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The London Spanish Film Festival is back!

La 17ª edición del Festival de Cine Español de Londres llega de nuevo con una selección de algunas de las películas más emotivas e interesantes realizadas recientemente en España. La mayoría de ellas son estrenos en el Reino Unido en una feliz combinación de realizadores noveles y de cineastas consagrados. El programa presenta una variedad de géneros que te harán reír, te mantendrán al borde de tu asiento y probablemente te invitarán a pensar en la vida y lo que significa tomar decisiones y asumir riesgos. ¡Disfruta de la selección!

The 17th edition of the London Spanish Film Festival comes again with a selection of some of the most exciting and interesting films recently made in Spain. Most of them UK premieres, they’re the product of new as well as established filmmakers and, in the variety their genres, they will make you laugh, keep you on the edge of your seat and probably invite you to think about life and taking decisions as well as risks. Enjoy the selection!

Joana Granero (Director) and Patricia Pérez Alvarez (Head of Programming)

La isla de las mentiras- The Island of Lies

La isla de las mentiras- The Island of Lies

dir. Paula Cons, with Nerea Barros, Ana Oca, Sergio Quintana, Celso Bugallo, Darío Grandinetti | Spain/Argentina/Portugal | 2020 | 93 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Galician and Spanish with English subtitles. Fri 24 Sep | 6.30pm

En una mañana de invierno de 1921, en medio de la espesa niebla del litoral gallego, un barco con 260 emigrantes con destino a Buenos Aires se hunde en la costa de Sálvora, una diminuta isla a 3 km de tierra firme. Como esa noche todos los hombres de la isla habían estado en tierra firme para celebrar la Navidad, tres valientes mujeres usan un bote pequeño y remar de oído para tratar de salvar a la mayor cantidad de gente posible. Un periodista argentino se interesa por cubrir el caso y comienza a investigar las muchas coincidencias fatales que sucedieron la noche del naufragio. La productora, escritora y directora Paula Cons retrata magníficamente la fría tragedia en el magnífico litoral natural de esta isla del Atlántico, así como la terrible ignorancia de una comunidad desterrada del progreso.

On a winter morning of 1921, amid the thick fog of the Galician coastline, a boat with 260 emigrants bound to Buenos Aires sinks in the cost of Sálvora, a very small island 3km off the mainland. As that night the men of the island had all been to the mainland to celebrate Christmas, three courageous women use a small boat and row by ear to try to save as many people as they can. An Argentine journalist takes interest in covering the case and starts to investigate the many fatal coincidences that happened on the night of the shipwreck. Producer, writer and director Paula Cons portrays superbly the cold tragedy in the magnificent natural coastline of this island in the Atlantic as well as the terrible ignorance of a community banished from progress.

Un efecto ópticoAn Optical Illusion

Un efecto ópticoAn Optical Illusion

dir. Juan Cavestany, with Carmen Machi, Pepón Nieto, Luis Bermejo | Spain | 2020 | 80 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles. Sat 25 Sep | 6.30pm

Alfredo y Teresa, matrimonio burgalés, deciden emprender por fin su soñado y merecido viaje a Nueva York. Poco después de su llegada, Teresa comienza a sentirse extrañamente incómoda. Entonces, las imágenes de monumentos de Alfredo no coinciden con lo que recuerdan que vieron… La de Cavestany es una versión distintiva y atrevida del turismo, el provincialismo globalizado, la banalidad de la vida cotidiana de una pareja estable…y mucho más.

Alfredo and Teresa, a married couple from Burgos, decide to finally take their long-dreamed and well-deserved trip to New York. Shortly after their arrival, Teresa starts to feel strangely uncomfortable. Then Alfredo’s pictures of monuments don’t match what they remember they saw… Cavestany’s is a distinctive and daring take on tourism, globalised provincialism, the banality of a steady couple’s quotidian… and much more.

