Spanish Cinema Now

Chaotic Ana, 2007

Julio Medem’s Chaotic Ana is an unclassifiable concoction, at once deeply personal and untenably ambitious, alternating between creating a strong statement and indulging in fanciful whimsy. Presented in eleven chapters that count down towards zero in the referential pattern of hypnotic regression, the bohemian artist, Ana (Manuela Vellés), not surprisingly, is first shown in a… read more »

Basque Ball, 2004

A melancholic opening ballad tells the tale of a man who had feared that his beloved pet bird would one day fly away that he once thought of clipping its wings, only to come to the realization that such an act would defy the nature of what he cherished most about the creature…that the bird… read more »

Carnival Sunday, 1945

Part Alfred Hitchcock styled mysterious intrigue and part 1930s inspired romantic comedy, Edgar Neville’s Carnival Sunday is a taut, irresistibly refined, and well crafted whodunit thriller. Set in the surreal atmosphere of the advent of Carnival Sunday, the beginning of the three day celebration that culminates with the Mardi Gras festivities (and ushers the beginning… read more »

Barcelona (A Map), 2007

Based on playwright Lluïsa Cunillé’s Barcelona, Map of Shadows, Ventura Pons’s richly textured nocturne, Barcelona (A Map) is an intimate and atmospheric rumination on urban architectures and shared spaces as integral projections of anonymous, emotional landscapes. Ostensibly capturing an evening in the life of an elderly couple, Rosa (Núria Espert) and her dying husband, a… read more »

Solitary Fragments, 2007

By the time the final, pillow shot of Solitary Fragments unfolds – a congested panorama of dour, monolithic structures, interchangeable, tiled rooftops, and mobile cranes hovering over the cityscape in a perpetual state of construction and demolition – I was convinced that the film would conclude with some sort of postscript dedication to Edward Yang…. read more »

The Seventh Day, 2004

On an isolated pueblo in the heart of the Spanish countryside, the seemingly familiar story of fickle young love unravels to incomprehensible tragedy when the spurned lover, Luciana Fuentes, expresses a vengeful wish on her seducer in the presence of her fragmented, devoted brother Jerónimo who, in turn, executes his sister’s wish, resulting in the… read more »

Honor de Cavallería, 2006

Albert Serra’s understated first feature, Honor de Cavallería loosely channels the melancholic wanderlust of such contemporary, dedramatized road films as Marc Recha’s Days of August and Lisandro Alonso’s Los Muertos to create an organic, rigorous, and often frustrating, but indelible and penetrating chronicle of the interiority and profound alienation of picaresque adventure. A de-romanticization of… read more »

The Sixth Sense, 1929

On the surface, Filmoteca Española’s classification of Nemesio M. Sobrevila and Eusebio Fernández Ardavĺn’s romantic comedy The Sixth Sense as an avant-garde film seems like a tenuous designation, loosely supported by an episode in which abstract forms and flicker images momentarily appear in the cueing of a film reel. But The Sixth Sense also functions… read more »

Pudor, 2007

Based on the novel by Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo, David Ulloa and Tristán Ulloa’s Pudor, is prefaced with a tongue-in-cheek anecdote on the etymology of the eponymous title. Derived from the Latin word pudoris for honesty, modesty and reserve, a slight variation in spelling to putoris alters its definition to a stench. The idea that… read more »

Torero, 1956

Refining the theme of documented reality and reconstructed history introduced in his earlier film, Moroccan Romance, Carlos Velo’s reflective and ecstatic Torero is equally an autobiography on charismatic Mexican bullfighter, Luis Procuna, and an unvarnished examination of bullfighting culture. Presented as an extended interior monologue as an anxious Procuna prepares to return to the ring… read more »

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