2008 the festival features the
International Premiere of Juan Luis Iborra’s Desperate Women (Enloquecidas)
direct from its world premiere at Malaga, and the multi-award winning Under The
Stars (Bajo las estrellas) for which actor Alberto San Juan picked up the Best
Actor Goya Award. San Juan also stars in office politics comedy Casual Day
alongside Juan Diego and Luis Tosar.
"tribute to Argentina"
The tribute to Argentina features Who Says It’s Easy (Quién dice que es fácil?),
the return by director Juan Taratulo after the sell out success of his previous
Comedy It’s Not You, It’s Me (No Sos Vos Soy Yo). Some screenings feature live
entertainment and drinks.
Three documentaries will screen in Sydney and Melbourne – Goya Award nominated
Lucio about the “Basque Zorro” Lucio Urtubia, Tears of Wayronco (Lagrimas de
wayronco) which gives voice to the victims of Peru’s internal armed conflict
which raged for over two decades and the International Premiere of Burning the
Strait (Quemando el estrecho) which looks beneath the tourist veneer of cities
like Granada where an underclass of young immigrants, mostly Moroccan, try to
Life Is Too Short is a program of award-winning short films which includes the
Goya Best Short Film winner Salvador, and the first film by The Orphanage
director JA Bayona, My Holiday (Mis vacaciones). ANIMATE!, which translates
loosely as “Cheer Up”, is a program of animated shorts which includes the Best
Animated Short Film Goya Award winner Tadeo Jones And The Basement Of Doom (Tadeo
Jones y el sótano maldito).
Published April 17, 2008
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Sydney: 7-18 May at Palace Academy Twin & Palace Norton Street Cinemas
Canberra: 7-11 May at Dendy Canberra Centre
Melbourne: 14-25 May at Palace Como & Palace Westgarth
Brisbane: 21-25 May at Palace Centro
Perth: 22-28 May at Cinema Paradiso
Night-vision camera pointed at the audience watching [REC] at Stiges.YOU TUBE