El sustitutoThe Replacement

El sustitutoThe Replacement

dir. Oscar Aibar, with Ricardo Gómez, Pere Ponce, Joaquín Climent, Bruna Cusí, Vicky Luengo, Pol López | Spain | 2021 | 117 min | cert. 18 | UK premiere | In Spanish with Engish subtitles. Sat 25 Sep | 8.30pm Mon 27 Sep | 6.05pm

In 1982 a young father and hardened police officer moves with his family from Madrid to a small Mediterranean sea town where he is to replace an inspector that has been murdered in mysterious circumstances. As he keeps going on with his work, strange links between the inspector’s assassination, drugs and property speculation come up. Based on real facts, Oscar Aibar’s beautifully made thriller takes us to a heavenly and happy retirement spot on the Mediterranean coast that Nazi elders got thanks to the Franco regime and kept throughout the Transition.

En 1982, un padre joven y un policía empedernido se traslada con su familia desde Madrid a un pequeño pueblo del mar Mediterráneo, donde sustituirá a un inspector que ha sido asesinado en circunstancias misteriosas. A medida que continúa con su trabajo, surgen extraños vínculos entre el asesinato del inspector, las drogas y la especulación inmobiliaria. Basado en hechos reales, el thriller bellamente realizado de Oscar Aibar nos lleva a un lugar de retiro celestial y feliz en la costa mediterránea que los ancianos nazis obtuvieron gracias al régimen de Franco y mantuvieron durante toda la Transición.

El PlanetaPlanet

El PlanetaPlanet

dir. Amalia Ulman, with Ale Ulman, Amalia Ulman, Nacho Vigalondo, Zhou Chen | USA | 2021 | 79 min | cert. 15 | London premiere | In Engish and Spanish with Engish subtitles. Sun 26 Sep | 6.20pm

Una joven desempleada se ve obligada a dejar Londres y regresar a casa después de la muerte de su padre para vivir con su excéntrica madre. Aunque están a punto de enfrentar el desalojo, no pueden renunciar al estilo de vida que aman y creen que se merecen, uniéndose por su tragedia común y viviendo y disfrutando el momento. Ambientada en Gijón, El Planeta explora la pobreza contemporánea, la conciencia de clase y los deseos femeninos, así como las relaciones madre-hija en la España poscrisis con un encantador y sutil sentido del humor.

A jobless young woman is forced to leave London and return home after the death of her father to live with her eccentric mother. Although they are on the verge of facing eviction, they can’t renounce the lifestyle they love and believe to deserve, bonding over their common tragedy and living and enjoying the moment. Set in Gijón, El Planeta explores contemporary poverty, class awareness and female desires as well as mother-daughter relationships in post-crisis Spain throughout with a charming and subtle sense of humour.

CATALAN WINDOW

SentimentalThe People Upstairs

SentimentalThe People Upstairs

dir. Cesc Gay, with Javier Cámara, Griselda Siciliani, Alberto San Juan, Belén Cuesta | Spain | 2020 | 82 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles. Thu 23 Sep | 8.30pm

Ana y Julio son pareja y, aparentemente, pasan la mayor parte del tiempo que están juntos, discutiendo. Salva y Laura parecen pasar su tiempo teniendo sexo ruidoso, razón por la cual Julio se molesta mucho cuando Ana los invita a cenar. Durante la turbulenta velada afloran secretos, miedos e inseguridades, todo aderezado por un ingenioso diálogo escrito por el director, Cesc Gay. El resultado es una comedia íntima y muy agradable que explora las complejidades de las relaciones modernas.

Ana and Julio are a couple and apparently, they spend most of their time together arguing. Salva and Laura seem to spend their time having noisy sex, the reason for which Julio is extremely annoyed when Ana invites them for dinner. During the turbulent evening secrets, fears and insecurities come to the surface, everything spiced up by a witty dialogue written by the director, Cesc Gay. The result is a highly enjoyable and intimate comedy exploring the complexities of modern relationships.

Nieva en BenidormIt Snows in Benidorm

Nieva en BenidormIt Snows in Benidorm

dir. Isabel Coixet, with Timothy Spall, Sarita Choudhury, Anna Torrent, Carmen Machi, Pedro Casablanc | Spain/UK | 2020 | 117 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In English and Spanish with English subtitles. Fri 24 Sep | 8.35pm

Cuando a Peter le «conceden» una jubilación anticipada del banco de Manchester para el que siempre ha trabajado, decide visitar a su hermano en Benidorm. Sin embargo, una vez allí se entera de que ha desaparecido y este viaje resulta lejos de lo que había imaginado. Una toma poética de la veterana Isabel Coixet sobre la particular belleza de Benidorm, su lado lúgubre y sus mafias inmobiliarias “no poéticas”, así como sobre el amor a una edad avanzada.
When Peter is “awarded” an early retirement from the Manchester bank he’s always worked for, he decides to visit his brother in Benidorm. However once there he finds out he’s disappeared and this trip turns out to be far from what he had imagined. A poetic take by veteran Isabel Coixet on Benidorm’s particular beauty, its gloomy side and its “unpoetic” real estate mafias as well as on love at an older age.

