Culture vultures and foreign film aficionados will be having a field day as the Pelicula Spanish Film Festival prepares to get the reel rolling in Manila. The film fest is now on its 9th year, and is set to be “the biggest presentation of Spanish cinema in Asia and the Pacific.”
For many of us, it is also a chance to get to see more of Spain’s hottest acting talents not named Penelope Cruz.
Presented by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the Spanish Embassy’s cultural arm, Pelicula will play host to 23 critically-acclaimed films culled from Spain and Latin America’s rich film tradition.
Says Instituto Cervantes director Jose Rodriguez: “Due to the successes of the first eight seasons, we are especially proud of the reputation the Película film festival has developed over the years as a great local venue to feature and premier award-winning Spanish films.” And with this year’s selection, we’ve no reason to believe that this year’s Pelicula will be no less spectacular.
Making its Philippine premiere are multi-awarded films Garbo, El hombre que salvo el mundo (Garbo, the Spy), which is a gripping documentary about Spanish double agent, Juan Pujol, who changed the complexion of World War II through espionage, and Celda 211 (Cell 211), which is about prsion civil servant who gets trapped in a riot the very same day that he starts on the job.
The two films won prestigious awards at Spain's Academy Award equivalent, the Goya Awards. The former won the Best Documentary award in 2010, while the latter won the Best Picture, the Best Actor, the Best Supporting Actress, the Best Breakthrough Actor, the Best Editing, the Best Screenplay, the Best Sound awards, and the Best Director award for Daniel Monzon in 2010.
Those whose tears flow easily better bring the tissue when they watch Los condenados (The Condemned) which is about an Argentinean seeking to return to his country after a 30-year exile in Spain.
It won’t be all drama though in the festival as films like Que se mueran los feos (To Hell with the Ugly) treats us to a hearty laugh in a love story about an ugly man and a beautiful woman.
Along with the Spanish films, the festival will be showcasing Latin America’s body of works as films from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Peru will be joining the festival.
From Peru are the Oscar-nominated La teta asustada (The Milk of Sorrow) and the comedy Pantaleón y las visitadores (Captain Pantoja and the Special Services). From Argentina are Bolivia, the crime drama El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in their Eyes), and Luna de Avellaneda (Avellaneda’s Moon).
Meanwhile, Chile’s selection includes El chacotero sentimental (The Sentimental Teaser) and Cachimba, while the Mexican contingent features Otilia Rauda and Desierto Adentro (The Desert Within).
Next: Scriptwriting workshops, and Pinoy film, Happyland
WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES