Featured: Official Competition, Australian Premiere
The Moro Spanish Film Festival returns to Perth 27 April – 18 May showcasing the best films from Spain and Latin America at Palace Raine Square, Luna Leederville and Luna on SX.
Benjamin Zeccola, CEO Palace Cinemas, shares his Top 5 picks for the Spanish Film Festival.
1. OFFICIAL COMPETITION
Who can resist a film starring Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) and Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) in this bitingly funny behind-the-scenes satire of filmmaking?
Finding his legacy lacking in prestige, an octogenarian tycoon (José Luis Gómez) impulsively decides to finance a great work of cinema. Lola (Cruz) is recruited to mastermind this ambitious endeavour. A visionary with a penchant for offscreen theatrics, Lola casts a pair of actors with massive talent but even bigger egos: Hollywood heartthrob Félix Rivero (Banderas) and radical theatre actor Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez). Both are legends, but not exactly best friends. Through a series of increasingly eccentric trials set by Lola, Félix and Iván must confront not only each other but also their own legacies.
Awash in egomania and deliciously absurd hijinks, Official Competition is a playful yet sharp comedy skewering wealth, art, and pride.
2. THE YEAR OF FURY
A political thriller even more biting now given sharp parallels to the situation unfolding in Russia and Ukraine.
In 1972 Uruguay, a year before the coup, Diego and Leonardo (Joaquín Furriel and Alberto Amman), writers of a TV comedy show, struggle to maintain their integrity under pressure to tone down their satire against the military. The cool 70’s setting, poignant story and beautiful actors make a terrific film. There are some really beautiful actors, like uber handsome, traffic-stopping-gorgeous and the most excellent moustache on screen this year.
This exciting ensemble thriller, from the director and screenwriter Rafa Russo, delivers a thoughtfully executed story of love, friendship and betrayal in troubled times.
Subtle, smart, relatable and heartbreaking. A potent drama set in the Dominican Republic, Carajita paints a picture of three women. Sara (the outstanding Cecile Van Welie), and her nanny, Yarisa (Magnolia Núñez), share a relationship transcending class and race. When the family moves to the coastal town of Las Terrenas, for Yarisa, the move means a return to her hometown and her biological daughter Mallory (Adelanny Padilla). Sara and Mallory become friends. But soon, an accident occurs that exposes the deep social tears within this fabric of relationships and tests intimate loyalties.
The second feature by Argentinian-Spanish writing/directing duo Silvina Schnicer and Ulises Porra, the colourful, suspenseful drama Carajita evokes the agonies of the Caribbean’s colonial legacy.
4. CAMILA COMES OUT TONIGHT
When her grandmother becomes ill, Camila (Nina Dziembrowski) is forced to move to Buenos Aires, leaving a liberal public high school for a traditional private institution. Suddenly a senior in a strict school without any friends, and with her single mother caught up in family affairs, Camila’s fierce yet immature temperament is put to the test.
While coping with the turbulence of adolescence and the jarring change of scenery, she discovers feelings for her classmate Clara (Maite Valero). Faced with an alluring set of possibilities and experiences that await in the big city, Camila sets out on a journey of sexual and political discovery.
Exploring key themes of tradition, family and equality, this stylistic coming-of-age tale is set at the height of the Marea Verde (Green Tide), a period of street protests against Argentina’s abortion laws.
Directed and co-written by Inés Barrionuevo, Camila Comes Out Tonight is an intimate and lively portrait of Argentine youth with a beautiful aesthetic.
5. PENELOPE CRUZ & JAVIER BARDEM: RETROSPECTIVE
Celebrating their 2022 Oscar nominations for Being the Ricardos and Parallel Mothers, and the 30th anniversary of Jamón Jamón, the Festival is proud to present these iconic collaborations of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem (Jamon Jamón and Loving Pablo) and encore screenings of Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers, for which Penélope won the Best Actress award at Venice.
One of the most charismatic couples in cinema, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem met in 1992 while filming Bigas Luna’s Jamón Jamón, a sensual film that launched their careers.
They coupled up and married after filming Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), for which Penélope won 2009 Best Supporting Actress Oscar, making history as the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar.
PARALLEL MOTHERS is another Festival highlight. A beautiful drama by critically acclaimed director Pedro Almodóvar, the film tells the story of two women who give birth in a shared maternity ward, featuring Penélope Cruz in her Venice Best Actress award-winning performance.