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Volver a Empezar (Begin the Beguine, 1982)

Volver a Empezar

Directed by: José Luis Garci

Written by: José Luis Garci, Ángel Llorente

Starring: Antonio Ferrandis, Encarna Paso, José Bódalo, Agustín González.

Written by Peter Berry

José Luis Garci’s earliest films, Asignatura Pendiente and Solos en la madrugada both represent attempts to portray the disruptive consequences that the democratic transition could have in the personal lives of middle class Spaniards. Volver a Empezar (Beguin the Beguine) is somewhat of a piece with these early works but is of a decidedly warmer and gentler tone. Read More…

La jaula de oro (The Golden Dream, 2013)

Directed by Diego Quemada-Díez

Written by Diego Quemada-Díez, Gibrán Portela, Lucía Carreras,

Starring: Karen Noemí Martínez Pineda, Rodolfo Domínguez, Brandon López

BY JESÚS RODERO

Despite having been premiered in 2013 at the Cannes Film Festival, La jaula de oro deals with a highly topical subject: that of unaccompanied migrant minors from Central America to the USA. It was the first and only featured-length film to date by Mexican-Spanish director Diego Quemada-Díez and received a number of awards at numerous film festivals around the world, including 9 Ariels from the Mexican Film Academy. Quemada-Díez had worked as a camera operator for filmmakers such as Alejandro González Iñárritu, Spike Lee, Tony Scott and Ken Loach. The influence of the latter is obvious in the documentary style the film adopts – with no concessions to sentimentalism or melodrama –, the improvised or (semi)improvised dialogues and the use of non-professional actors.

Read More…

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…

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)

Perro andaluz

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)

Cartel_Volver

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…