Un blues para TeheránTehran Blues

Un blues para TeheránTehran Blues

dir. Javier Tolentino, with Golmehr Alami, Sina Derakhshan, Pezhman Dishad | 2020 | 80 min | cert. PG | doc | UK premiere | In Spanish, Persian and Kurdish with English subtitles. Sun 26 Sep | 4:10pm

De la mano de Erfan, un joven kurdo que canta, escribe poesía y quiere ser director de cine, visitaremos algunos de los rincones más remotos de Irán descubriendo una cultura verdaderamente sofisticada a través de su música. Tehran Blues es una producción del siempre sorprendente Luis Miñarro de la primera película de Javier Tolentino. Es uno de los periodistas y críticos de cine más consagrados de España y este documental es un verdadero poema a una cultura omnipresente que no se puede borrar ni ignorar.
By the hand of Erfan, a young Kurdish man who sings, writes poetry and wants to be a film director, we’ll visit some of Iran’s remote corners discovering a truly sophisticated culture through its music. Tehran Blues is a production by the always surprising Luis Miñarro of Javier Tolentino’s first film. He is one of Spain’s most established journalists and film critics and this documentary is a true poem to an ever-present culture that cannot be effaced nor ignored.

ChavalasGirlfriends

ChavalasGirlfriends

dir. Carol Rodríguez Colás, with Vicky Luengo, Carolina Yuste, Elisabet Casanovas, Cristina Plazas, José Mota | Spain | 2021 | 91 min | cert. PG | UK premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles. Tue 28 Sep | 8.45pm

Tras una primera etapa como fotógrafa profesional, Marta sin trabajo se ve obligada a volver a vivir con sus padres en un piso suburbano en Barcelona, el barrio obrero en el que creció. Allí encuentra a sus novias de la infancia Desi, Soraya y Bea, con quien compartió un vínculo muy especial en su adolescencia. Beneficiándose de las nuevas interpretaciones de las actrices, el primer largometraje de Carol Rodríguez Colás es una toma sincera y tragicómica de la amistad y las raíces a través de las decisiones de vida que Marta toma para convertirse en la mujer que quiere ser.

After an initial stint as a professional photographer, jobless Marta finds herself having to go back to live with her parents in a suburban flat in Barcelona, the working-class neighbourhood she grew up in. There she finds her childhood girlfriends Desi, Soraya and Bea, with whom she shared a very special bond in their teenage years. Benefiting from the fresh performances of the actresses, Carol Rodríguez Colás’s first feature film is a sincere and tragicomic take on friendship and roots through the life decisions Marta takes to become the woman she wants to be.

La reina de los lagartosThe Queen of Lizards

La reina de los lagartosThe Queen of Lizards

dir. Burnin’ Percebes (Juan González and Nando Martínez), with Javier Botet, Bruna Cusí, Miki Esparbé | Spain | 2019 | 63 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Catalan and Spanish with Engish subtitles. Fri 24 Sep | 4.45pm Sat 25 Sep | 4.30pm

Berta, una madre soltera independiente y decidida, y Javi, un extraterrestre, se están preparando para poner fin a su romance de verano, ya que una nave espacial debería venir a recogerlo pronto. Sin embargo, la nave espacial no aparece y Berta comienza a preguntarse sobre sus posibilidades mientras se enfrenta a una relación estable. La reina de los lagartos es una memorable y absurda historia de amor bellamente filmada en Super-8 y de una manera sorprendente y poco convencional.

