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Abracadabra - Film Review (Spanish Film Festival 2018)

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Be hypnotised as comedy goes noir

Abracadabra, directed by Pablo Berger (Spanish Academy Award-winning (Spanish Snow White) Blancanieves) was nominated for Best Lead Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyles, at the Spanish Academy Awards (Goya) 2018.

Starring Maribel Verdu, Antonio de la Torre, Jose Mota, Priscilla Delgado, Quim Gutierrez, Jose Maria Pou et al, this 96-minute comedy is rated R18. It's no surprise that it was nominated for so many categories, especially for its acting. It's definitely one to slot into your itinerary at the 21st Spanish Film Festival this year.

Carmen is married to her alpha-male husband, Carlos, and lives in Madrid with him and their daughter, Toni. Every day is a daily onslaught of soccer-obsessed Carlos' thoughtless ways. That's until the night of Carmen's nephew's wedding reception when amateur hypnotist and Carmen's cousin, Pepe, who is generally set upon by Carlos, decides to perform, Much to his wife's surprise, Carlos raises his hands to participate, in the hope of ousting Pepe as a hypnotist of course.

At first, it seems like nothing has happened, till Carmen wakes to breakfast in bed and a domesticated Carlos. Enjoyable at first with some of the passion and romance back in her life, Carmen can't help but wonder and wants answers from the hapless Pepe, who is clueless about what he might have invoked. In comes Pepe's unorthodox mentor Prof. Fumetti, to try and unfold the mystery that has gone dark.

Rated as a comedy, it'll surprise you to find out that Carlos has become possessed by the spirit of Tito, a waiter who murdered seven people at the wedding venue in 1983. Be prepared to be on a rollercoaster when magic turns mayhem and comedy becomes heavy with emotions and gets frighteningly real.

The main actors Maribel Verdu (whom also starred in Berger's Academy Award-winning Blancanieves), and Antonio de la Torre (The Fury of a Patient Man SFF17) are faultless in the execution of their performances. They will play havoc with your emotions and take you on a ride with never a dull moment. Dirty realism sets in before spinning out into thrillers, gore and the occult, compelling you to be hypnotised. Enjoy the terror and ludicrousness of this film that monkeys around at times, but ultimately has a plot that hangs better than expected.

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Images Arcadia Motion Pictures

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Why? Film Review of Abracadabra @ 2018 Spanish Film Festival
When: 2018 - Sydney 17 April - 6 May // Canberra 18 April - 6 May // Melbourne 19 April - 6 May // Adelaide 26 April - 13 May // Brisbane 26 April - 13 May // Perth 26 April - 16 May // Hobart 3 May - 9 May
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