Blackthorn (Mateo Gil, 2011)
Synopsis –effectively ‘Butch Cassidy: the later years’. Cast includes Sam Shepherd (as Cassidy), Eduardo Noriega (as an engineer who persuades Butch to go on one last job), and Magaly Solier.
Reasons to see: I’m unsure of the wisdom of revisiting such an iconic character, but this blog takes its name from Gil’s directorial debut and, some twelve years later, this is his second film.
Extraterrestre / Extraterrestrial (Nacho Vigalondo, 2011)
Synopsis – What do you do if there is an alien invasion the same day that you meet the girl of your dreams? Sci-fi comedy.
Reasons to see –Vigalondo seems to be a truly original new voice in cinema.
La piel que habito / The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)
Synopsis – There actually seems to be some confusion in the press about this long-gestating project, probably because the description of its relation to Thierry Jonquet’s Tarantula has moved from ‘based on’ to ‘inspired by’. Almodóvar describes it as a mixture of film noir, sci-fi, and horror. What most articles I’ve seen agree on is that it’s about a plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas)
who seeks revenge for the rape of his daughter. But apparently he also wants to create a ‘new skin’ thanks to advances in cell science. Update (10th Feb): the January 2011 issue of Screen International describes the plot as 'the story of an eminent plastic surgeon who becomes obsessed with creating new skin following the death of his wife who was burnt in a car crash, but who takes his experiments to frightening levels'. That perhaps makes more sense in relation to the image above. Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes also star.
Reasons to see: a new Almodóvar film is always a ‘must see’ for me, but this is also the first re-teaming of Almodóvar and Banderas since 1991 (Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down).
Primos / Cousins (Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, 2011)
Synopsis –a young man (Quim Gutiérrez) is dumped on his wedding day and his cousins help him deal with the aftermath. Comedy.
Reasons to see: I really like Sánchez Arévalo’s first two films (AzulOscuroCasiNegro / DarkBlueAlmostBlack and Gordos / Fat People) and this is a more of an out-and-out comedy than those two, but reunites several cast members from the earlier films (Gutiérrez, Raúl Arévalo, and Antonio de la Torre) and has been receiving excellent reviews in Spain.