The Film Society of the Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater is once again hosting another edition of Spanish Cinema Now, one of its longest running series, from December 10 – 23. This year’s edition will feature a number of new Spanish films, including Alex de la Iglesia’s “The Last Circus,” and Spain’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar race, Iciar Bollain’s “Even The Rain,” starring Gael Garcia Bernal.
Spanish Cinema Now will also feature a program of films from director Agustí Villaronga. The tribute screenings will cover films that span from his 1986 debut feature, “In a Glass Cage,” up to his most recent film, this year’s “Black Bread.” The Filmoteca Española, Spain’s expansive cinematheque, has also facilitated a screening of the Franco-era film “On the Empty Balcony,” from exiled director Jomi Garcia Ascot.
The full slate of films and their descriptions are presented below, courtesy of the Film Society of Lincoln Center:
“Aita aka Father,” directed by José María Orbe, 2010, Spain; 85m
Set in the 13th-century country mansion where the director grew up, this ghost story about people and places haunted by history immerses us in a caretaker’s experience.
“Anything You Want,” directed by Achero Mañas, 2010, Spain; 101m
Juan Diego Botto and 4-year-old Lucia Fernandez give stunning performances in this tale of a suddenly single father who must become everything to his confused, hurt daughter.
“Caracremada,” directed by Lluis Galter, 2010, Spain; 98m
Anti-fascist anarchist Ramon Vila Capdevila still exerts a hold on a conflicted woman years later, in a fascinating, unsettling work about shifting ideas of political engagement.
“Chico y Rita,” directed by Javier Mariscal & Fernando Trueba, 2010, Spain; 94m
Academy Award-winner Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque) teams up with famous designer/ graphic artist Javier Mariscal to create this brilliant animated feature, a toe-tapping celebration of Cuban music.
“The Consul of Sodom,” directed by Sigfrid Monleón, 2010, Spain; 113m
The absorbing portrait of an extraordinary double life: Jaime Gil de Biedma, respected executive by day, an audacious homosexual poet of Barcelona’s La Gauche Divine scene by night.
“80 Days,” directed by Jon Garaño & José Mari Goenaga, 2010, Spain; 104m
In this warm, unexpectedly upbeat tale, Axun (Itziar Aizpuru) finds surprising new friendship after her son-in-law’s near-fatal car accident. Part of Basque filmmaking’s re-emergence.
“Elisa K.” directed by Jordi Cadena & Judith Colell, 2010, Spain; 72m
Cadena and Colell’s perceptive, sensitive portrait of 10-year-old Elisa’s coming to grips with a trauma avoids easy answers, focusing on the toll that radiates out to family, friends, and others.
“Even the Rain,” directed by Icíar Bollaín, 2010, Spain; 104m
Even the Rain (También la lluvia) sets up an intriguing dialogue about Spanish imperialism through incidents taking place some 500 years apart, while examining the personal belief systems of the members of a film crew headed by director Sebastian (Gael Garcia Bernal) and his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) who arrive in Bolivia to make a revisionist film about the conquest of Latin America.
“El Gran Vázquez,” directed by Oscar Aibar, 2010, Spain; 106m
In ’60s Barcelona, comic-book artist Manuel Vazquez (terrific Santiago Segura) leads a paid-for high-roller lifestyle-till one day an accountant shows up…
“Guest,” directed by José Luis Guerín, 2010, Spain; 130m
While touring film festivals, the acclaimed director of In the City of Sylvia insightfully upends the conventional travelogue by seeking out the unseen, unheard residents of cities worldwide.
“Julia’s Eyes,” directed by Guillem Morales, 2010, Spain; 112m
From the team behind The Orphanage comes this unnerving tale of a woman investigating her twin sister’s death, while her failing eyesight conjures a world of shadows.
“Kidnapped,” directed by Miguel Angel Vivas, 2010, Spain; 85m
A taut, high-octane, grittily realistic thriller about a family in a gated community who are ambushed by three masked men.
“Lope,” directed by Andrucha Washington, 2010, Spain/France; 109m
In this beautifully detailed re-creation of 16th-century Spain, returning soldier Lope de Vega (Spain’s greatest playwright) finds himself ghostwriting love poems for a wealthy merchant.
“Paper Birds,” directed by Emilio Aragón, 2010, Spain; 122m
A ragtag vaudeville troupe is summoned to perform for Generalissimo Franco himself, in this detailed ensemble piece (and box-office hit), directed by a mainstay of Spanish television.
“The Last Circus,” directed by Alex de la Iglesia, 2010, Spain/France; 107m
Set in a circus in 1937 Spain, Alex de la Iglesia’s audacious new film perceptively dismantles myths of the Civil War with his customary outrageous humor and startling visual wit.
Shortmetraje (Shorts Program) Various directors; approx. 96m
This selection of award-winning short films, specially curated by the cultural initiative Pragda, features animated gems, poignant documentaries, brilliant comedies, down-to-earth fictions, genre films, and coming-of-age tales.
“Stars to Wish Upon,” directed by Mikel Rueda, 2010, Spain; 93m
Widow of a Spanish Republican, Victoria is incarcerated along with her son and her sister in Saturrarán, Franco’s notorious women’s prison, in Rueda’s unflinching drama.
The Savage Eye: The Films of Agustí Villaronga
“In a Glass Cage,” directed by Agustí Villaronga, 1986, Spain; 110m
In Villaronga’s unnerving debut thriller, a paralyzed former Nazi doctor Klaus (Günter Meisner) hides away in Spain with his family, until one day a young man arrives for a job.
“Moon Child,” Agustí Villaronga, 1989, Spain ; 118m
This deft combination of kabbalah mysticism and apocalyptic sci-fi is about an orphan in a research lab for gifted children who tries to escape to Africa to fulfill his destiny.
“El Mar,” Agustí Villaronga, 2000, Spain; 107m
Three friends who stumbled across a firing squad during the Civil War are unexpectedly re-united years later, in this film of deep shadows and unsettling, violent currents.
“Aro Tolbukhin: The Mind of the Killer,” directed by Agustí Villaronga, Lydia Zimmerman, & Isaac P. Racine, 2006, Spain/France; 95m
The extraordinary story of a Hungarian seaman’s possibly invented murder spree in Guatemala is told through documentary footage and dramatic sequences in this journey into dark imaginings.
“Black Bread,” directed by Agustí Villaronga, 2010, Spain; 108m
Villaronga’s brilliant adaptation of Emil Teixidor’s novel plunges us into the life of a young boy negotiating a world of mythical monsters and fatally real Fascists.
From the Filmoteca Española
“On the Empty Balcony,” directed by Jomi Garcia Ascot, 1961, Mexico; 70m
This masterwork about a woman’s wartime memories has been called the “the most beautiful of all anti-Franco films” and the first Mexican experimental film. With noted literati in the cast.