Berta, an independent and determined single mother, and Javi, an alien, are getting ready to end their summer love affair as a spaceship should come to pick him up soon. However, the spaceship does not appear and Berta starts wondering about her possibilities as she faces a steady relationship. La reina de los lagartos is a memorable, absurd love story beautifully shot in Super-8 and in a surprising and unconventional way.

BASQUE WINDOW

AneAne is Missing

AneAne is Missing

dir. David Pérez Sañudo, with Patricia López Arnaiz, Jone Laspiur, Mikel Losada, Luis Callejo | Spain | 2020 | 100 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Basque and Spanish with English subtitles. Tue 28 Sep | 6.30pm

Cuando Lide descubre que su hija adolescente, Ane, está desaparecida, se une a su exmarido, Fernando, para tratar de encontrar su paradero. A medida que crece la determinación del atribulado Lide, el miedo de Fernando a Ane se hace más evidente. A lo largo de la mayor parte de la película, Ane se siente como un fantasma y una presencia invisible opresiva y espectral. Después de varios premios por sus cortometrajes, David Pérez Sañudo logra a la perfección pasar del misterio al drama familiar y luego al thriller político.
When Lide discovers that her teenage daughter, Ane, is missing, she teams up with her ex-husband, Fernando, to try to find her whereabouts. As the troubled Lide’s determination grows Fernando’s fear of Ane becomes more evident. Throughout most of the film, Ane feels like a ghost and an oppressing and spectral unseen presence. After several awards for his shorts, David Pérez Sañudo succeeds perfectly in moving from mystery to family drama and then to political thriller.

Preceded by the short: QuebrantosBreaches

dir. Koldo Amandoz, Maria Elorza | Spain | 2021 | 7 min | doc | cert. PG | In Basque with English subtitles

Living with fear… Based o an interview on Euskadi Irratia Radio.

Nora

Nora

dir. Lara Izaguirre, with Ane Pikaza, Héctor Alterio, Ramón Barea, Itziar Ituño | Spain | 2020 | 100 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish, Basque and French with English subtitles and English. Wed 29 Sep | 8.30pm

Una torpe entrevista de trabajo, un viaje nunca hecho a Argentina, la muerte de su abuelo, las llaves del viejo Dyane 6 azul … Así comienza el viaje que cambiará la vida de Nora. Después de dar la bienvenida a Lara Izaguirre con su primer largometraje en nuestra edición de 2016, nos enorgullece programar su apasionante segundo largometraje, realizado por un equipo creativo liderado por mujeres, que es una reflexión fresca y optimista sobre la vida y el coraje para tomar decisiones y riesgos. Como dice el refrán, “mal tiempo, buena cara” (en español, “al mal tiempo, buena cara”).

A clumsy job interview, a trip never made to Argentina, her grandfather’s death, the keys to the old blue Dyane 6… That’s how the trip that will change Nora’s life begins. After welcoming Lara Izaguirre with her first feature film in our 2016 edition, we are proud to program her gripping second feature film, made by a creative team led by women, which is a fresh and optimistic reflection on life and the courage to take decisions and risks. As the saying goes, “bad weather, good face” (in Spanish, “al mal tiempo, buena cara”).

The 10th Spring Weekend of the London Spanish Film Festival is back

The 10th Spring Weekend of the London Spanish Film Festival comes back, 28 – 30 May 2021, after missing one very strange year, full of energy and positive vibes setting the mood for an exciting 17th edition in September.

To celebrate Spanish cinema and its artists, as part of this weekend, you’ll find the latest film by veteran Fernando Trueba, three impressive debuts by three promising women, a hopeful and moving reflexion on what life is… and a special screening of the latest treat from Maestro Almodóvar.

For the full programme go to www.londonspanishfilmfestival.com

LAS NIÑAS
Schoolgirls
dir. Pilar Palomero | with Andrea Fandos, Natalia de Molina, Zoe Arnao | Spain | 2020 | 97 min | cert. 15 | London premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles
Celia is an 11-year-old girl studying at a nun’s school in 1992. She’s a responsible student and a considerate daughter but the arrival of a new classmate will open a little window Celia is willing to look out from to discover about the outside world. Together with her group of friends she’ll give her first steps into adolescence and first-times even if that means confronting her mother and questioning everything that meant comfort and security. The film has won several awards among which Best Film, Best New Director, Best
Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay Goya Awards.
Fri 28 May | 6.30pm | £13, conc. £11

