Spain

Jesus Franco – Sinfonía Erótica (1980)

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All of us Jess Franco fans know that he was a musician before being a filmmaker, yet we don’t know much about his musical tastes. Jazz apart, what musical genre or what composers does he prefer?

The choice of using Franz Liszt’s scores in some of his films could give us our first answer. Many Franco fans will remember the trumpet solo in the night-club where Miss Death performs her shows (MISS MUERTE, 1965): it’s a transcription from Franz Liszt’s Dream of Love No.3 in A Flat Major (as a matter of fact a nocturne), one of those piano “Love Melodies”, once very popular, that all good-family ladies and girls liked to play in their houses. Franco has used this sentimental melody numerous times, in the most disparate transcriptions. It will be just the Dream of Love No.3, strummed by Lina Romay on a small piano, which will magically open a strong-box full of gold bars in the last scene of LA NOCHE DE LOS SEXOS ABIERTOS (1981). Read More »

Antoni Martí i Gich – Hic Digitur Dei (1976 – 1977)

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Written by the celebrated Catalan author Quim Monzo and his collaborator, Roser Fradera, Hic Digitur Dei is a decadent musical set in the last days of Franco’s dictatorship. Starring Rosa Novell, Pep-Maur Serra, Xabier Elorriaga, Maruja Torres, Montserrat Carulla, Alfred Luchetti, among others. Read More »

Carlos Saura – Ana y los lobos aka Ana and the Wolves (1973)

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The young but traveled Ana arrives in a manor in the countryside of Spain to work as nanny of three girls and finds a dysfunctional family: the matriarch is a sick old woman obsessed by death and having constant nervous breakdown; her son José was raised dressing girl’s clothes until his First Communion and is obsessed by military clothes and stuffs; Juan, the father of the three girls, is a pervert since his childhood that writes pornographic letters to Ana; his wife Luchy has suicidal tendencies; and the mystic and religious eremite Fernando, who was inflicted to flagellation in his childhood, lives recluse in a cave. The presence of Ana disturbs the three brothers with tragic consequences. Read More »

Vicente Aranda – Amantes AKA Lovers (1991)

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from allmovie.com
Plot Synopsis by Josh Ralske

Vicente Aranda’s Lovers is set in Spain, mostly in Madrid, during the 1950s. The story line is reminiscent of Theodore Dreiser’s classic An American Tragedy (which was filmed as A Place in the Sun), wherein a passive, amoral, and shallow protagonist inadvertently destroys the lives of two women who love him. The handsome Paco (Jorge Sanz, who also starred in Belle Epoque and has been called “the Spanish Tom Cruise”) is a young soldier involved with a virginal maid, Trini (Maribel Verdu of Y Tu Mama Tambien). Trini is saving her money and planning for their wedding, but Paco tells her not to worry, that he will find a job and save money for them. Paco leaves the army, but has trouble finding and keeping a steady job. He ends up renting a cheap room from Luisa (Spanish superstar Victoria Abril, best known for her work in Pedro Almodovar’s films), a beautiful and mysterious widow. Before long, Luisa has seduced the sexually frustrated Paco, and involved him in her moneymaking scams. Trini quickly figures out what is going on, and makes a desperate effort to win back Paco’s affection. Paco is obsessed with the sexually experienced and voracious older woman, but is unable to break off his long-term relationship with Trini. He attempts to string them both along, with disastrous results. The film was the first of veteran filmmaker Aranda to get a theatrical release in the United States, thanks largely to Abril’s star power, and caused a minor sensation with its sexual explicitness, in particular the infamous “handkerchief scene.” Read More »

Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi – Estambul 65 AKA That Man in Istanbul (1965)

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Quote:
A handsome hero with a shady past and a knack for adventure (Horst Buchholz), a beautiful heroine assisting him (Sylva Koscina), evil masterminds and agents, kidnapped scientists, an exotic setting (Istanbul), fights & chases, etc: the stage is set for a 60’s Bond-inspired spy adventure. This one begins pretty well, but loses its spark when Koscina (one of the most underrated spy girls of the decade – see also “Deadlier Than The Male”) disappears for long sections. Klaus Kinski also elevates the few scenes he is in (and has the best line in the film: “I am considered a good shot by those I have killed”!), but, like Koscina, he is underused. Buchholz is pretty good, both in the tongue-in-cheek and in the more violent moments, but the film is too long at 119 minutes, and about halfway through I began to lose the plot. At least it’s better produced than many of these Bondian imitations, though the current VHS prints, fullscreen and worn-out, don’t exactly do the production justice. Read More »

Fernando León de Aranoa – Barrio (1998)


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Barrio = neighbourhood

Awards: 11 wins & 7 nominations

Javi, Rai and Manu go to the same school and live in the same area, out of town, where there isn’t much to do. Stuck in their boring neighbourhood, they look on with envy at the massive summer exodus. They have a lot of free time on their hands; too much. And the devil usually finds work for idle hands. Read More »

Matías Bize – En la cama aka In Bed (2005)

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Synopsis:
After meeting at a party, Daniella (Blanca Lewin, Eternal Blood) and Bruno (Gonzalo Valenzuela) go to a cheap motel for a little after-party fun. They don’t know the other’s name yet, but the sex is great. Their post-coital musings reveal more than their names, however. The stranger next to them affords each the freedom to open up and discuss their wildest philosophies and deepest fears. Between bouts of love-making and more discussion, they become more personal, and soon they breach the wall of anonymity. When their darkest secrets come out, they threaten the euphoria and emotional safety for the possibility of something more. Read More »