Presented by Palace, the 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival has announced its national program featuring 32 films from Spain and Latin America, including special presentations and events, innovative documentaries, and a spotlight on female directors.
Screening nationally at Palace Cinemas from 16 April, the 22nd edition of the festival features two key programme strands: New Spanish Cinema and Cine Latino.
Opening with Javier Fesser’s critically acclaimed Goya Award-winning box office smash hit CHAMPIONS (Campeones), the festival will close with a digital restoration of the firecracker comedy WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), directed by leading Spanish auteur, Pedro Almodóvar, to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary. Screening as Special Presentation, THE REALM (El reino) features acting heavyweight Antonio de la Torre who is reunited with director Rodrigo Sorogoyen (May God Save Us, SFF17), for an award-winning political thriller.
Bringing the best of Spanish cinema to the festival is the New Spanish Cinema programme including Koldo Serra’s third feature 70 BIG ONES (70 Binladens), featuring barrel loads of intrigue, suspense and action with a perfect peppering of black humour; A MARCH TO REMEMBER (Vitoria, 3 de Marzo), a recreation of real-life events from 3 March 1976 when a general strike was called in the Spanish city of Vitoria and five workers were murdered by the central government; and BETWEEN TWO WATERS (Entre dos aguas), Isaki Lacuesta’s Gaudi Award-winning film featuring performances by real-life siblings Israel Gómez Romero and Francisco José Gómez Romero.
The New Spanish Cinema program also includes the debut features LOVE BEATS (La banda), Roberto Buseo’s rollercoaster tale of heartbreak and joy starring newcomer Gonzálo Fernández and Spanish-British actor/model Charlotte Vega; and THE UNCOVERING (El desentierro), featuring Goya Award-winning actors Leonardo Sbaraglia and Jan Cornet starring alongside Michel Noher in a film directed by Nacho Ruipérez.
Other highlights of the contemporary Spanish Cinema programme are Fernando Bernués’ THE ACCORDIONIST’S SON (El hijo del acordeonista), based on the novel by Bernardo Atxaga about two men forced to face their past during the Basque separatist movement of the 1960s; and THE FOOTBALLEST (Los Futbolísimos), a romping adventure based on the popular top-selling Spanish adventure novels of the same name, directed by Miguel Ángel Lamata, suitable for the whole family.
Two documentaries will screen at the Moro Spanish Film Festival: PERET: THE KING OF THE GYPSY RUMBA (Peret, yo soy la rumba), Paloma Zapata’s portrait of Pere Pubill Calaf, whose flamenco career spanned six decades; and VIRGIN AND EXTRA: JAEN, THE LAND OF THE OLIVE OIL (Jaén, virgen y extra), a film revelling in the hidden beauty of one of Spain’s lesser-known provinces with a delectable tale about olive oil from Goya-Award-winning director José Luis López-Linares.
Highlights from the Cine Latino program, featuring the best new films from Mexico, Central and South America, include:
- COMMON BLOOD (La misma sangre) – Miguel Cohan’s wicked Argentinian thriller, featuring powerhouse performances by Latin American titans Óscar Martínez (Distinguished Citizen, 2016) and Paulina García (Gloria, 2013).
- LOOKING FOR A BOYFRIEND… FOR MY WIFE (Se busca novio… para mi mujer) – in this entertaining and heartfelt new comedy, which reunites the director and cast of the Chilean version of the hit sitcom Married with Children, a man in a matrimonial crisis cooks up a foolish scheme to trick his wife into wanting to separate. MY MASTERPIECE (Mi obra maestra) – director Gastón Duprat (The Distinguished Citizen) delivers a crowd-pleasing comedy-thriller following the complex relationship between a cranky painter and a crafty gallery owner in Buenos Aires.
- ROJO – critically lauded from San Sebastián to the Toronto Film Festival, this superbly sinister and stylish thriller from Benjamin Naishtat lays bare the complacency and corruption of pre-coup Argentina. Starring screen heavyweight Dario Grandinetti (Julieta; Wild Tales, SFF15).
- THE PROJECTIONIST (El proyeccionista) – directed by José María Cabral’s (Woodpeckers, Cine Latino FF17), this is the story of a projectionist named Eliseo who plunges into a search for the true identity of a woman he has loved for so many years but never actually met.
- THE QUIETUDE (La Quietud) – from Pablo Trapero, the director of the multi-award-winning The Clan (SFF15), comes a beautifully crafted multilayered drama exploring the emotional ties that bind a wealthy Argentine family. Starring Bérénice Bejo, Martina Gusmán, Edgar Ramírez, Joaquín Furriel and Garciela Borges.
