Eloy de la Iglesia – El techo de cristal aka The Glass Ceiling (1971)


“This is the second Eloy de la Iglesia film I have seen (the first being CANNIBAL MAN) and I found it to be an excellent thriller. Lonely housewife Carmen Sevilla begins to let her imagination get the best of her when she hears a man’s footsteps in the apartment above her late at night. Her upstairs neighbor (Patty Shepard) insists it was her husband who had returned from business, but Sevilla doesn’t believe her and begins to investigate. This is a great film, with lots of nice twists along the way and an incredible dream sequence. The final revelation is one that will have you thinking for hours afterwards. I enjoyed this much more than the straight forward CANNIBAL MAN.”
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Carlos Saura – Cría cuervos AKA Raise Ravens (1976)


An inquisitive, cherubic girl named Ana (Ana Torrent) overhears a tender exchange between her father, a military officer named Anselmo (Héctor Alterio) and his mistress, Amelia (Mirta Miller), before the intimate moment gives way to tragedy and confusion, as Anselmo suffers a fatal heart attack. Amelia hurriedly dresses, leaving Anselmo’s body alone in the bedroom for the discovery of others, and exchanges a reluctant glance with Ana before running away to avoid a scandal. Young Ana impassively observes Anselmo’s rigid countenance before recovering a water glass from the bedside table, and methodically washes the item in the kitchen sink. Soon, the past, present, and distant past seemingly fuse into a surreal and reassuring incident as Ana’s dead mother (Geraldine Chaplin) passes through the kitchen and affectionately reminds Ana that it is past her bedtime. Later, a haunted and matured Ana (Geraldine Chaplin) recounts her childhood animosity towards her emotional callous and philandering father, blaming him for causing her late mother’s suffering that inevitably manifested in a slow, consuming illness. With the death of their father, Ana and her sisters, Irene (Conchita Pérez) and Maite, spend the rest of their summer vacation in the family home, entrusted to the care of Aunt Paulina (Mónica Randall), a stern, but well intentioned unmarried woman who discourages discussion about their parents in a mistaken belief that she is sparing the children from the grief of their profound loss. However, Paulina’s attention is preoccupied by her own surfacing romantic relationship, and the children are invariably left alone with their affable, obliging maid, Rosa (Florinda Chico) and their silent, detached grandmother (Josefina Díaz) whose own thoughts are consumed by cherished memories evoked from a collage of old family photographs. With little guidance and supervision, the children create an insular world that reflects the conflict, pain, and uncertainty of the enigmatic and impenetrable adult world around them. Continue reading

Fernando Fernán Gómez – La vida por delante (1958)


“La Vida por Delante” is the second film of Fernan Gomez, one of the most complete Spanish Cinema artists. After his debut in “Manicomio” (1954) as co-director, the turbulent career as a filmmaker Fernan-Gomez has been little appreciated by the public, being more known for his acting career at the orders of other directors.

This has made possible in part, we lose some of the gems that this director has given throughout his career.

It is an interesting film but still far from the levels of talent would reach director years later with works like “El Mundo Sigue” (1963) and “El Extraño Viaje” (1964). Continue reading

José Luis Borau – Furtivos aka Poachers (1975)


Furtivos (Poachers) is a 1975 Spanish film directed by José Luis Borau. It stars Lola Gaos, Ovidi Montllor and Alicia Sánchez. The script was written by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón and José Luis Borau. The film is a stark drama that portraits an oedipal relationship and its dire consequences. A great critical and commercial success, it won best picture at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 1975. Furtivos is considered a classic of Spanish cinema.
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Vicente Aranda – Fata Morgana (1965)


“Gim is a beautiful fashion model whose life is in peril. There is a homicidal killer who seek to murder her only Gim is totally unaware of her danger. The only person who seems to be sure that the killer will strike is a professor at a local collage. A police detective also believes the killer will strike but knows not the killer nor the victim. Upon speaking to the professor he has the victims identity and must find her in the mostly deserted city populated by a small group of unusual people who attempt to thwart his search. Continue reading

José María Nunes – Sexperiencias (1968)

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Although allusions to François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim and Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless suggest José María Nunes’s affection for French New Wave, Sexperiencias finds greater kinship with Nagisa Oshima’s fractured, interconnected themes of sexual and social revolution. In a way, young hitchhiker, María (María Quadreny) is also a stand-in for accidental revolutionary, Motoki in The Man Who Left His Will on Film, a cipher who, in trying to capture the rhythms of everyday life (albeit through photography rather than filmmaking), is politicized by an atmosphere of unrest. Finding momentary connection with an outspoken activist, Antonio (Antonio Betancourt), María’s life is upended when her lover is imprisoned for dissent. Restless and adrift, she embarks on an affair with a nurturing, middle-aged engraver, Carlos (Carlos Otero), only to find her newfound life of comfort and stability at odds with the chaos of the world around her. But while Oshima’s melding of fact and fiction captures the spirit of an internal revolution, Nunes’s revolution is a distant one – a reminder of an empowered other reality that can be turned inward to incite change – galvanized by geopolitical headlines that dominated the local newspapers of 1968: Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, May 68 protest, the coup in Panama, the turning of the tide in the Vietnam War with Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election. Incorporating an incongruous soundtrack of nature sounds, assorted music, and ambient noise, Nunes creates a disorienting environment that is literally out of sync – the separation between image and sound implicitly reflecting the disconnection between the reality of Franco-era Spain and its projected image. Framed against the bookending reference to the U.N.’s adoption of the nonbinding Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1968, the question of enforcement becomes an ironic coda to the problem of inaction, where the struggle is not in the ability to speak, but in an unwillingness to listen. Continue reading