14 December, 2010

Spanish Cinema Comes To New York

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

Returning for its 18th edition, the popular series Spanish Cinema Now is currently being presented at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, one of New York's film treasures. First presented in 1992, the series has followed the renaissance of Spanish filmmaking over the past two decades. Inspired by the international successes of such filmmakers as Pedro Almodovar, the Spanish industry is producing a record number of films which are finding favor on theatrical screens and at film festivals the world over. The series, which runs through December 23, is again presenting a wide ranging program of all film genres to illustrate the prolific nature of the country's film industry.

Looking back at historical events is a keynote of Spanish cinema and this year's The Last Circus by acclaimed cult director Alex de la Iglesia, is a disturbing and rather surrealistic historic/horror film that points to such seminal artworks as Picasso's Guernica for its inspiration. The range is quite extraordinary: 13th-century ghost stories (Aita), bouncy animated musicals (Chico & Rita), intense hostage thrillers (Kidnapped), an avant-garde Mexican classic (1962’s On the Empty Balcony), and multiple commemorations of the Spanish Civil War’s 70th anniversary (Caracremada, El Mar, Paper Birds, Stars To Wish Upon).

Among the highlights of this year's program are The Consul of Sodom, a riveting portrait of homosexual bohemian poet Jaime Gil de Biedma, with a terrific performance by Jordi Molla; Even The Rain, with Mexican hearthrob Gael Garcia Bernal starring as a film director desperate to make a big budget epic about Christopher Colombus; Julia's Eyes, an edgy psychological thriller from the team that created the international sensation The Orphanage; Lope, a 16th century biopic of Spain's most famous renaissance playwright Lope de Vegas; and Anything You Want, an emotional drama of family loss with outstanding performances by Juan Diego Botto as the father and Lucia Fernandez as his intuitive 4-year-old daughter.

This year Spanish Cinema Now also includes a tribute to Agustí Villaronga, one of Spanish cinema’s darkest filmmakers, as well as a rare opportunity to see a masterpiece of the “exiled” Spanish cinema, On the Empty Balcony, courtesy of the Filmoteca Española. For information on the entire series, visit:

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