cinemas, What's On

21st Spanish Film Festival


Screening nationally from 17 April exclusively at Palace Cinemas, the 2018 Spanish Film Festival (SFF) will open with a fiesta and screening of street dancing musical comedy THE TRIBE (La Tribu).

The twenty-day festival, which showcases 25 films, will close with Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece PAN’S LABYRINTH. The visionary Mexican director recently took home four Academy Awards including Best Film and Best Director with a further nine nominations for his whimsical and spellbinding underwater romance The Shape of Water. To celebrate this incredible achievement, we’re bringing his beloved dark fairy-tale back to the big screen to close the 21st Festival.

Special event screenings of the film that has skyrocketed to the top of the 2018 Spanish box-office – NO FILTER (Sin rodeos) – will take place nationally with drinks and music before the film. In NO FLITER, one of Spain’s most popular comedic talents, Santiago Segura, directs Maribel Verdú as a woman who takes a remedy that makes her unable to stop speaking her mind.

The REEL ESPAÑOL spotlight celebrates all the best new Spanish cinema. With hit dramas including: LOVING PABLO – starring Penélope Cruz as a journalist who strikes up a romantic relationship with notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar (Javier Bardem); Audience Award winning THE OPEN DOOR, which stars Carmen Machi as a prostitute past her prime living with her senile but feisty mother; a standout cast of Spain’s finest actors star in historical epic GOLD; and DYING (Morir) from breakout director Fernando Franco – a follow-up to his Spanish Academy Award winning debut Wounded.

The section also celebrates all the fun and cheekiness of Spanish culture with laugh-out-loud comedies: LORD, GIVE ME PATIENCE (Señor, dame paciencia) about an ultraconservative father who has to spend a weekend with his dysfunctional adult children and their partners; from maverick director Pablo Berger comes madcap comedy ABRACADABRA; three overprotective fathers conspire to scare off their daughters’ no-good boyfriends in IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD (Es por tu bien); and in the heist comedy OPERATION GOLDENSHELL (Operación concha), a con artist hires a lookalike to pose as a movie star to scam an investor.

Other festival favourites in this program strand include: MIST & THE MAIDEN (La niebla y la doncella), adapted from Lorenzo Silva’s best-selling novel and featuring a roll-call of Spanish favourites; Spanish Academy Award nominee Marc Clotet (The Sleeping Voice 2011) and Melina Matthews (The Returned 2013) star in period drama THE CHESS PLAYER (El jugador de ajedrez), Luis Oliveros’s second feature; the latest  work from filmmaking duo Bacha Caravedo and Chinón Higashionna THE SOLAR SYSTEM (El sistema solar); and RE-EVOLUTION, an action-thriller which packs in an all-star cast including Fele Martínez, Hovik Keuchkerian and Juan Pablo Shuk.

The REEL DIRECTORAS sidebar showcases the innovative work being produced by the next generation of Spain’s female directors. The programme includes four feature debuts, most notably Carla Simón’s internationally award-winning SUMMER 1993 – which enjoys encore screenings by popular demand, having amassed 28 award wins and 44 nominations across the globe, including Best New Director at the Spanish Academy Awards, the Best First Feature at the London Film Festival and Best Film at the Mumbai Film Festival since its 2017 premiere. The stellar line-up also includes Ana Murugarren’s THE BASTARDS’ FIG TREE, Marina Seresesky’s THE OPEN DOOR, and Elena Martín’s JÚLIA IS.

In REEL RETROSPECTIVE: THE BIGAS LUNA TRIBUTE a four-film programme will celebrate the work of internationally renowned Spanish director Bigas Luna who simultaneously launched the careers of Javier Bardem, Jordi Mollà and Penelope Cruz. This retrospective includes his critically-acclaimed ‘Iberian Portraits Trilogy’: JAMÓN, JAMÓN (1992), GOLDEN BALLS (1993) and THE TIT AND THE MOON (1994); as well as the Australian premiere of the posthumous documentary BIGAS X BIGAS (2017), based on his video-diaries. The trilogy offers a complex depiction of a Spain in transition, where older customs and stereotypes associated with the rural, simpler past survive alongside newly introduced European/global, capitalist values. Screenings will be followed by a panel discussion with Professor Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham University) and Professor Alfredo Martínez Expósito (The University of Melbourne). Drinks and tapas will be served with Spanish guitar music for the events in Melbourne (22 April), Brisbane (29 April) and Sydney (1 May). This event is sponsored by the Spanish Embassy in Australia (Spanish Cooperation), Durham University and The University of Melbourne.

The REEL INFANTIL section for kid-friendly films includes two stand-out features. The first is TAD THE LOST EXPLORER AND THE SECRET OF KING MIDAS – the sequel to the highest-grossing animated film in Spain of all time. This time amateur explorer Tad Jones must stop a millionaire who’s after King Midas’s necklace. The other family film is Disney Pixar’s Academy Award winning COCO. Full of wit, music, and colour, this beloved animation follows a young boy who dreams of being a musician despite his family’s generations old ban on music.

When: 19 April – 6 May
Where: Palace Cinema Como, Kino Cinemas, Palace Brighton Bay, The Astor Theatre & Palace Westgarth
Ticketing info: Here