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:: Spotlight :: La Mirada Film Festival at ACMI

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Juan Taratuto’s romantic comedy, A Boyfriend for My Wife, will open the 2009 La Mirada Film Festival, now in its third year. La Mirada Film Festival runs from April 2-12 at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

The Argentinean box office hit follows the story of Tenso who hires the local Don Juan to seduce his ill-tempered and intolerable wife in order to get out of telling her he wants a divorce. But when he starts to fall back in love with her, a comedy of errors ensues.

A Boyfriend for My Wife is the first film to screen as part of a new focus on Argentine cinema which dates back over a 100 years and is a significant contribution to the culture of Argentina. Highlights include Martin Carranza and Victoria Galardi’s Lovely Loneliness, a charming film about twentysomethings torn between lovers; and Gabriel Medina’s The Paranoids - a comedy about an insecure aspiring screenwriter in his 30’s who discovers his annoyingly successful friend has made a TV show unflatteringly based on him.

Javier Fesser’s heart-wrenching Camino will be one of the New Spanish Cinema drawcards after it cleaned out the 2009 Goya Awards with six major awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Script and Best Actress & Actor. Camino is the emotional adventure of an extraordinary eleven-year-old who is faced simultaneously with two completely new situations in her life: falling in love and dying. Other must-sees include The Chicken, The Fish and The King Crab, a documentary about chef’s competing in the rigorous culinary competition, the Bocuse d’Or; and The Naked Years which tracks the rise of the sexploitation film and the women who starred in them during the 1970s.

Highlights from Almodovar Presents – a collection of classic Spanish films curated by critically acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar – include canonical Spanish cult film Bilbao; and Iván Zulueta’s cult masterpiece Rapture, the vampiric relationship between a B-grade film director suffering a personal and creative crisis and a mysterious young man obsessed with the process of filming.

Also screening as part of a special presentation is Vampir-Cuadecuc, a combination of documentary, narrative and experimental film styles. Shot on the set of Jesus Franco’s Italian horror film Count Dracula, and featuring the stars of that film, Christopher Lee and sex symbol Soledad Miranda, Vampir is a gentle homage to early films about the vampire legend, particularly Dreyer’s Vampyr and Murnau’s Nosferatu. Jesus Franco was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 Goya Awards.

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