This year’s Moro Spanish Film Festival features 32 films from Spain and Latin America, including special presentations and events, innovative documentaries, and a spotlight on female directors.
The fest screens nationally at Palace Cinemas from 16 April. It will feature two key program strands: New Spanish Cinema and Cine Latino.
Opening with Javier Fesser’s Goya Award-winning box office smash hit Champions (Campeones); the festival will close with a digital restoration of Pedro Almodóvar’s comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary. Special Presentation feature The Realm (El reino) features acting heavyweight Antonio de la Torre reunited with director Rodrigo Sorogoyen (May God Save Us) in an award-winning political thriller.
Bringing the best of Spanish cinema to the festival is the New Spanish Cinema programme including Koldo Serra’s third feature 70 Big Ones (70 Binladens), featuring intrigue, suspense and black humour; A March to Remember (Vitoria, 3 de Marzo), a recreation of real-life events from 3 March 1976 when five workers were murdered by the central government following a general strike in the of Vitoria; and Between Two Waters (Entre dos aguas), Isaki Lacuesta’s Gaudi Award-winning film featuring performances by real-life siblings Israel Gómez Romero and Francisco José Gómez Romero.
Two documentaries will screen at the festival: Peret: The King of the Gypsy Rumba (Peret, yo soy la rumba), Paloma Zapata’s portrait of Pere Pubill Calaf, whose flamenco career spanned six decades; and Virgin and Extra: Jaen, the Land of Olive Oil (Jaén, virgen y extra), a film that revels in the beauty of one of Spain’s lesser-known provinces with a delectable tale about olive oil.
The Cine Latino program will feature the best new films from Mexico, Central and South America. Among the highlights are Common Blood (La misma sangre), Miguel Cohan’s wicked Argentinian thriller, featuring performances by Latin American titans Óscar Martínez (Distinguished Citizen, 2016) and Paulina García (Gloria, 2013). Following on from his 2015 Berlinale prize-winning Ixcanul, Guatemalan writer-director Jayro Bustamante presents his second feature Tremors (Tremblores). The film concerns a married father of two – played by Juan Pablo Olyslager – who reveals he’s love with another man. The provocatively titled Looking for a Boyfriend… For my Wife (Se busca novio… para mi mujer) reunites the director and cast of the Chilean version of the hit sitcom Married with Children. In this entertaining comedy, a man in a matrimonial crisis cooks up a foolish scheme to trick his wife into wanting to separate.
As part of its Spotlight on Female Directors, the festival will also feature 11 films directed by women. From established directors such as Icíar Bollaín and Gracia Querejeta to fresh new
voices including Lila Avilés, the spotlight presents a program of Spain and Latin America’s most exciting filmmakers. The films on offer include The Good Girls (Las niñas bien) by director Alejandra Márquez Abella. This gorgeously mounted feature is at once a scathing and glamourous depiction of the wives of upper-class men in 1982 Mexico. Crime Wave (Ola de crímenes) from Gracia Querejeta is a romping comedy-thriller starring the crème de la crème of Spanish acting royalty: Maribel Verdú, Javier Cámara and Luis Tosar. And Yuli is a biopic about the legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta; the first black dancer to perform some of ballet’s most iconic roles. Directed by Icíar Bollaín, the film features a magnetic performance by Acosta himself.
The 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival kicks off in Sydney on 16 April and runs in Palace cinemas around the country until 26 May. Full dates and venues are:
Sydney 16 Apr – 8 May: Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona & Palace Central.
Canberra 17 Apr – 8 May: Palace Electric Cinema.
Melbourne 18 Apr – 8 May: The Astor Theatre, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace
Westgarth, The Kino and Palace Balwyn.
Adelaide 23 Apr – 15 May: Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas & Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas.
Perth 24 Apr – 15 May: Palace Cinema Paradiso.
Brisbane 24 Apr – 15 May: Palace James Street and Palace Barracks.
Hobart 2 May – 8 May: State Cinema.
Byron Bay 10 – 26 May: Palace Byron Bay
Tickets are on sale now via www.spanishfilmfestival.com
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Italian Film Festival 2020 – movie feature
- German Film Festival 2019 – preview
- Scandinavian Film Festival 2017 – preview
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television