After 2 years, Spanish Film Festival is back in cinemas

Totel V. de Jesus

Posted at Oct 05 2022 04:13 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2022 04:25 PM

Penelop Cruz stars in the comedy 'Official Competition,' which will be screened in this year's Pelicula Spanish Film Festival at Shangri La Plaza Mall cinemas. Photo courtesy of Instituto Cervantes de Manila
Penelope Cruz stars in the comedy 'Official Competition,' which will be screened in this year's Pelicula Spanish Film Festival at Shangri La Plaza Mall cinemas. Photo courtesy of Instituto Cervantes de Manila

MANILA -- Films with Spanish actors who made it to the international scene like Antonio Banderas, and couple Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are part of this year’s Pelicula Spanish Film Festival.

It offers 20 films showing in three venues. 

At Shangri-La Plaza, the festival runs from October 5-9. It takes a break and continues at Instituto Cervantes in Intramuros, Manila branch from October 10-12. There’s also a one-day screening of two films at UP Cinema Adarna on October 13. The following day, October 14, the festival returns to Shangri-La Plaza until closing day on October 16, Sunday.

It opens today, October 5, with the Bardem starrer “El Buen Patrón,” a new comedy released in 2021 directed by Fernando León de Aranoa. It will be screened at Shangri-La Plaza Mall at 5 p.m. and will have a repeat on October 8. 

“El Buen Patron” tells the story of a businessman trying to please his employees in the hope of getting an excellence award.

Hollywood Reporter described it “slickly entertaining”’

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One of most awaited film festivals

When the pandemic started, online screening has become one of the coping mechanisms for those cocooned at home. In those two years before restrictions and health protocols allowed people to move a bit more relaxed, Instituto Cervantes never failed to stream a film every weekend. 

Film enthusiasts, despite the plethora of new titles and binge-worthy series on Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and other streaming platforms, looked forward every weekend to Instituto Cervantes de Manila’s announcement of new titles to be shown via its Vimeo account. They were all for free though available in limited time but most important, they were quality, sensible films -- most have won the Goya Awards -- from the vast collections in the film library of Instituto Cervantes. 

A film would be made available for 48 hours, starting Friday midnight until, most of the times, the early hours of Monday. And this became a regular thing before the actual two-week long Spanish Film Festival in October. 

Now with the festival is back on-site for lovers of quality Spanish films to experience once again the 21st edition of Pelicula.

Those who love comedy will surely enjoy “Competencia official (Official Competition),” a 2021 Spanish-Argentinean film co-directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn starring the big names Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez.

As Rotten Tomatoes described it: “Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas star as two egomaniacs commissioned by a millionaire to make a movie together in this sharp comedy skewering wealth, art, and pride.”

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Other comedies in the line-up are “El Rest” by Dani de la Orden (2022) and “Con quién viajas” by Martín Cuervo (2021). 

The official entries also include documentaries “A las mujeres de España María Lejárrag” by Laura Hojman, (2022), dramas like “Maixabel” by Icíar Bollaín (2021), “El olvido que seremos” by Fernando Trueba (2020), and thrillers like “La hija” by Manuel Martín Cuenca (2021).

Pelicula will also feature Latin American films such as the Colombian documentary “Jinetes del Paraíso” by Talia Osorio Cardona (2020) and the Panamenian comedy “Algo azul” by Mariel García Spooner (2021).

There are also the classics headlined by Juan Antonio Bardem’s 1953 film, “Death of a Cyclist (Muerte De Un Ciclista).” It is considered one of the greatest Spanish films of all time. It tells the story of a professor having an affair with the wife of a wealthy businessman. In one of their trysts, they run over and kill a cyclist.

From 1951, there’s “Esa Pareja Feliz” co-directed by Bardem and Luis García Berlanga, and “Mamá Cumple Cien Años” by Carlos Saura from 1979.

Pelicula will also have “En corto: Short films from the Philippines and Spain," featuring new short films from both countries. 

The festival will also host online screenings for the Philippines, Malaysia and Australia. The good news is that Erice’s “El Sur” will be streamed again on October 14, Friday, and will be made available for 48 hours via IC’s Vimeo account. 

Other films to be streamed are the comedy “Esa Pareja Feliz” (The Happy Couple) on October 11 followed by “Death of Cyclist” and the historical documentary “España, La Primera Globalización” on October 12.

On October 13, there’s the Geraldine Chaplin-starrer dark comedy “Mama Turns 100” and the documentary “El siglo de Galdós,” which is an account of the personal life and work of journalist, novelist Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920). He is considered the greatest Spanish writer of 19th century.

Just like in the previous pre-pandemic Pelicula, viewers may vote for their favorite films in the Audience Choice Awards. 

The film with the highest ratings will receive this year’s Audience Choice Award and will be screened again on October 16 at Shangri-La Plaza. 

All the movies are in Spanish (or their original language) with English subtitles are free to the public.