A 48-hour leave from reform school brings life lessons for the teenage protagonist of “7 Virgins,” a street-kids piece that combines energy and delicacy to striking and subtle effect. The best Spanish movie of its type since Fernando Leon’s 1998 “Barrio,” pic rises above genre standard with scrupulous attention to detail and an engaging central tandem. Downsides are lapses into sentimentality and visual deja vu, and an occasional inability to exploit the emotional potential. “Virgins” should snuggle up in plenty of fest beds, with arthouse interest a certainty in Spain-friendly territories.
Sixteen-year-old Tano (Juan Jose Ballesta from “Pellet” and “4th Floor”) is picked up from the Seville reform school by his ultra-taciturn brother Santacana (Vicente Romero), who warns Tano to avoid trouble. But once Tano gets back in touch with his irrepressible buddy, wide-grinning Richi (Jesus Carroza), within minutes, they are on the run in a shopping mall after stealing a wallet to buy a TV set — a wedding-gift for Santacana. Continue reading
A story about love deception, the return of the past, a tragedy, or even the violence contained in an everyday detail, appear themselves to push them towards the abyss, into the undeniable pleasure of losing control. Continue reading
Synopsis: Veteran director Jose Luis Cuerda delivered this sensitive portrait of a child coming of age during a tense political situation just before the Spanish Civil War. On his first day of school, frail eight-year-old Moncho (Manuel Lozano) is so terrified by the imposing figure of his teacher Don Gregorio (Fernando Fernan Gomez) that he flees into the nearby woods. In spite of his authoritarian appearance, the schoolmaster proves to be a kind, free-thinking Republican who teaches Moncho the virtues of being good. The boy is soon spending much of his time with the elderly Gregorio in the Galician countryside, admiring such wonders of nature as the tongue of a butterfly. Other people in young Moncho’s world include his down-to-earth mother (Uxia Blanco), his Republican father, and his older brother, who plays the saxophone with a group of local musicians. However, when the Fascists roll into town, the boy’s life changes forever. La Lengua de las Mariposas was screened at the 1999 San Sebastian Film Festival. -Jonathan Crow (AMG) Continue reading
H6 tells the story of Antonio Frau, a serial killer set free after serving 25 years in jail for the violent murder of his girlfriend. After inheriting and old motel from a relative he never knew, he sees this as a signal and takes to his holy task of relieving the grief of those who have lost the will to live. He takes his victims to room Number 6 in the motel where he ‘purifies’ them, while, at the same time, continues his everyday life next to his wife. A mistake leads to his arrest, and his plan to become rich and famous takes relevance. Continue reading
This is the story of a disoriented and vulnerable woman, overburdened with daily life problems and more: her belongings are impounded, her cosmetics shop has been closed down, and her children are forced to go to a public school. The childrenŽs vitality draw a sharp contrast against the apathy shown by their mother, who slowly plunges into a deep depression. The kids, becoming aware that she lacks the necessary strength and maturity to effectlvely face these problems, are forced to adopt adult attitudes. Life goes on, and things change. Sometimes changes are slow and unnoticeable, sometimes they are sharp and tangible, and everything is transformed, always.. Continue reading
This is Almodóvar’s first feature film. The plot follows the wild adventures of three friends: Pepi, an independent modern woman; Luci, a mousy, masochistic housewife; and Bom, a lesbian punk rock singer. The central theme of the film – female resilience, independence and solidarity – would be a constant throughout Almodóvar’s career. (Wikipedia) Continue reading
Colourful feature debut from experienced producer Miñarro offers an almost hallucinatory look into the world of Amadeo van Savoy, who for two years was king of an ungovernable Spain around 1870. This intriguing episode is transformed into a plea for beauty, creativity and joy.
At first sight, Falling Star presents itself as a historic film about the brief rule of Amadeo van Savoy, a prince from Turin who was king of Spain for two years. His mainstay, the powerful General Prim, was murdered before Amadeo was properly installed and then he had no one to fall back on; Spain in 1871 was already plagued by administrative and financial crises.