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The Opposite of Love
Hola, amigos! The Spanish Film Festival returns to Brisbane's Palace Centro Cinema from the 11th of July, screening more than twenty sexy, scary, funny, and romantic films from Spain. (And you could win a double pass -- keep reading to find out how.)
Now in its fifteenth year, the Spanish Film Festival is a great place to catch movies that you'd never see anywhere else, and this year's line-up is a cracker.
It begins with opening-night film As Luck Would Have It, starring the luminous Salma Hayek as Luisa, whose husband Roberto (Spanish comedian Jose Mota) is in great danger following a freak accident. Roberto, an out-of-work PR man, sees the potential to milk his situation for his family's financial gain.
From this premise unfolds a film that's equal parts action, comedy and high drama, with a good dose of social commentary thrown in. Now that I've seen the trailer (below), I know I've got to see the whole film to find out whether Roberto survives.
Another film that has me tempted is the gloriously titled Captain Thunder and the Holy Grail.
Based on a super-popular 1950s Spanish comic series, it's got beefcake, biblical relics, a Scandinavian princess, and lots of those mass scenes that you only get in true epics (think horses, soldiers, fiery torches -- you know the drill). Sort of like The Avengers, Crusades-style. Talk about bliss ...
If your taste runs more to romance, there's My First Wedding (Spanish rom-com about pre-wedding jitters), The Opposite of Love (a witty Madrid love story about two flamboyant sisters who get entangled with three studly firefighters) and Cousinhood (where three city cousins go back to village life and find themselves embroiled in local heartaches, with both moving and funny results).
If you like to be frightened, there's The Bad Intentions (strange little girl, pregnant mother), Dark Impulse (sexy legal thriller), and the closing night film, Sleep Tight (creepy concierge stalks female tenant in claustrophobic apartment block).
Snowflake, the White Gorilla (suitable for children)
And then, of course, there are the films that aren't so easy to categorise. Like Snowflake, the White Gorilla, an animation/live-action combo about a real-life albino gorilla that used to reside at Barcelona Zoo. Or Chinese Take-Away, a gentle Spanish / Argentinian co-production that I was lucky enough to see at the festival preview a few weeks ago.
Winner of an Argentinian Academy Award for Best Picture, Chinese Take-Away tells the story of a glum hardware store owner whose ordered life is disrupted when he takes in a young Chinese man whom he finds wandering the streets of Buenos Aires. This film constantly surprised and delighted me with its humanity and its unexpected twists -- a pleasant change from the usual formulaic Hollywood movie.
And really, this is the best reason of all to go to festivals like this -- to be jolted out of our everyday perceptions of what the world is like and what films are about. Not to mention the insights you get into another culture.
Tickets start at $13.50 for a session, and many films will show more than once over the festival's eleven-day run. Why not check out the festival website and see if there's a movie that appeals to you? Oh, and just to make it even more tempting, the opening and closing night parties also feature sangria and hot Latin grooves.
To go in the draw for a double pass to the Spanish Film Festival, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the words 'Spanish Film Festival Brisbane' in the subject line. Include your name and phone number in the body of the message.
Entries close midnight Monday 9 July. The pass is valid for any Brisbane session of the 15th Spanish Film Festival, excluding the opening and closing night parties.