It's all about to go a little Spanish in Auckland from next week.
Organisers are readying themselves for the first ever Spanish Film Festival which kicks off in Auckland from May 18th.
The programme includes a wealth of films celebrated at Cannes,
Berlin, Toronto, Venice and San Sebastian, and the work of talented
filmmakers and actors including Belen Rueda, Alejandro
González Iñárritu, Javier Camara, Guillermo
Del Toro, Fernando Trueba, Javier Bardem and Luis Tosar.
The New Zealand premiere of award-winning Biutiful is set to screen centre-stage for opening night of the festival. Nominated for two Academy Awards® (Best Actor, Javier Bardem and Best Foreign Language Film) and winner at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival (Best Actor, Javier Bardem), Biutiful is the latest masterpiece from Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Amores Perros, 21 Grams).
Spains reputation of creating cinema at its most cutting-edge is exemplified in the programme by closing night thriller Julias Eyes, produced by Guillermo Del Toro, who many will remember from Pan's Labyrinth. Starring the acclaimed queen of Spanish horror, Belen Rueda (The Orphanage), Julias Eyes follows Julia, a woman who is losing her sight and sets out to find the cause of her blind sisters suspicious death.
The festival also includes the Official Entries to the Academy Awards from Chile and Venezuela. Representing Chile is The Life of Fish, a beautifully shot and poignant film set in real time at a party where a thirty-something Berlinbased travel journalist reunites with lost friends, loves and opportunities. (See review below)
A couple of the highlights of the festival are -
18 Meals is an ensemble piece and follows various lives through the course of a day as they partake in various meals from morning to night. The philosophy is that "Around a table your appetite opens up - as does your soul" and that's applied throughout; with sumptuously shot moments of food being prepared and a good solid ensemble cast, we glimpse affairs and romances as well as one man's quest to spend a meal with his potential new beau. Inevitably over the course of breakfast, lunch and dinner, it all comes to a head at the final meal of the day (and perhaps in a little way, somewhat over the top) but 18 Meals has a passion and soul which is undeniably on display.
The Life Of Fish was Chile's entrant into the shortlist for the Academy Awards - and quite simply, it's easy to see why. With a brilliant performance from Santiago Cabrera as Andres, a travel writer who's about to head off on a trip and is in the midst of saying goodbye to friends at a party, it has absolutely everything. Wonderfully shot , with good realistic dialogue and entirely plausible situations, there's anguish and warmth in this in spades. As the story unfolds, there's a terrible tragedy which comes to the forefront of the drama but it's so well underplayed, it doesn't feel shoehorned in. Reflective and soulful, realistic and heart aching, this is perhaps one of the best foreign films I've seen this year.
The Spanish Film Festival runs in Auckland from Wednesday 18th to Thursday 26th May in Newmarket.