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:: Spotlight :: 2013 Spanish Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 16th Spanish Film Festival, presented by Estrella Damm, will open with a bang when Cesc Gay’s A Gun in Each Hand (Una pistola en cada mano) screens at Palace Cinema Como on June 12. Featuring one of the most star-studded and talented casts assembled in modern Spanish cinema – including the phenomenal Ricardo Darín, Luis Tosar, Javier Cámara, Eduardo Noriega, Leonor Watling, Candela Peña and Cayetana Guillén Cuervo– A Gun in Each Hand is a witty and brutally hilarious portrait of forty-something men and the changing gender roles of contemporary Spanish society.

This year’s closing night event showcases Luis Buñuel’s 1970s classic Tristana, the surrealist masterpiece starring Catherine Deneuve that explores religion, politics and love in a way that marks it as a revolutionary film to this day. The dark, artistic love story will close the festival this year, with a nod to this internationally revered Spanish director who changed the landscape of cinema forever.

In addition to these two key events, the 16th Spanish Film Festival, presented by Estrella Damm, features 20 other stand out Spanish and Spanish-speaking Latin American titles.

“This is an exciting year for Spanish cinema and our program reflects the quality emerging from these regions. We are thrilled to present 21 Australian premieres that capture the true spirit and scope of Spanish and Spanish-speaking Latin American film. This year we introduce a number of special events with our sponsors Estrella Damm and Torres Wines which will include tapas and live entertainment followed by carefully curated films”, said Palace Cinemas Acting National Festivals Manager Genevieve Kelly.

The Festival is extremely pleased to welcome Mexican director Natalia Beristáin as a guest. In her debut feature, She Doesn’t Want to Sleep Alone (No quiero dormir sola), Beristáin has crafted a gentle, character driven drama about two women at very different stages of life, who need one another more than they realise. Special screenings in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra will be followed by a Q&A session with the director.

The Spanish Film Festival invites audiences to shake off the winter blues with the SPLASH OF SUMMER special event. Join us for drinks courtesy of Estrella Damm and Torres Wines, tapas and live entertainment, followed by a special screening of The Summer Side, a superbly-balanced fusion of eccentric comedy, melodrama, and tenderness. Set in the Canary Islands, the film centres on the trials and tribulations of a wonderfully dysfunctional family. (Kino Cinemas - Tuesday June 18, 6.00pm arrivals for 6.45pm screening. Full $26/ Palace Movie Club Members $22)

The JAZZ & JEWELS special event is another opportunity to party, with drinks courtesy of Estrella Damm and Torres Wines, tapas and live jazz. This will be followed by a special screening of Hold Up! an energetic, crowd-pleasing knockabout heist caper with serious, even tragic, undertones. The film is based on the bizarre true story of a complicated plan concocted to prevent the wife of Spain's dictator General Franco getting her hands on jewels once owned by Argentina's fabled first lady, Evita. (Palace Westgarth - Thursday June 20, 6.15pm arrivals for 7.00pm screening. Full $26/ Palace Movie Club Members $22)

AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE highlights include:

· Oscar winning director Fernando Trueba’s (Chico y Rita, Belle Epoque) The Artist and the Model (El artista y la modelo). Nominated for 13 Goya Awards this year including Best Director and Best Picture, this exceptional Spanish production, in the French-language, unfolds in the rural splendour of the French Pyrenees in 1943.

· Indie box office hit in Spain Carmina or Blow Up (Carmina o revienta) is a glorious and outrageous comedy. Written and directed by Paco León in the style of a documentary, the bizarre and hilarious Carmina or Blow Up follows the filmmaker’s mother, a 58-year-old tavern manager in Seville.

· Days of Grace (Dias de Gracia), a 2011 Cannes Film Festival Camera d’Or nominee and winner of 8 awards including Best Actor, Best First Work and Best Supporting Actress at the 2012 Ariel Awards of Mexico. The gripping crime drama takes place in Mexico set against the backdrop of three soccer world cups (2002, 2006 and 2010).

. Don’t Fall In Love With Me (No te enamores de mi) puts a fresh spin on the term “romantic comedy” with a good dose of courage and sincerity. Pablo Rago (The Secret in their Eyes, 2009) leads this gorgeous cast composed of an exciting new generation of Argentinian actors who will leave you reflecting on your concept of love in our modern times.

. From the producers of The Impossible, Biutiful and Red Lights, and writers of Cell 112, The Impossible and The Orphanage, The End (Fin) is a suspense-filled, visually stunning thriller that wraps a thought-provoking novel by David Monteagudo in blockbuster production values. With brilliant performances from Maribel Verdú (Pan’s Labyrinth), Clara Lago (SFF13, I Want You), and Daniel Grao (Julia’s Eyes), The End will have you glued to your seat right up until its last haunting moments.

The 16th Spanish Film Festival presented by Palace occurs in Melbourne from June 12 – 26 across the following cinemas: Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth & Kino Cinema.

For more information, visit

www.spanishfilmfestival.com.au