Established in 1998 to promote Spanish cinema, the Malaga Spanish Film Festival celebrates its thirteenth birthday this year. The festival enters in its teens with substantial budget cuts that are reflected in its duration – one day less of the red carpet, glamour, and cinema – and the cancellation of the sumptuous closing gala. Instead, we have a veritable cornucopia of Spanish cinema. Through the festival’s sections, we can see a selection of the very best in Spanish cinema today. To be ready for this event, filmotech.com has prepared a complete Special Feature in which you can find out all about the latest edition: films in competition, stars, tributes… Get up-to-date with Spanish cinema and its most popular film festival with filmotech.com.
THE OFFICIAL SECTION
A VARIED MENU OF FILMS TO FIGHT THE CRISIS
The Malaga Spanish Film Festival is set to get underway April 17. And, it’s again betting heavily on first works and new directors in its official section, Except for the opening and closing films (Io Don Giovanni[I, Don Giovanni] by Carlos Saura and Habitación en Roma [Room in Rome] by Julio Medem, both out of competition), of the 11 feature films being presented, four are first works and three, second films.
Among the debutants are David Pinillos, script-writer forGordos, who is presenting Bon Appetit, a romantic culinary comedy, co-produced with Switzerland and Italy and filmed in English, Rodrigo Rodero’s El Idioma Imposible, an urban drama set in Barcelona, Juana Macías’ Planes para Mañana, a drama about women and intertwining stories, and Manuel González’s social drama Propios y Extraños.
Among those returning to the Malaga contest are Laura Mañá, who is vying for the top prize for the third time and won it in 2000 with Sexo por Compasión [Sex Out of Compassion ]. This time, the Catalonian filmmaker is presenting La Vida Empieza Hoy, a comedy about sex in the third age, starring Pilar Bardem and Rosa María Sardá. Nacho García Velilla, winner of the People’s Choice Award and the Silver Biznaga Award for Best Actor with Fuera de Carta [Chef´s Special], will also be back in Malaga. He returns to try his luck in the same genre, presenting Que se Mueran los Feos, with Javier Cámara, Carmen Machi, and Hugo Silva headlining the cast. There will be yet more comedy with Una Hora Más en Canarias by David Serrano, script-writer for El Otro Lado de la Cama [The Wrong Side of the Bed] and director ofDías de Fútbol [Soccer Days] and< em>Días de Cine. He’s competing with Heroes by Pau Freixas.
As for drama, there’s the second film by writer Vicente Molina Foix who again sets aside writing to direct El Dios de Madera, a drama on immigration starring Marisa Paredes, Circuit, a story on falling in and out of love, with Sophie Auster and Oscar Jaenada in the leading roles, and Rabia, a social thriller directed by Ecuadorian filmmaker Sebastián Cordero, which was very well received at the festivals in Tokyo and Toronto.
IO, DON GIOVANNI [I, DON GIOVANNI]
Director: Carlos Saura.
In 1763 Venice, writer Lorenzo Da Ponte, initially a priest, is exiled to Vienna for circulating verses against the Church and the power of the Inquisition. With the help of Casanova, Lorenzo is introduced to the maestro Salieri, the preferred composer of the Emperor and Mozart. Salieri encourages Mozart to take on this unknown upstart as his librettist. Lorenzo’s scatterbrained nature will be the source of inspiration for one of Mozart’s most audacious and farthest-reaching works: Don Giovanni.
QUE SE MUERAN LOS FEOS
Director: Nacho G. Velilla.
Eliseo is ugly, lame, and single. He hasn’t found the love of his life and hasn’t experienced love. Nati is ugly, has small breasts, and is separated. She has found the man of her life, but, in spite of this, hasn’t experienced true love. Eliseo thinks the worst of his life is yet to come. Nati believes the best of hers is ahead. The death of Eliseo’s mother will bring them together after 20 years, which will give them one last chance to be happy and fall in love. But… what will happen when the woman of your dreams is married to your brother?
PLANES PARA MAÑANA
Director: Juana Macías.
