The weekend is the perfect time to catch up on those films you’ve been meaning to get around to. You know, the one with the witch in the woods, the Tilda Swinton one, and all the Spanish ones on at the moment.
A Bigger Splash
The latest from Italian director Luca Guadagnino takes its name from David Hockney’s iconic painting, and borrows its colour palette, too. A Bigger Splash focuses on an awkward tangle of love and sex on the southern Italian island of Pantelleria. A rock star and her boyfriend (Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts) have their holiday rudely interrupted by a visit from an old lover (Ralph Fiennes) and his newly discovered daughter (Dakota Johnson), who do their best to destroy the lovers’ idyl.
But the film is so much more than that. It’s incredibly beautiful to look at. Tilda Swinton is completely captivating, even though she says hardly a word. Ralph Fiennes dances up a storm to the Rolling Stones’ Emotional Rescue. And as the tension in the group hits a fever pitch, it becomes at least as tense and real as it is saturated and colourful.
A Bigger Splash is showing at Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona.
In the bleak, wintery 17th-century American wilderness, a poor family struggles to establish a new home on the fringes of a forest. When the baby is kidnapped, things escalate. It seems odd to describe a claustrophobic, grimy film about a family being terrorised by superstition and isolation as “a breath of fresh air”, but that’s what I’m going to do.
After a decade of sequels and remakes more interested in cheap shocks than real fear, here’s a film that brings the horror back to horror. It takes the fairytale-like premise of a child-snatching witch in the woods, and fills it with steadily building dread. The Witch isn’t a popcorn flick. It burns slowly, takes itself seriously and aims to leave you with a lasting terror, rather than shock you out of your seat.
The Witch is showing at Dendy Newtown and Dendy Opera Quays.
Highlights of the Spanish Film Festival
The curator of this year's Spanish Film Festival shares his favourite films to see this weekend.
“Probably one of my favourite films at the festival, this has so much heart and it’s set on the island of Menorca, so you immediately feel like you’re on a beach holiday in Spain. It has a Woody Allen vibe to it: director Fernando Colomo stars in the film and it’s his 20th feature, so he definitely knows how to make a movie. The story’s based on personal experience – about this man having a mid-life crisis after a divorce. Cue romantic interludes on an idyllic island with those inevitable twists of the heart.”
Isla Bonita is showing at Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona.
“A documentary that tackles the history of the Barcelona football club – often regarded as the best in the world. It features Lionel Messi, Joan Gamper (the club’s founder) and gives an insight into the training facilities at La Masia. Great documentaries can be so inspiring, and this one has so many successful, driven characters – not just the players, but the managers too. It’s a very satisfying story about an incredible football club.”
Barca Dreams is showing at Palace Verona.
Spanish Affair 2
“The biggest box office earner in Spain last year, and the follow-up to the very successful 2014 original. This is a really playful romantic comedy with charismatic characters – the perfect opening-night film. It takes aim at the regional tensions between north and south of Spain with this mix of comedy and romance. Many jokes play on a new character of Pau – a wealthy hipster groom-to-be from the Catalan region. People have embraced the fact that it’s having a bit of fun while shedding light on what’s actually quite a serious topic in Spain.”
A Spanish Affair 2 is showing at Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona.