The country that brought us Pedro Almodovar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz is responsible for a rich seam of cinema that often remains untapped. While Spain has a strong history of cinema, a lot of what makes festivals like this is the stuff that doesn’t lend itself to international export. Have you ever wanted to see a post-modern Spanish rom-com? Have you decried the lack of Andalusian detective noirs? No? It doesn’t mean you don’t need them in your life.
This year sees a strong line-up of multiple Goya Award-winning films—the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars—as well as lighter fare from across Spain and Latin America, and some genuinely special events. Highlights are numerous, but here are some early picks:
There’s the self-reflexive, post-modern romantic comedy Easy Sex, Sad Movies, concerning the love life of a rom-com screenwriter both on and off the page; car chases, guns and a lot of drug smuggling across the Strait of Gibraltar in reliably fraught action film El Nino; the grim and stylish Marshland, in which multiple murders are committed against the grimy rural backdrop of Andalusia; and the political intrigue of Lasa & Zabala, the true story of Basque separatists in a newly democratic Spain.
There’s also a theme of connecting Spain and Latin America with the rest of the world, with The Unexpected Life following struggling actors in New York, Blue Lips seeing six characters from across the world converging in Pamplona for the San Fermín festival, and I Am From Chile, which depicts a Chilean migrant worker in London.
This year’s festival is not without its heavy hitters. Opening with Spanish Affair, a comedy that last year became the biggest box-office hit in the country’s history, and closing with the Oscar-nominated Wild Tales, the program artfully mixes the mainstream with the seldom-seen.
The festival is also bringing something a little extra-curricular to the program, with cooking, tango and much more. The full lineup is due out imminently. Meanwhile, Broadsheet are offering the opportunity to win tickets to a screening of multi-Goya award winning Marshland.
The Spanish Film Festival runs from April 21 to May 10 at Palace Verona and Palace Norton Street. Tickets are on sale now at Palace Cinemas.