Planes para mañana is about four women on the day their lives will completely change. They have a choice to start over again. In their hearts, the desire to break away from everything has been building up for years. But, it will come down to one day – only 24 hours – in which Inés, Antonia, Marian and Mónica, woman of very different ages and circumstances, will come to the same crossroads – to make up their minds here and now to make the decisions that will enable them to change the course of their lives. Will Inés decide to go ahead with her pregnancy against everyone and everything? Will Marian understand that her relationship with her husband is over and act accordingly? What will Antonia do when the true love of her life asks for a second chance now that she is happily married with children? What will happen to the feeling of impotence and desire for revenge Mónica has when her family falls apart?
PROPIOS Y EXTRAÑOS
Director: Manolo González.
Via the Internet, the programme can be heard in other places far away yet in some ways near, like Buenos Aires. Over the radio waves and the distance, through Sole, the programme’s host and the dramas and life experiences of the listeners, we see stories which, while on the surface are unrelated, intertwine, involving individuals throughout our world awake at these hours of the night. The people who live in the nocturnal hours connect, live, and suffer together. The radio programme is yet another leading character, vital and key, to the fates of all of these people.
Director: David Pinillos.
Daniel’s extraordinary talent enables him to move up in Wakerle’s demanding kitchen, but he can’t escape his relationship with Hanna, the restaurant’s attractive wine-waitress, which develops into something more than just a friendship. This unexpected situation will turn Daniel’s world upside down, presenting him with a difficult decision – to continue his climb up the career ladder or to take a risk and fight for the girl he loves.
EL IDIOMA IMPOSIBLE
Director: Rodrigo Rodero.
Fernando lives in the heart of Barcelona’s Chinatown, where he makes a living trafficking amphetamines and hanging out with a wide range of sinister characters. On one of the lifeless early mornings there, he meets Elsa, a sweet and vivacious adolescent girl, with a passionate and self-destructive personality. Without his realizing it, she becomes his biggest addiction. Together they struggle to survive in a rough-and-tumble Barcelona which, as day falls, is taken over by the society’s renegades who have their own rules.
EL DIOS DE MADERA
Director: Vicente Molina Foix.
From arrival to departure, El dios de madera tells the story of two love affairs and a discovery against the backdrop of illegal emigration. Yao is a young Senegalese street vender who subscribes to an animist religion. Rachid is a Moroccan Muslim, once a lifeguard, now a barber by necessity. Along with them are María Luisa, an older widow who still attends mass without forgetting her past, when she was Mavi, and her son Róber, who, as Roberto, wants to be a pianist and is currently a website designer in love with Rachid.
LA VIDA EMPIEZA HOY
Director: Laura Mañá.
A group of elderly people attend sexuality classes which remind them that their bodies still have life in them. There they learn from one another and talk about their life experiences… Olga, the teacher, helps them overcome problems arising from their age. To do so, they have homework to do – to learn to look at themselves in a mirror, dedicating 20 minutes to pleasurable pursuits… "Sex is life," she tells them, "because sex has to do with feelings, and we never stop feeling."
Director: Sebastián Cordero.
José María is a construction worke and Rosa is a domestic servant. They are South American immigrants working in Spain and, for the past few months, a couple. José María has a volatile personality and an argument leads to confrontation with his foreman culminating in the latter’s accidental death. José María doesn’t know what to do, so he seeks refuge in the mansion where Rosa works, saying nothing about what happened to anyone, even her….
Director: Pau Freixas.
A young man in advertising with a successful career, but no personal life is caught up in a race against the clock to arrive on time to an important business meeting. On the way, he meets a tall and slim girl carrying a backpack with whom, in spite of their different lifestyles, he connects. She recalls for him that most special and emotional time of his childhood, the last summer he spent with his group of friends. We will find out what they were like as children, with all the intensity of their first loves, their first affairs, and how they felt like heroes, back when they struggled to get that magic house built for two which could make all their dreams come true. This journey into the past, with all its longings and stimulations, makes the ad man rethink his future and ultimately decide between his career and that feeling of happiness reborn in him, thanks to a girl who is so special and nutty that she is able to turn his world inside out.
Director: Xavier Ribera.
Mía is about to lose her job as a photographer at Vic’s studio on the same day that Vic’s girlfriend, Ana, breaks up with him. Vic asks Mía to take his place because he decides to leave and not return for "a thousand days." Circuit tells short stories of falling in and out of love in concentric circles of time and space between different people in a 21st-century Western city over the course of those thousand days.
