Estiu 1993 (Summer 1993, 2017)

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Written and directed by Carla Simón

Starring: Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí, David Verdaguer

BY RAQUEL MARTÍNEZ

Summer 1993 is the first (and to this date, only) full-length film by Catalan director Carla Simón. Last year, Summer 1993 screened in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, where it received the Best Film award. This was hardly surprising, as Simón’s coming of age story had already bagged a few prizes all over Europe, including the Best First Feature Award at the prestigious Berlinale. Ignoring the tense relations between Catalonia and Spain at the time, Read More…

Ill Fares the Land (Bill Bryden, 1983)

BY PABLO DE CASTRO

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

This blog is usually devoted to Spanish films, mostly in the domain of social cinema, so an entry discussing a Scottish film about St Kilda is a rarity and will need some generosity from the editors to get it published. This said, this is a very special and little-know film: the Wikipedia entry for the islands of St Kilda (checked on the 6th of May 2018) mentions this film “is not currently on commercial release”. There is in fact no official poster for this film, just this.

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Read More…

Vente a Alemania, Pepe (Come to Germany, Pepe – 1971)

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Directed by Pedro Lazaga

Written by Vicente Coello and Vicente Escrivá

Starring: Alfredo Landa, Tina Sáinz, José Sacristán

BY RAQUEL MARTÍNEZ

Economic crises and unemployment have caused Spanish natives to find work abroad in different periods of recent history. For Spaniards, top European economies (specially Germany) are often regarded as promised lands  ̶ places where virtually anyone can get a fairly paid job. Recent films such as Perdiendo el norte (Off-course – Nacho García Velilla, 2014) and Un franco, 14 pesetas (Crossing Borders – Carlos Iglesias, 2006) have provided diverse perspectives on Spanish emigration to Europe. Within this context, the 1970s comedy Vente a Alemania, Pepe (Come to Germany, Pepe – Pedro Lazaga, 1971) is considered the ‘protofilm’ in the popular Spanish imagery. Read More…

Hable con ella (Talk to Her, 2002)

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Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Written by Pedro Almodóvar

Starring: Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti

BY BEATRIZ CABALLERO RODRÍGUEZ

Gender shifts in Almodóvar’s Hable con ella (Talk to her, 2002)

Winner of an Oscar to the best screenplay, Hable con ella (Talk to her, 2002) constitutes a significant shift in Pedro Almodóvar’s prolific cinematic career. In contrast with his previous films, where women always took centre stage, this time the protagonists are men. Read More…

Felices 140 (Happy 140, 2015)

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Directed by Gracia Querejeta

Written by Antonio Mercero and Gracia Querejeta

Starring: Maribel Verdú, Antonio de la Torre, Eduard Fernández

BY PABLO DE CASTRO

Spain may not be the most popular country in Scotland these days – in fact it hasn’t been for quite some time now: threats back in 2014 to veto any attempt for an independent Scotland to join the EU resulted among other things in occasional calls against the rights of the Spanish fishing fleet to work in Scottish waters. The recent events in Catalonia haven’t been helpful either to improve this image of a government prone to bullying their way around. Read More…

Hermosa juventud (Beautiful Youth, 2014)

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Directed by Jaime Rosales

Written by Jaime Rosales and Enric Rufas

Starring: Ingrid García Jonsson, Carlos Rodríguez, Inma Nieto

BY RAQUEL MARTÍNEZ

In December 2014, the Spanish Prime Minister  ̶  Mariano Rajoy  ̶  claimed that the economic crisis was ‘history’.[1] In the same year, Catalan director Jaime Rosales released Beautiful Youth, a bleak observation of the effects of such crisis on one of Spain’s most vulnerable sectors: young people. Read More…

El pastor (The Shepherd, 2016)

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Written and directed by Jonathan Cenzual Burley

Starring: Maribel Iglesias, Miguel Martín, Alfonso Mendiguchía

BY PABLO DE CASTRO

The 23rd edition of the extraordinary Spanish-speaking VIVA Festival Manchester took place just a couple of months ago. The film section is just one area of a much wider festival which addresses all means of artistic and cultural expression, including theatre, dance and visual arts. Once the festival was over, a few selected jewels started touring the country (same as the ‘Best of the IDFA’ tours The Netherlands: this will typically happen when cinema is seen as a cultural activity beyond business). These hidden gems have recently arrived to our own very Glasgow, and oh dear, the three selected pieces happen to arrive from Latin America. Read More…

Un perro andaluz (Un Chien Andalou, 1929)

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Directed by Luis Buñuel

Written by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí

Starring: Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí

Making sense of Buñuel’s Un chien andalou 

BY BEATRIZ CABALLERO RODRIGUEZ

Daring and irreverent, Un chien andalou sets out to break expectations and to shock viewers out of their bourgeois numbed comfort. Although a black and white, silent film only seventeen minutes long, it remains one of the most influential and celebrated short-films in the history of cinema. Read More…

Volver (2006)

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Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Starring: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave

BY BEATRIZ CABALLERO RODRIGUEZ

From the outset, Pedro Almodóvar’s film Volver (2006) tackles the topics of memory and trauma across three generations of women. As the title Volver (meaning to return, to come back) indicates, this film is marked by a strong sense of disjointed time where the past refuses to stay in the past, ghosts refuse to stay buried, traumatic events refuse to be forgotten. Read More…

LOREAK (Flowers, 2014)

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Directed by José Mari Goenaga and Jon Garaño

Written by José Mari Goenaga, Jon Garaño and Aitor Arregui

Starring: Nagore Aranburu, Itziar Aizpuru, Itziar Ituño

BY R. MARTÍNEZ

Why do we give flowers to people? Are they a colourful allegory of youth and beauty? Or are they a tangible proof of feelings such as love or perhaps regret? Flowers are the main theme that binds the film Loreak’s female protagonists together. Loreak was filmed in the Basque language and is one of the strongest examples of 2015’s Basque cinema together with Asier Altuna’s enigmatic Amama. Read More…