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November 19, 2006

Spanish Cinema Now Program at WRT


I'm very excited to see the press release for this year's Spanish Cinema Now, which features a tantalizing and nicely balanced slate of debut films from several first-time filmmakers along with what is perhaps the first U.S. retrospective of Edgar Neville's work entitled City Streets and Secret Passages: The Films of Edgar Neville. The series runs from December 8-26, and seems ideally suited for a random stab at a pre-Christmas quick trip home for what promises to be a weekend of unexpected, accidental discoveries:

DarkBlueAlmostBlack (Daniel Sánchez Arévalo; 2006)
Crossing the Border (Carlos Iglesias; 2006; 105m)
Celia's Lives (Antonio Chavarrías; 2006)
Alatriste (Agustín Díaz Yanes; 2006)
Welcome Home (David Trueba; 2006)
The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks (Edgar Neville; 1944)
Life Hanging By a Thread (Edgar Neville; 1945)
The Night of the Sunflowers (Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo; 2006)
Lady Nitwit (Manuel Iborra; 2006)
Quixotic (Albert Serra; 2006)
The Education of Fairies (José Luis Cuerda; 2006)

- Avatar (Lluís Quílez; 2005)
- The Fence (Ricardo Iscar, Nacho Martín; 2005)
- Maximum Penalty (Juanjo Giménez Spain, 2005)
- Hiyab (Xavi Sala; 2005)
- K (Juan Simons; 2005)
- Summer or the Flaws of Andrés (Jorge Torregrossa; 2006)
- Ponys (David Planell; 2005)

Carnival Sunday (Edgar Neville; 1945)
Round Two (Daniel Cebrián; 2005)
The Crime on Bordadores Street (Edgar Neville; 1946)
7 Virgins (Alberto Rodriguez; 2004)
Salvador (Puig Antich) (Manuel Huerga; 2006)
Out of Here (Víctor García León; 2006)
Lola (Javier Rebollo; 2006)
The Magicians (Esteban Riambau & Elisabet Cabeza; 2005)
Verbena (Edgar Neville; 1941) preceded by Flamenco (Edgar Neville; 1952)
The Last Horse (Edgar Neville; 1950)

Posted by acquarello on Nov 19, 2006 | | Filed under 2006, Quick Notes


Quixotic / Honor de Cavalleria (Albert Serra; 2006) played in Cannes at the Director's Fortnight, the only one I saw on the list. A very ascetic contemplative film! Overstretched plan-sequences with only 2 actors and a horse walking across a barren landscape. It's beautiful, but you need to be up for the 110' challenge. Not my favorite of "slow films", but I think Cahiers loved it.
I just saw Hamaca Paraguaya, which had more tangible substance according to me.
I'd like to know what you think of it if you get to see it.

Posted by: HarryTuttle on Nov 19, 2006 11:45 AM | Permalink

Thanks, Harry. I'm stumped over which weekend to go. On one weekend I can catch (the Hunchbacks film is apparently Neville's best film):

Saturday, 10/9

2:00 Alatriste
4:50 Crossing the Border
7:00 Celia's Lives
9:15 Welcome Home

Sunday, 10/10
2:00 Welcome Home
4:30 The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks
6:20 DarkBlueAlmostBlack

The other would be a more aggressive schedule and include Quixotic:

Saturday, 10/16
2:00 Lady Nitwit
4:00 Carnival Sunday
5:45 The Education of Fairies
8:00 The Night of the Sunflowers

Sunday, 10/17
4:00 Life Hanging By a Thread
6:00 Quixotic
8:15 Round Two

I may have to toss a coin to decide. :)

Posted by: acquarello on Nov 19, 2006 3:39 PM | Permalink

I doubt it's the best way to enjoy Quixotic at the end of such a long weekend...
I don't know any other of the directors. Neville worked under Franco then? (that's just about during the story of Pan's Labyrinth)
By the way, did you see El Perro Negro (released here this week)? It's also about Franco's Spain.

The pic up there looks cool, which film is it from?

Posted by: HarryTuttle on Nov 19, 2006 4:37 PM | Permalink

Doesn't it though? It looks almost Chagall-ish. :) The pic is from Neville's Carnival Sunday. Hmm... I just noticed that Greencine also had an entry today about Serra's film doing well at Torino, so it sounds as though that second weekend is the winner. :)

El Perro Negro sounds interesting, but I haven't had the opportunity to see it yet. Oddly, FSLC actually split off the Catalan cinema series from the Spanish cinema programming this year, so hopefully there's an opportunity sometime early next year.

Incidentally, here's Richard Peña's comment of Neville. It sounds as though he did work within the system, which is part of the reason why his reputation has suffered somewhat.

"He was an extremely talented, highly cultured man who worked in a very commercial, rigidly controlled film industry and yet was able, remarkably, to make a number of fine and deeply personal films. He is the first Spanish filmmaker whose work manifests a consistent world-view and highly developed cinematic style. The rediscovery of Neville by Spanish critics in the past few years has led to a reevaluation of the cinema of the early Franco period."

Posted by: acquarello on Nov 19, 2006 5:29 PM | Permalink

Oh, for crying out loud! FSLC has been playing musical chairs with the Dec. 16 weekend schedule. Not only is Quixotic no longer playing on the the 17th at 6:00 (replaced by Salvador), but now the Irene Jacob film, The Education of Fairies, which was supposed to screen on 5:45 on the 16th has now been replaced by Vicente Aranda's The Maidens' Conspiracy.

I guess I'll have to now take that Friday off instead to see Quixotic and skip out on the Sunday screenings to go home. >:(

Posted by: acquarello on Nov 28, 2006 2:35 PM | Permalink

I thought you might be interested in my new book "Popular Spanish Film Under Franco". It contains two chapters on Neville.


Posted by: Steven Marsh on Dec 05, 2006 4:19 PM | Permalink

Ah, thanks for the heads up! I was introduced to Luis García Berlanga's films a few years back at an earlier Spanish Cinema Now program, and I see that your book covers some of his flms as well. It sounds right up my alley. (I'm a big fan of Fernando Fernán Gómez as an actor as well, I didn't realize that he also directed films.)

Posted by: acquarello on Dec 05, 2006 9:29 PM | Permalink

Yes, Fernando Fernán Gómez has directed a whole bunch of films beginning around the mid-1950s(though now he is wheelchair bound and not really up to directing at all). Among those he has directed are a couple of amazing films from the early 1960s and, above all else, El extraño viaje (a rare gem of a film). He made his acting debut in 1943.

Posted by: steven marsh on Dec 05, 2006 11:16 PM | Permalink

Ah, that explains why he was in a wheelchair in All About My Mother (although it also fits in with his role as having deteriorating health).

Oh well, I was able to find some of Fernán Gómez's films at DVD Go, but not so much early stuff (and no subs on the earlier films). I guess now's a good time to bone up on Castillian Spanish. :)

Posted by: acquarello on Dec 06, 2006 2:03 PM | Permalink

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