UNA HORA MÁS EN CANARIAS
Director: David Serrano.
Claudia’s life couldn’t be better… or so it would seem. One day, though, her unsatisfied lover, Pablo, leaves her for another woman. Claudia isn’t willing to let him go. With the help of her sister Mónica, and with a little financial and emotional blackmail, she devises what would seem to be a simple plan to get him back – to get him far away from his girlfriend so that she can more easily seduce him.
HABITACIÓN EN ROMA [ROOM IN ROME]
Director: Julio Medem.
A hotel room in central Rome is the setting where two women who have just met will become intimate through a physical encounter which will touch their souls. It all happens one night and in the early hours of the morning in early summer, 2008, before Rome will send them away to the places from which they came. That afternoon, Alba will return to Spain, Natasha to Russia.
Winner of two Goyas, a Max Award from the Theatre, Gold Medal for merit in Fine Arts, and now, the Málaga Sur Award, recognition given by the festival to an actor or actress with a rich and extensive professional career. Rosa María Sardá has done everything under the sun when it comes to acting. A versatile actress on stage (La casa de Bernarda Alba, Wit, Yo me bajo en la próxima, ¿y usted?, just to mention a few of the most recent plays she’s starred in), in cinema (Moros y cristianos [Moors and Christians], Alegre ma non troppo, Todo sobre mi madre [All About My Mother],La niña de tus ojos, Sin vergüenza [No Shame], Vete de mí [Go Away from Me]) and in television (Ahí te quiero ver, Abuela de verano). She has more than 40 feature films to her credit, along with many plays for the theatre, and appearances in TV series and programmes. Her range knows no bounds and she is able to bring an audience to tears or to hysterical laughter. "La Sardá", as she is known from the tradition of making common nouns out of the surnames of great stage actresses, is receiving this tribute from the Malaga Spanish Film Festival this year.
If you want to see some of her performances on celluloid, the following titles are available to you on filmotech.com.
This year, the Malaga Spanish Film Festival "Retrospective Award" to Basque filmmaker Julio Medem, a man who studied medicine to become a psychiatrist and ended up peering into the complex mechanisms of the human mind equipped with a movie camera. He started out with his film reviews in the Basque publication La voz de Euskadi while shooting scenes of daily life with his father’s Super-8 camera. He jumped to 35 millimetre format with the short filmPatas en la cabeza, and then directed Las seis en punta. In 1988, he wrote and directed the medium-length film Martín, produced by Elías Querejeta. Four years later, he had a hit with Vacas, his first feature film, in which he had shown the main characteristics of his personal film style which would win him the Goya Award for Best Newcomer Director.
Filmotech.com offers you the possibility of seeing the medium-length film Martín and Lucía y el sexo [Sex and Lucia], one of his most popular works.
Javier Artiñano has dressed up practically all of the actors and actresses in Spain. With forty years in the profession, this set and costume designer has six Goya Awards to back up this great Spanish film professional. He was going to be an architect, although he never actually entered the field. Instead, he studied at the San Fernando College of Fine Arts and set and costume design at the Decorative Arts School. He has been behind the costume shop and set design of more than 80 theatrical productions and more than 40 films (El Bosque Animado, Jarrapellejos, Esquilache, El Rey Pasmado [The Dumbfounded King], El Pájaro de la Felicidad, and La Conjura del Escorial [The El Escorial Conspiracy], among others) and various TV programmes and series (Los gozos y las sombras, La Regenta, Mariana Pineda). The Malaga Spanish Film Festival gives him a well-deserved honour with this award for technical achievement in Spanish cinema.
If you want to see some of Javier Artiñano’s works, here are a few of them.
The Eloy de la Iglesia Award recognizes the work of young filmmakers who have deviated from traditional formulas in their budding careers. Young filmmaker Gonzalo López-Gallego, director of Nómadas, Sobre el arco iris and El rey de la montaña, is receiving the award this year.
filmotech.com offers you Musas, this director’s first short film, winner of the People’s Choice Award in the Madrid Experimental Film Week.