Thursday, 10 January 2013

Ten Spanish Films Due to Arrive in 2013

   Truth be told, I can't say for certain that all of these ten films will be released in Spain in 2013 - at least two of them have yet to go into production, and the Spanish film industry is currently more than a little precarious due to Spain's uncertain economic state.
    In the December issue of Academia, the official magazine of the Spanish Film Academy [Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España], they highlighted the impact of the Spanish government's decision to disband the existing funding structures without putting anything in their place: of the 51 films that had been announced in January 2012, only 26 had actually been made by the end of the year. Another decision by the government will also be making an impact: in September the tax on 'entertainment' (which includes cinema tickets) jumped from 8% to 21% overnight (an increase that cinemas are unable to absorb, and so ticket prices are going up). The film industry (and theatre, museum, and arts bodies generally) has been arguing that 'culture' should be protected and is petitioning for the tax to go down to 10%, but in the last quarter of 2012 admissions were already reported to be down on the same period from last year - the year end box office statistics will be even more contentious than usual (early reports suggest that Spanish cinema has managed to increase its market share, but that admissions are down overall).
   So these are worrying times for Spanish cinema, but the films / projects listed below point to a rich variety of work still being made - and on a more positive note, the January 2013 issue of Academia lists a fresh slate of films going into production in 2013. As with the previous post, if a film does not yet have an official English language title, I've put a translation of the Spanish title in square brackets.

Ayer no termina nunca / [Yesterday Never Ends] (dir. Isabel Coixet)
Cast: Javier Cámara, Candela Peña.
Coixet is being deliberately secretive about the plot (Peña has said that it's the first time she has had to sign a confidentiality agreement for a film), so all I really know is that it is set in 2017 and revolves around a breakdown in the relationship between the characters played by Cámara and Peña. [no images as yet].

Caníbal / [Cannibal] (dir. Manuel Martín Cuenca)
Cast: Antonio de la Torre.
Tagline: Love is insatiable. De la Torre plays Carlos, a tailor of good standing in Granada, whose only passions are working and eating - but he's not exactly conventional: he's a cannibal. One day he encounters the twin sister of a woman he has already devoured... The project has been described as a meeting of Hitchcock and Buñuel, which is an ambitious claim but La mitad de Óscar (Manuel Martín Cuenca, 2011) was in my 2011 top 5 (it also featured De la Torre, but only in a small role) so I'm prepared to be impressed. 

Guernica, 33 días / Guernica, 33 Days (dir. Carlos Saura)
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bárbara Goenaga
The story of Picasso's (Banderas) iconic painting, Guernica, and his love affair with photographer Dora Maar (Paltrow). This was one of the films that Academia says was delayed due to the financial problems of the film industry but it does now look set to go into production this year and will reunite Saura with producer Elías Querejeta (who produced his films in the 1960s and 1970s). 

La gran familia española / My Family and Other Hooligans (dir. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo)
Cast: Quim Gutiérrez, Antonio de la Torre, Miquel Fernández, Roberto Álamo, Patrick Criado, Verónica Echegui, Alicia Rubio.
Comedy. A family of five brothers come together for the wedding of the youngest, which unfortunately happens to coincide with Spain reaching the World Cup final. Sánchez Arévalo's often have family relationships at their core -expect tears and a lot of laughter- and here most of his de-facto repertory company / film family are reunited again (minus Raúl Arévalo, who was working with Almodóvar). The film has a Youtube channel, so a trailer will probably appear there soon. Due for release in Spain in September.

Las brujas de Zugarramurdi / Witching and Bitching (dir. Álex de la Iglesia)
Cast: Carmen Maura, Carolina Bang, Terele Pavez, Mario Casas, Hugo Silva.
Comedy. Two thieves (Casas and Silva) stage a robbery and make a run for France with two policemen (Pepón Nieto and Secun de la Rosa) in hot pursuit. Before they reach the border they cut through a forest in Zugarramurdi and find themselves placed under a curse by local witches (Maura, Bang, and Pavez).... Álex de la Iglesia has been tweeting photos from the set (@alexdelaiglesia) and it looks like we're back to another gallery of grotesques after the relative normality of La chispa de la vida.

Los amantes pasajeros / I'm So Excited! (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)
Cast: Javier Cámara, Raúl Arévalo, Carlos Areces, Cecilia Roth, Jose María Yazpik, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Lola Dueñas, Guillermo Toledo and cameos by Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and Paz Vega.
Comedy. Passengers and crew face a life-threatening situation on a flight to Mexico City. Candid confessions and musical interludes (the teaser trailer sees Cámara, Arévalo and Areces dancing in formation to the Pointer Sisters) help them keep fear of death at bay. A return to the kind of comedy Almodóvar was known for in the 1980s, the film is released in Spain in March and should be out in the UK in May. 

Los últimos días / [The Last Days] (dir. Álex & David Pastor)
Cast: Quim Gutiérrez, Jose Coronado, Marta Etura. 
Thriller. The film takes place six weeks after 'The Panic' wherein humans suddenly became agoraphobic and are now unable to go in the open air. As nature reclaims the city, Marc (Gutiérrez) attempts to travel across Barcelona to find his girlfriend (Etura). The trailer looks good.  

Murieron por encima de sus posibilidades /  [They Died Beyond Their Means] (dir. Isaki Lacuesta)
Cast: Albert Plà, Jordi Vilches, Iván Telefunken, Raúl Arévalo, Emma Suárez, Sergi López [imdb also lists Eduard Fernández, Ariadna Gil and Jose Coronado although I haven't seen them mentioned in Spanish reports].
According the writer-director, this will be a black comedy in the style of The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick, 1955). Five people damaged by the economic crisis meet by chance in a psychiatrist's waiting room and decide to form a plan to save Spain from financial ruin: to kidnap the director of the Central Bank (Josep Maria Pou). The film uses a flashback structure to show the backstory of each of the five protagonists. The cast list is intriguing and the financial crisis could do with some humour. [no images as yet].

Presentimientos / Premonitions (dir. Santiago Tabernero)
Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Marta Etura, Alfonso Bassave, Irene Escolar.
Thriller. Co-written by Noriega, this sees he and Etura as married couple Félix and Julia, on holiday to patch up their differences. On the night of their arrival they realise that they've forgotten their baby's food - Julia heads out to buy some but on her return becomes involved in an accident and then cannot find the apartment they are renting...Meanwhile Félix receives a phone call telling him that his wife is in a coma. Noriega is always on top form in thrillers and I'm interested to see what kind of writer he is. [no images as yet].

Tesis sobre un homicidio / [Thesis on a Homicide] (dir. Hernán Goldfrid) 
Cast: Ricardo Darín, Alberto Ammann.
Thriller. Argentina-Spain co-production. A law professor (Darín) comes to suspect that one of his best students (Ammann) has committed murder, and got away with it. But as he starts to conduct his own investigation, the case becomes ever more personal and he finds himself heading into a dark place...  It has Ricardo Darín, and thrillers are my favourite genre - so count me in. Trailer