- TREMORS (Tremblores) – following on from his 2015 Berlinale prize-winning Ixcanul, Guatemalan writer-director Jayro Bustamante presents his second feature about a married father of two – played by Juan Pablo Olyslager – who reveals that he is love with another man.
- SUPER CRAZY (Re loca) – Super Crazy boasts a lead performance bursting with energy and charisma from actress Natalia Oreiro as a woman who takes a remedy that makes her unable to stop speaking her mind. The film will be presented as a SPECIAL EVENT with cocktails and Latin American tunes before the screening.
As part of its Spotlight on Female Directors, the Moro Spanish Film Festival will also feature 11 films directed by women. From established directors such as Icíar Bollaín and Gracia Querejeta to fresh new voices including Lila Avilés, the spotlight presents a program of Spain and Latin America’s most exciting filmmakers. Films include:
- THE GOOD GIRLS (Las niñas bien) Director Alejandra Márquez Abella presents this gorgeously mounted and beautifully played feature that is at once a scathing and glamourous depiction of the wives of upper-class men in 1982 Mexico.
- ANA BY DAY (Ana de día) – directed by Andrea Jaurrieta and featuring Ingrid García Jonsson (Beautiful Youth, SFF15) as a cosmopolitan, educated young woman whose misgivings about her identity intensify when a doppelganger arrives to replace her.
- BREAK (Recreo) – a comedy/drama directed by Jazmín Stuart and Hernán Guerschuny about six old friends who reunite for a weekend away with their children only to have revelations of secrets, lies, unrequited desires, and accumulated frustrations arise.
- CARMEN & LOLA – Bilbao-born writer-director Arantxa Echevarría and her exceptional non-professional cast deliver an empathetic portrayal of forbidden love in a repressive society that is altogether inspiring, necessary and beautiful.
- CRIME WAVE (Ola de crímenes) – directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Gracia Querejeta who returns to the festival circuit with a romping comedy-thriller starring the crème de la crème of Spanish acting royalty: Maribel Verdú, Javier Cámara and Luis Tosar.
- FLORIANÓPOLIS DREAM (Sueño Florianópolis) – a gentle, thoughtful portrait of a middle-class family by Argentine writer/director Ana Katz, who invites her audience to drink in the idyllic coastal scenery of Brazil for a breezy and bittersweet film experience.
- HOPELESSLY DEVOUT (Mi querida cofradía) – the debut feature from Marta Díaz de Lope Díaz featuring eccentric characters offering fresh and funny perspective on female empowerment and patriarchy within the church. Starring Spanish television veteran Gloria Muñoz (The Unexpected Life, SFF14).
- THE CHAMBERMAID (La camarista) – attracting audience and critical acclaim at the Toronto and London Film Festivals, Lila Avilés’ striking and compelling debut feature is a vital exploration of the Mexican class divide featuring Gabriela Cartol in the role of a chambermaid.
- THE LONGEST NIGHT (La mala noche) – a bold feature debut about human trafficking and its impact on the impoverished women and children who often become the victims of this crime. The film is directed by Gabriela Calvache, who collaborated with a crew of 80% women.
- YULI – an extraordinary biopic of the legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta; the first black dancer to perform some of ballet’s most iconic roles. Directed by Icíar Bollaín, the film features a magnetic performance by Acosta himself.
- PERET: THE KING OF THE GYPSY RUMBA (Peret, yo soy la rumba) Hailed as the “King of Rumba” for his fusion of flamenco song with Latin American rhythms, this documentary spanning six decades captures the magic that was Peret.
Audiences can also catch two previously announced films as part of 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival: THE DAYS TO COME (Els dies que vindran), from Catalan Goya Award-winning director Carlos Marqués-Marcet; and PETRA, a complex melodrama from Cannes regular Jamie Rosales.
Moro Spanish Film Festival
Sydney 16 Apr – 8 May: Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona & Palace Central.
Canberra 17 Apr – 8 May: Palace Electric Cinema.
Melbourne 18 Apr – 8 May: The Astor Theatre, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Kino and Palace Balwyn.
Adelaide 23 Apr – 15 May: Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas & Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas.
Perth 24 Apr – 15 May: Palace Cinema Paradiso.
Brisbane 24 Apr – 15 May: Palace James St and Palace Barracks Cinemas
Hobart 2 May – 8 May: State Cinema.
Byron Bay 10 – 26 May: Palace Byron Bay