Posted by Zak Hepburn
12. Jun, 2013
It’s winter in Melbourne and that means that the Film Festival season is reaching a fever pitch! The annual Spanish Film Festival offers a program of titles including classic retrospective screenings alongside Australian premieres.
Opening night fiesta film A Gun In Each Hand chronicles a series of chance encounters between old friends, long lost acquaintances, ex-partners and potential lovers. Formulated through six vignettes, director Cesc Gay weaves an ensemble yarn filled with broadly drawn characters wandering through ostentatious situations. This culminates in a battle-of-the-sexes comedy piece that proved to be a box office sensation in Spain.
The End, a decidedly pulp thriller charts a group of old friends who have organised a reunion at a secluded mountain estate. In true Big Chill fashion – the first gathering is joyful and relaxing. However, it quickly becomes evident that behind the smiles and nostalgia is a darker episode of their history bubbling away under the surface; haunting each of them and ready to destroy their lives. Lead actress Maribel Verdú (Pan’s Labyrinth) is a guest of the festival.
Closing out the festival is a rare retrospective screening of Luis Buñuel’s Tristana – a swirling, surrealist epic starring Catherine Deneuve. The film explores religion, politics and passion. Orphaned as a young woman, Tristana (Deneuve) is taken in by a well-respected, yet impoverished aristocrat. When she meets the painter Horacio (played by the original Django – the mighty Franco Nero), they fall in love and flee – until the heavy burden of reality comes crashing down on them and choices must be made.
The film, which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Academy Award upon its original release in 1971, remains a lavish, escapist gem.
The festival runs from June 12 – 26 across most Palace Cinema locations within Melbourne and also includes a number of other special guest filmmakers and music events throughout the program.
Full session details and ticket booking information can be found here.
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