Fabulous female filmmakers

This year’s Moro Spanish Film Festival, which starts its nationwide run at Sydney’s Palace cinemas on April 16, includes a Spotlight on Female Directors interwoven into its other two strands – New Spanish Cinema and Cine Latino.

There are 11 contemporary features in this series – from established directors such as Icíar Bollaín and Gracia Querejeta to fresh new voices including Lila Avilés. Fittingly enough, the Sydney Film Festival is also having a stand called Essential Australian Women Directors this year. But before you sign up for that (and you will, won’t you?) – why not check out what those adventurous and innovative Spanish and Latin American women have been up to first? The films include:

•  Ana By Day (Ana de día) – directed by Andrea Jaurrieta and featuring Ingrid García Jonsson as a cosmopolitan, educated young woman whose misgivings about her identity intensify when a doppelganger arrives to replace her.

•  Break (Recreo) – a comedy/drama directed by Jazmín Stuart and Hernán Guerschuny about six old friends who reunite for a weekend away with their children only to have revelations of secrets, lies, unrequited desires, and accumulated frustrations arise.

•  Carmen & Lola – Bilbao-born writer-director Arantxa Echevarría and her exceptional non-professional cast deliver an empathetic portrayal of forbidden love in a repressive society that is altogether inspiring, necessary and beautiful.

•  The Good Girls (Las niñas bien) Director Alejandra Márquez Abella presents this gorgeously mounted and beautifully played feature that is at once a scathing and glamourous depiction of the wives of upper-class men in 1982 Mexico.

•  Florianópolis Dream (Sueño Florianópolis) – a gentle, thoughtful portrait of a middle-class family by Argentine writer/director Ana Katz, who invites her audience to drink in the idyllic coastal scenery of Brazil for a breezy and bittersweet film experience.

Crime Wave (Ola de crímenes) – directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Gracia Querejeta who returns to the festival circuit with a romping comedy-thriller starring the crème de la crème of Spanish acting royalty: Maribel Verdú, Javier Cámara and Luis Tosar.

•  Hopelessly Devout (Mi querida cofradía) – the debut feature from Marta Díaz de Lope Díaz featuring eccentric characters offering fresh and funny perspective on female empowerment and patriarchy within the church. Starring Spanish television veteran Gloria Muñoz (The Unexpected Life, SFF14).

•  The Chambermaid (La camarista) – attracting audience and critical acclaim at the Toronto and London Film Festivals, Lila Avilés’ striking and compelling debut feature is a vital exploration of the Mexican class divide featuring Gabriela Cartol in the role of a chambermaid.

•  Yuli – an extraordinary biopic of the legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta; the first black dancer to perform some of ballet’s most iconic roles. Directed by Icíar Bollaín, the film features a magnetic performance by Acosta himself.

•  Peret: The King of the Gypsy Rumba (Peret, yo soy la rumba) Hailed as the “King of Rumba” for his fusion of flamenco song with Latin American rhythms, this documentary spanning six decades captures the magic that was Peret.

•  The Longest Night (La mala noche) – a bold feature debut about human trafficking and its impact on the impoverished women and children who often become the victims of this crime. The film is directed by Gabriela Calvache, who collaborated with a crew of 80% women.

And if you haven’t had enough female talent after that exciting line-up, you could always head for the festival’s closing night celebration – a digital restoration of one of the biggest box-office hits in Spain’s history – Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Has this sexy romp about obsessive love stood the test of time? Now that #metoo rules, it’s worth looking back at what made us laugh in the 80s.

Tickets now on sale and more info at www.spanishfilmfestival.com

Win double passes

There’s still time to enter our competition to win double passes to festival films. We have 10 to giveaway! Details here

Venue details:

Sydney: 16 Apr – 8 May: Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona & Palace Central.
Canberra: 17 Apr – 8 May:  Palace Electric Cinema.
Melbourne: 18 Apr – 8 May: The Astor Theatre, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Kino and Palace Balwyn.
Adelaide: 23 Apr – 15 May: Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas & Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas.
Perth: 24 Apr – 15 May: Palace Cinema Paradiso.
Brisbane: 24 Apr – 15 May: Palace James Street and Palace Barracks.
Hobart: 2 May – 8 May: State Cinema.
Byron Bay: 10 – 26 May: Palace Byron Bay