Salma Hayek, Ricardo Darin and Luis Tosar are just some of the stars of the Spanish-speaking world set to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Spanish Film Festival on the big screen at Palace Cinemas nationally July 5 - 26.
The festival covers a wide variety of genre and films from further abroad than Spain. I have picked a few of my most anticipated below and as you can see the Spanish new wave continues to impress with tales of crime, thriller and dark comedy elements.
The festival presents 22 acclaimed feature films across a wide range of genres, with a multitude of Australian Premieres.
Confirmed is Spain's biggest domestic box office opener of all time, TORRENTE 4, and the biggest Goya Award (Spanish Oscar) winner of 2012, NO REST FOR THE WICKED, which beat Almodovar's The Skin I Live In to take out awards in 6 major categories.
Festival Director Natalia Ortiz created the festival 15 years ago and is delighted to have watched it become the leading Spanish Film Festival in the Asia Pacific
Salma Hayek shines in the OPENING NIGHT film - AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT (La chispa de la vida, Spain 2011) a visually stunning contemporary satire - from the 2012 Berlinale and named the jewel of the Tribeca Film Festival by Indiewire - about an out-of-work renowned advertising executive who suffers an accident and plans to sell the exclusive interview rights to the highest bidder in an attempt to provide for his family.
Shortlisted for 2012 Oscar nomination, is the animation for adults WRINKLES (Arrugas, Spain 2011) follows in the footsteps of last year's beloved Oscar nominated animation CHICO AND RITA as a festival highlight. This is a charming story of two old men in a nursing home.
Direct from the San Sebastian Film Festival and the World Competition at Sundance 2012 is the engrossing drama MADRID, 1987 (Spain 2011), a compelling and highly cinematic two-hander, it stars the veteran Spanish actor José Sacristán as a respected reporter and the beautiful, young María Valverde as a journalism student who spend the day locked in a bathroom together after a seduction attempt backfires.
CLOSING NIGHT will treat Australia to the insomnia-provoking psychological thriller SLEEP TIGHT (Mientras duermes, Spain 2011) starring a pitch-perfect Luis Tosar (Cell 211, 18 Meals, Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control) as an apartment block concierge in Barcelona who turns on the inhabitants after dark, from Jaume Balaguero, director of the ground-breaking REC.
Further reinforcing Spain's position at the forefront of the thriller genre is NO REST FOR THE WICKED (No habra paz para los malvados, Spain 2011), - a box office hit in Spain and a thriller involving a corrupt cop, the Colombian Mafia and North African terrorists,
Next up is Crime thriller UNIT 7 (Grupo 7, Spain 2012), directed by Alberto Rodriguez (7 Virgins), starring Antonio de la Torre (Cousinhood, Volver), about 4 policemen handed the tough assignment to eradicate drug trafficking from Seville ahead of the 1992 World Expo.
In thriller DARK IMPULSE (Lo major de Eva, Spain 2011), Leonor Watling (Talk to Her) stars as a strong principled woman, who gives in to her sexual impulses, with devastating results.
TORRENTE 4 (Spain 2011) was Spain's biggest domestic film opening of all time. Directed by and starring Santiago Segura (also in Opening Night film As Luck Would Have It and Le Chef), is the fourth story in this phenomenally successful series about a disgraced former cop-turned-private-investigator, full of its trademark gross-out humour and political incorrectness.
For grown up lovers of swashbuckling adventure is the epic CAPTAIN THUNDER AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Capitan Trueno y el Santo Grial, Spain 2011), a story adapted from the most popular Spanish comics of all time, Captain Thunder, a 12th century knight who travels the world fighting injustice.
Sydney 4 - 15 July Palace Norton Street & The Chauvel
Melbourne 5 - 15 July Palace Cinema Como & Kino Cinemas
Brisbane 11 - 22 July Palace Centro
Adelaide 12 - 22 July Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
Perth 19 - 26 July Cinema Paradiso
Full festival information available from www.spanishfilmfestival.com very soon.
2012 FULL PROGRAMME
CAPTAIN THUNDER AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Capitan Trueno y el Santo Grial, Spain 2011)
CHINESE TAKE AWAY (Un cuento chino, Argentina/Spain 2011)
COUSINHOOD (Primos, Spain 2010)
DARK IMPULSE (Lo major de Eva, Spain 2011)
EXPIRATION DATE (Fecha de Caducidad, Mexico 2011)
FISHERMAN (Pescador, Ecuador/Colombia 2011)
MADRID, 1987 (Spain, 2011)
MY FIRST WEDDING (Mi Primera Boda, Argentina 2011)
NO REST FOR THE WICKED (No habra paz para los malvados, Spain 2011)
SAVING PRIVATE PEREZ (Salvando al Soldado Perez, Mexico 2011)
SIX POINTS ABOUT EMMA (Seis puntos sobre Emma, Spain 2012)
SLEEP TIGHT (Mientras duermes, Spain 2011)
SNOWFLAKE, THE WHITE GORILLA (Copito de Nieve, Spain 2011)
STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT (Extraños en la noche, Argentina 2012)
THE BAD INTENTIONS (Las malas intenciones, Perú/Arg./Ger. 2011)
THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE (Lo contrario al amor, Spain 2011)
UNIT 7 (Grupo 7, Spain 2012)
WIDOWS (Viudas, Argentina, 2011)
WINNING STREAK (The Pelayos, Spain 2012)
WRINKLES (Arrugas, Spain 2011)
TORRENTE 4 (Spain 2011)