The 24th edition of the Spanish Film Festival across Australia for 2022 is here and it has packed some absolute stellar cinematic experiences. If you want to laugh, cry or go on an adventure, this festival gives you all that and more from Spain and Latin America.
With 34 films to squeeze into your schedule this April and May, you’ll be forgiven if you can’t catch them all. To help you find one or two you might enjoy, we here at Novastream have come up with 5 films from the festival. Each one offers something different but certainly worth seeing.
Starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, Official Competition opened the festival around the country. It also happens to be the Australian Premiere (not due in cinemas until July). And, it is side-splittingly hilarious even if you don’t speak Spanish.
A Billionaire with a public image issue has decided to fund a movie in the hope people will see him differently. The film is about sibling rivalry and costs a small fortune to get the rights to adapt the book for the screen. To direct the film is eccentric Director Lola Cuevas (Cruz) who has some very quirky and direct ways to help the actors get into character. The two brothers of which the movie is based on is Félix Rivero (Banderas) and Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez).
Lola puts Félix and Ivan through some gruelling exercises including sitting under a huge rock hoisted in the air and held in place by a crane. The idea is to get the actors to really feel the pressure and tension of being in a courtroom. Another exercise is making the actors repeat their lines, even as simple as “Good evening” over and over again until it’s just right.
But all the preparation to get these actors for what they are hoping will be an award-winning film, all comes crashing down when things take a turn onset.
There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for the death of the people you love. If that’s the case then it’s a near-impossible idea to meet the person who killed your partner face to face. Maixabel is the true story of a woman who takes a step towards peace and forgiveness.
Based on the real events of 2000, Maixabel Lasa’s Husband Juan María Jaúregui is killed by ETA. For those not in the know, from 1959 to 2011 there was a political conflict between Spain and the Basque National Liberation Movement which sought independence from Spain and France.
Maixabel has lived in fear since that day, having to go as far as hiring a bodyguard for her safety. But, 11 years later one of the men who killed her husband wants to meet with her now he has broken ties with the terrorist group.
This is a hard film to digest as it is intense and driven by so much dialogue. Even harder to understand the grief and civil unrest these people are living with day in and day out.
If you’re after a bit of a holiday via a screen, Beyond the Summit takes you on a journey to hike one of the toughest mountains in the world, Annapurna in the Nepalese Himalayas. But it quickly becomes a survival thriller when the weather has other plans for the hikers.
Mateo is undoubtedly fit, but he also has no experience climbing big mountains. This becomes very evident when he falls into a crevasse early on in his summit. Thankfully, Ione who has been spending the winter on the mountain finds Mateo and takes him back to the shelter.
Nursing him back to health the two become good friends finding common ground in heartache. Mateo is mourning the passing of his partner and fulfilling a promise to her. Ione is stuck in a rut after climbing all the world’s largest mountains and has nothing to work towards anymore.
Making one more attempt Mateo heads for the peak only to get himself caught in a storm and be rescued again by Ione.
Beyond the Summit will put you on the edge of your seat in the will they won’t they survive. It also takes you on a bit of an emotional journey as the two tackle some of life’s harder journeys.
If you’re looking for a strong female-led movie with more themes than you can poke a stick at, Parallel Mothers is for you. Looking at Motherhood, sexuality, civil unrest, birth and death Penélope Cruz once again shows just how far her reach as an actress can go.
Janis (Cruz) is photographing an Archeologist, Arturo when she uses the opportunity to see if he can help uncover a burial site believed to be the place her grandfather was brutally murdered along with many others from her hometown. But in all the planning of the excavation the two embraces in a night of passion resulting in Janis becoming pregnant.
Sharing a room at the hospital with a younger but first-time mother Ana, the two give birth on the same day. This as it turns out created an opportunity for the two babies to accidentally swap. Ana and Janis become friends as they navigate the world of motherhood despite both at different points of their life.
It’s a wonderful journey full of sadness, joy and deceit. But all amongst this is the horrible history where her grandfather was forced to dig his own grave. This one comes with some amazing performances by the two leading ladies.
And finally, Language Lessons is one for those non-Spanish speaking moviegoers that want less reading or maybe even learn a Spanish word or two. It will give you all the feels and at the same time make you laugh out loud.
Adam (Mark Duplass) has been given 100 Spanish lessons by his partner. Unbeknownst to Adam’s teacher CariIño (Natalie Morales) she becomes more than a teacher to him and he becomes more than a student to her.
The entire film is through the phone or computer camera as they have their lessons. Though even more of the film is them leaving video messages for each other. And it works. These two actors manage to tap into something we all have felt for the last two years.
When tragedy strikes, the both of them find solace in each other’s virtual company, though it very much oversteps the professionalism line.
It’s an easy film to follow and as it switches between English and Spanish. It’s even easier to enjoy this simple yet heartwarming movie that will leave you full of love and hope.
The Spanish Film Festival runs April to May across key Australian cities. Head online to find the program and a full listing of all the great film and documentaries on offer for 2022.
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