Villaronga's Black Bread
Spanish Cinema Now 2010
December 10-23, 2010
Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Among the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s longest-running series, Spanish Cinema Now began in 1992, soon after the Walter Reade Theater itself first opened for business. Now in its 19th season, Spanish Cinema Now has brought New York film fans the newest films from such renowned directors as Carlos Saura, Vincente Aranda and Julio Medem, introduced them to new talents and reminded them of forgotten or obscure filmmakers from earlier eras.
This year’s program does all of that and more: several films either directly or indirectly touch on the continued fallout from the Spanish Civil War, which recently had its 70th anniversary. The Last Circus, by director Alex de la Iglesia, begins in the infamous year of 1937, and along the way dismantles many myths about the war that have accumulated over the decades. Izarren Argia’s intense Stars to Wish Upon dramatizes the plight of the widow of a Spanish Republican when she is thrown into Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s notorious prison for women.
Director Agusti Villaronga, subject of a special sidebar The Savage Eye, made El Mar, an exploration of a trio of friends reunited years after witnessing a Civil War firing squad, in 2000. Villaronga’s latest film, Black Bread, chronicles a young boy whose world comprises both fantastical creatures and flesh-and-blood fascists.
Other notable films in this year’s edition include Andrucha Washington’s Lope, an historical chronicle about the great 16th century Spanish playwright Lope de Vega; Guest, a documentary travelogue by the director of In the City of Sylvia, Jose Luis Guerin; and Chico y Rita, an animated celebration of the music of Cuba by directors Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba, whom some may remember for the Oscar-winning Best Foreign Film of 1993, Belle Epoque.