EL OLVIDO QUE SEREMOS
Memories of My Father
dir. Fernando Trueba, with Javier Cámara, Nicolás Reyes Cano, Juan Pablo Urrego | Colombia | 2020 | 136 min | cert. PG | In Spanish, Italian and English
with English subtitles | Distributed by Curzon
Trueba’s latest film tells the story of Héctor Abad Gómez, one of Colombia’s most beloved national heroes, through the eyes of his son. He balances a nuanced portrait of Abad Gómez’s family life in Medellín and the harsh reality of the country in the turbulent 1970s and 1980s, in which corruption is common and the government cannot be criticised. Based on the book written by Abad Gómez’s son, Memories of My Father is a memorable work, a love story and the portrait of a man fighting for the basic human rights of his
people: food, water and adequate shelter.
Fri 28 May | 8.35pm | £13, conc. £11
Sat 29 May | 5.50pm | £13, conc. £11

LA VOZ HUMANA
The Human Voice
dir. Pedro Almodóvar, with Tilda Swinton | Spain | 2020 | 30 min | cert. PG | In English and Spanish with English subtitles
Jean Cocteau wrote The Human Voice in 1928 and, since then, many artists have staged or filmed their own vision of this woman’s dramatic moments after her lover of the last few years leaves her to get married with to another woman. Almodóvar’s stunning version brings to The Human Voice his sense of aesthetics, of rhythm and his peculiar, subtle sense of humour, making the pièce his own. Chameleonic Swinton, in what seems a wonderful and perfect tuning with Almodóvar, captures the essence of his style bringing to it some
delightful British exquisiteness. A must.
The film will be followed by a 40 min video-Q&A with Pedro Almodóvar and Tilda Swinton with Mark Kermode. It will be preceded by a video-presentation by Prof. Maria Delgado
Sat 29 May | 4.15pm | £13, conc. £11

LA INNOCÈNCIA
La inocencia | The Innocence
dir. Lucia Alemany | with Carmen Arrufat, Laia Marull, Sergi López, Joel Bosqued | Spain | 2019 | 92 min | cert. 15 | London premiere | In Catalan and Spanish with English subtitles
Lis is a teenager whose dream is to become a circus artist and go traveling. While she knows she’ll have to confront her parents and fight for it, she spends the summer playing around with her friends and with her boyfriend, a few years older than herself and the relationship with whom she tries to keep hidden from the constant gossip of the neighbours. Lucia Alemany’s impressive first feature film is a fresh coming-of-age story that captures perfectly the rural and festive mood without losing any realism nor honesty.
Sat 29 May | 8.45pm | £13, conc. £11

MY MEXICAN BRETZEL
by Nuria Giménez | Spain | 2019 | 73 min | cert. PG | London premiere | In English
Giménez’s debut film offers, through archive footage of home made movies, a glimpse into the life of a wealthy European couple, Léon and Vivian Barrett, after WW2 and up to the 1960s. The quality of the footage is superb and is accompanied by text from Vivian’s diary offering details of their lives, her thoughts, gossip… Mesmerising and compelling, this is a clever work of direction and of editing by Giménez, and has won her, among others, the Found Footage Award at the Internation Film Festival of Rotterdam last year.
Sun 30 May | 6.10pm | £13, conc. £11

LA VIDA ERA ESO
That Was Life
dir. David Martín de los Santos, with Petra Martínez, Anna Castillo, Florin Piersic Jr., Ramón Barea | Spain/Belgium | 2020 | 109 min | cert. PG | UK premiere | In Spanish and French with English subtitles
When María and Verónica end up meeting and sharing a hospital room in Belgium, the only thing they have in common is that they are Spaniards who came to work to this country with the hope to find more opportunities than back at home. Slowly a bond grows between them and one of them will start a
journey to Almería, where the roots of the other are, initially to meet her family, finally to discover principles beyond those on which she had based her whole life. The film is poignant in his humble and intimate approach. The subtly nuanced acting of Petra Martínez in the lead role as a woman pushing herself
out of the boundaries of the role in which she felt confined, adds emotion to this wonderful film.
Sun 30 May | 7.55pm | £13, conc. £11

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