The 14th annual Spanish Cinema Now film series, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Instituto Cervantes, is currently running through Wednesday, December 28, spotlighting the latest offernings from Spain. Screenings are taking place at the Walter Reade Theater.
Although there is no set theme for each year's series, several of this year's films concern similar subjects relating to survival and change. Marta Arribas and Ana Perez's "El Tren de la Memoria" ("Train of Memory") documents emigration in the 1960s of poor, unskilled and unemployed Spaniards to other West European countries. Likewise, two other movies portray the lives of Spaniards abroad: "Habana Blues," by Benito Zambrano, is about two Cuban musicians in search of success elsewhere, and "La Vida Perra de Juanita Narboni" ("The Wretched Life of Juanita Narboni"), by Farida Benlyazid, is about a part-Spanish woman who witnesses the rapid political transformation of Tangiers.
Some other highlights of the series include Montxo Armendariz's "Obaba," Spain's candidate for the 2006 Oscar for best foreign language film chronicles a university student studying how a remote Basque town has evolved, while "Ausentes," directed by Daniel Calparsoro, follows the story of a family that moves to a new luxury suburban development seemingly devoid of other residents. Miguel Courtois's "El Lobo" ("Wolf"),meanwhile, is a thriller based upon the true story of a secret agent with the code name 'El Lobo' who infiltrated the Basque separatist group ETA.
The series is also celebrating the 400th anniversary this year of the publication of Miguel de Cervantes' novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha," about an idealistic man who refashions himself as a knight. Film adaptations by Grigori Kozintsev, Rafael Gil, G.W. Pabst, Manuel Gutierrez Aragon and Maurice Elvey have been included in a special program titled "Jousting with Shadows and Light." Orson Welles' incomplete version of the novel, assembled by Spanish filmmaker Jess Franco, will also screen.
For more information about screenings, visit the Film Society's Web site.