Monday, 2 January 2012

Ten Spanish Films from 2011 To See In 2012:

As I said in my 'Best of the Year'-type post before Christmas, I tend to see Spanish films the year after their initial release when they become available on DVD. Here is a selection of those that I've been reading about during the past year and hope to get my hands on in the coming months.

Blackthorn (Mateo Gil, 2011)
Cast: Sam Shepard, Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea, Magaly Solier.
This appeared in my 'Spanish films to see in 2011' post last February and is an updating of the Butch Cassidy myth (effectively Butch Cassidy: the later years). Mateo Gil's directorial debut gave this blog its name -I'm (still) eagerly waiting to see his second feature film.

Blog (Elena Trapé, 2011)
A cast of unknowns in a story (apparently based on actual events in the US) about a group of teenage girls who set out to all get pregnant at the same time. What Trapé has apparently managed to achieve is a faithful representation of the type of female friendships that during adolescence often seem a stronger bond than family ties. The unusual aspect (and the aspect that intrigues me) is that this tale of sexual awakening is represented through multiple female perspectives, and only female perspectives -there are many male coming-of-age films, but few female ones.  

Catalunya über alles! (Ramon Térmens, 2011)
This won the Special Jury Prize at the Málaga Spanish Film Festival in 2011 and I saw much praise of it on twitter at around the same time. It has three stories with overlapping characters that take place in the same village. Beyond that, I only know the scarcest of details......but I'm intrigued. 

Cinco metros cuadrados / Five Square Metres (Max Lemcke, 2011)
Cast: Fernando Tejero, Malena Alterio, Jorge Bosch.
Another winner from the 2011 Málaga Spanish Film Festival: Best Film, Best Actor (Tejero), Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Bosch), and the Critic's Award. Tejero and (to a lesser extent) Alterio are best known for comedic roles but this is a dramatic film set against the Spanish housing crisis. I like it when actors play against 'type', so that alone would be enough to interest me, but the film as a whole has also won a lot of praise. 

Crebinsky (Enrique Otero, 2011)
This seems to have only had a limited release outside of film festivals so far (yet again, it was in dispatches from Málaga last year that I first heard mention of it). Set in 1944, the brothers Crebinsky and their cow live on the Galician coast after being washed away from their village by a flood. Cut off from the world around them they are unaware of the military goings-on in the vicinity, and create their own magic-realist world. The trailer looks a bit like a cross between the work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Monty Python.

La voz dormida / The Sleeping Voice (Benito Zambrano, 2011)
Cast: María León, Inma Cuesta, Marc Clotet, Daniel Holguín.
Madrid, 1940. The story of female political prisoners in the post-(Civil)War period, focusing on the case of Hortensia (Cuesta), pregnant and condemned to death, and the efforts of her sister Pepita (León) to free her. It has been gathering award attention since it debuted at the San Sebastián Film Festival in September, where María León won Best Actress.

Mientras duermes / Sleep Tight (Jaume Balagueró, 2011)
Cast: Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, Alberto San Juan, Petra Martínez
Thriller. Tosar plays a malevolent caretaker of a block of flats who decides to take out his dissatisfactions on the inhabitants of the building. I've deliberately avoided reading too much about it, but the trailer looks brilliant. I think that there's a strong chance that it will get a UK release.

No controles (Borja Cobeaga, 2011)
Cast: Unax Ugalde, Alexandra Jiménez, Julián López, Secun de la Rosa, Miguel Ángel Muñoz.
Because Cobeaga's first film, Pagafantas (2009), an anthropological take on rejection, made me cry with laughter. 

No habrá paz para los malvados / No Rest for the Wicked (Enrique Urbizu, 2011)
Cast: José Coronado, Julio Perillán, Karim El-Kerem, Helena Miquel.
Thriller. This would have been on my list of 'films to see in 2011' in my post last February had I known that Urbizu had a new film on the way. Connoisseurs of the thriller genre take note: a Master is back at work. I'm really excited to see this tale of terrorism, drugs, and police corruption, especially as it reunites the director with José Coronado (apparently on barnstorming form) for the third time.

No tengas miedo (Montxo Armendáriz, 2011)
Cast: Michelle Jenner, Belén Rueda, Lluís Homar.
I missed watching this when it was available on Filmin for a limited period, in part because the subject matter (child abuse) put me off. However, the film continues to be mentioned as a strong awards contender, not least for Michelle Jenner's performance, so I will make sure to catch up with it soon.