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Get Your Filmic Fiesta On

Roslyn Hull

The 20th annual Spanish Film Festival comes to Canberra on 19 April and se queda con nosotros until 7 May.

For the full program check out the Festival website – it is packed. It is going to be a hot time for cinefiles, with seven films screening most days – how will we select what to see? I can only suggest going through the program notes for each. Don’t try to see them all, that way lies madness, but with ‘multi-film’ tickets and ‘Five film’ passes this is a chance to enjoy a great variety of films.

In fact, don’t bother with the IMDb synopses, as there isn’t much there, either apúrate a New Acton to collect a program from Palace Electric or go directly to the link above for the full program.

I particularly like the look of The Queen of Spain with Penelope Cruz. Anyone who saw Zoolander 2 knows she can hold her own in comedy but I would love to see how she portrays Old Hollywood. This is the one I suspect will get wide release later in the year, so don’t despair if you miss it at the festival.

The Queen of Spain_feature

There are dramas, musicals, comedy and some interesting documentaries on offer – Spain in a Day promises to be visually splendid but my pick would be Jota: Beyond Flamenco. The filmmaker, Carlos Saura, also made Carmen and Tango – both of which I’ve seen and both of which were captivating.

There are some children’s films too -– Ozzy, Fast and Furry for the littlies and Zip and Zap and the Captain’s Island for older kids. The shorts for the later look fantastic. In fact, every genre of film we have in English is here for you to enjoy, in Spanish.

Even if you’ve never been to a festival before, give the Opening Night film a go – it promises to steam up the multi-focals of the regular festival goers. Palace Electric manager, Lavanna Neal, likened Kiki Love to Love to the Australian film The Little Death. Can’t wait!

Hopefully, the subtitles will be of a higher standard than those at the preview I went to though. ‘Too’ when the correct word was ‘two’ was bad enough – but I cannot think of any situation where a child would refer to someone as their ‘previous mother’.

Apologies if I sound nit-picky but if cinema is to be successful in another culture, surely accurate (and nuanced) translation of language must be high on the list of important elements?

Still, the film was touching. Summer 1993 is sincere attempt to tell a story through a child’s eyes. I felt myself drawn to the main character, Frida – recognising the truth of the occasional careless cruelty she shows her little cousin/new sister and her despair at a child’s inability to govern her own life. I loved the scenes where she decides to run away – I tried almost the same thing, with the same result, when I was three!

It is more touching still when we know that this film is autobiographical. Writer-director Carla Simón has been admirably honest is holding to what she saw and what she understood when these events occurred in her life, when, as a storyteller, it would have been so much easier to use her adult knowledge and understanding. Ultimately, this means that there is quite a bit of dead air in the film, but it’s simplicity and honesty is its strength.

Roslyn saw this film as a guest of Palace Electric Cinema


Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author