Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Cinema from Spain

Spanish Cinema has exploded onto the world scene in a huge way. For all intents and purposes, there was no Spanish film industry between the creative period that gave rise to Luis Buñuel and his peers in the 1930's and the death of Franco in 1975. The dictator's death brought a huge liberalization of Spanish culture, and the long repressed creativity of Spanish designers, artists and movie makers absolutely burst forth. In the years just following the shift to democracy, Spanish film makers like Pedro Almodóvar, J.J. Bigas Luna (Jamón, Jamón), and Fernando Trueba (Calle 54) introduced the world to a generation of Spanish superstars including Victoria Abril, Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. In the 1990's, Alejandro Amenábar, Julio Medem and Álex de la Iglesia unleashed a second front of artistically excellent and commercially successful international film makers.

Beginning today, the Northwest Film Forum is featuring a weeklong series of Spanish films, made in 2007 & 2008, by directors who have won significant acclaim in their native country but are still largely unknown here. NWFF has a curated a stellar ensemble of vibrant, polemical, artful and eclectic films in a wide variety of styles ranging from pointedly commercial to wildly experimental.

Several directors are having their American debuts at this mini-festival, including Rafa Cortes whose film "Me" was named “Revelation of the Year” by FIPRESCI, the international association of film critics at Cannes 2007. NWFF is also screening the latest films from established directors like Iciar Bollain, whose 2008 film Mataharis has been nominated for six Goya awards, including Best Director, Screenplay, Actor and Actress. ShortMetraje, screening twice, presents a sampling of new short films completed this year.

Series passes are only $30 for NWFF members, and $40 for the general public, available here.

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