Spain

Xavier Villaverde – El sexo de los ángeles AKA The Sex of the Angels (2012)

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Struggling martial artist and dancer Bruno loves his girlfriend Carla, but when he meets fellow dancer Rai, serious sparks begin to fly, opening the couple up to new possibilities. A new generation navigates sexual fluidity, torn affections, and open relationships in this steamy love triangle. But once Bruno’s clandestine encounters with Rai are revealed, a confused and hurt Carla kicks him out. But she simply doesn’t want to give up on her love. Eventually she agrees that Bruno can date them both as long as he keeps his life with Rai relatively separate. Read More »

Carlos Saura – Los Ojos Vendados AKA Blindfolded Eyes (1978)

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Plot
While attending an international conference which seeks to reduce the incidence of the use of torture by nations around the globe, a movie director (Jose Luis Gomez) encounters a woman (Geraldine Chaplin) whom he decides to cast in a play about state torture. As events proceed, he and the woman, the wife of a dentist, become lovers. All along, however, right-wing types have been persecuting, and the whole endeavor goes sour. Read More »

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 »

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 »