Saturday, 7 May 2011

Spanish Cine At Its Best

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Who is he?
A wonderful director, who's films, will never leave you feeling indifferent. 
Dark, seductive, violent and sexual..
They pull you in deeper, almost intoxicating you with their intensity. Showing beauty, where you would least expect to find it, and treating you to an emotional work, out so strong that it will stay with you for a long time.  Even if you are not familiar with the Spanish language, I guarantee you will not notice, or care that you are reading the subtitles.

"21 Grams"

I love the humanity he brings to his characters, their vulnerability and the unpredictability of the story.  The good guy is not necessarily going to win, you are not watching a fairy tale. It is like viewing a snippet of daily life, from an area where normally, you would dare not tread.  Yet, that is what holds the fascination for you.  One that you cannot walk away from, until he releases you.

"Love's a Bitch"

If you have not seen any of his movies I would highly recommend that you do.
Maybe, begin with his English Language films, such as "Babel", featuring Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett, it also stars one of his most popular castings Gael Garcia Bael, a talented mexican actor. He also directed "21 Grams" starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro, both fantastic films.

Gael Garcia Bernal

My first introduction to his world, was with the Spanish language film “Amores Perros” ( Love’s a Bitch) again starring Gael Garcia Bernal.  A film with over lapping story lines, almost shockingly violent and yet combined with romance, it has an extremely edgy feel to it, which makes it addictive viewing. 

Javier Bardem

Recently I viewed  “Biutiful” starring Javier Bardem of "Eat Pray Love fame".  A story based in the poorest districts of Barcelona, tackling many issues, from illegal immigrants making counterfeit goods, corruption and a dying man who is trying to get his life in order.... 
Yes, I did tell you it was dark, but, seductively so.
Especially thanks to its leading man.

"Live Flesh"

If you want to sample Spanish cinema, but prefer something a little less intense.  I would suggest you check out Pedro Almodovar.
His films were my first introduction and since the two have always seemed, synonymous.

"Tacones Altos"

The film I saw was "High Heels", starring Miguel Bose and Victoria Abril.
I adored it immediately and consequently devoured, every movie he has ever made.  Another favourite was "Live Flesh" featuring Penelope Cruz and starring Javier Bardem with Angelina Molina, a wonderful Spanish screen actress.

Angela Molina

I love the dark humour of his films and their "Spanish-ness"..
I can "feel" them.. 
This is the only way I can describe, just exactly, how they affect me.  He manages to conjure up the essence of the Spanish people,  reminding me of my time spent living there.

Penelope Cruz

I loved "Volver"  dark, humorous and beautiful... and that is not just due to Ms Cruz who played the lead and who now appears to be one of his favourite artists, along with Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem, all now Hollywood favourites too.  If you are bored of the usual, I strongly recommend you indulge in a little Spanish Cinema.

Antonio Banderas