Spanish Cinema Now 2018
The second edition of Spanish Cinema Now comes to D.C. bringing a selection of the best recent Spanish films along with several Spanish filmmakers.
AFI Silver Theatre and SPAIN arts & culture co-present Spanish Cinema Now, an annual festival of outstanding new films that reflect the breadth of styles and talents at work in Spain today. Some of the featured directors are established auteurs, while others have recently emerged on the international festival scene, earning top prizes and critical acclaim.
- On Thursday, May 31 at 7:30 pm. Q&A with filmmaker Javier Fesser. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Javier Fesser, Spain, 2018, 124 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
Spain’s biggest box office hit of 2018 stars Javier Gutiérrez (Marshland, The Motive) as Marco, a hotshot assistant coach in Spain’s top basketball league with a serious attitude problem. When a drunken car accident causes him to lose his job and his girlfriend in quick succession, Mario ends up in court. The sentence? Community service and the worst possible punishment he can imagine: coaching “Los Amigos,” a team of intellectually disabled players, none of whom have ever touched a basketball. With patience, dedication and plenty of good humor, “Los Amigos” teach Marco what it really means to be a team player.
- On Friday, June 1 at 7:30 pm. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Mateo Gil, Spain, 2018, 100 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
Mateo Gil (Realive) takes romantic chemistry to a whole new level with this audaciously imaginative spin on the rom-com formula, pitting a love-struck science savant against the mind-boggling cosmi-comic dictates of love and physics. Set in Barcelona, The Laws of Thermodynamics tracks the tumultuous romance between Manel (Vito Sanz) and model-turned-actress Elena (Berta Vázquez), and their friends Pablo (Chino Darín) and Eva (Vicky Luengo). Gliding seamlessly back and forth through space and time, the film takes us on a whirlwind tour of seduction and ecstasy, heartbreak and regeneration, balancing scenes of romantic bedazzlement with witty commentaries from science experts on the gravitational pull exerted by the object of one’s desire.
- On Friday, June 1 at 9:30 pm. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Marta Díaz de Lope Díaz, Spain, 2018, 90 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
Marta Díaz de Lope Díaz’s debut feature is a hilarious screwball comedy that presents a fresh perspective on female empowerment. Carmen (Gloria Muñoz), a devout Catholic woman, is about to be chosen leader of her local religious guild. But it all goes up in smoke when her biggest rival is chosen instead: Ignacio (Juan Gea), a ridiculous, arrogant man who is also hell-bent on demoting her from her post. After an unfortunate “accident,” Ignacio is left unconscious in the bathroom and Carmen is forced to keep him hidden in her home while she receives a series of unexpected visitors. What at first seems like a terrible predicament could turn into Carmen’s chance to fulfill her dream.
- On Saturday, June 2 at 5:15 pm. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Laura Collado, Spain/Estonia, 2017, 82 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
Chef Albert Adrià wants his restaurants to surprise, stir emotions and, of course, entertain, like any great film. He views each of his dramatically different eateries —an experimental cocktail bar, a taqueria, a vermouth bar, a tapas bar, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant— as if he is a film auteur experimenting across genres. In 2014, despite being awarded an impressive number of Michelin stars, the extremely modest chef felt that he still had not created his Citizen Kane. That is because for more than two decades, he labored as the pastry chef under the leadership of his older brother, head chef Ferran, at elBulli, considered one of the greatest restaurants in history. Now with his newest creative endeavor, Enigma, on the horizon, chef Adrià hopes to finally step out of his brother’s shadow and reimagine the entire dining experience from the ground up.
- On Saturday, June 2 at 7:15 pm. Q&A with filmmaker Pablo Berger. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Pablo Berger, Spain, 2017, 96 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
In Pablo Berger’s (Blancanieves, Torremolinos 73) dark comedy, Carmen (Maribel Verdú) and Carlos (Antonio de la Torre) are an ordinary couple from Madrid: she’s a devoted homemaker and he’s a construction worker who lives and breathes for Real Madrid. When the pair attend their nephew’s wedding, Carmen’s cousin Pepe (José Mota) sees a chance to demonstrate his amateur hypnosis act with Carlos as the guinea pig. As Carlos and Pepe step onstage, an unwanted spirit crashes the show.
- On Saturday, June 2 at 10 pm. Introduction by filmmaker Pablo Berger. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Pablo Berger, Spain/Denmark, 2003, 91 minutes. In Spanish and Danish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
Pablo Berger’s hilarious debut feature is set in 1973 Spain, Francisco Franco is still in power, and Alfredo Lopez (Javier Cámara) and his wife Carmen (Candela Peña) are struggling to make ends meet. When the couple agree to make their own Super 8 erotic “educational” films to be sold in Scandinavia, however, their fortunes change overnight. Unbeknownst to them both, Carmen becomes a porn star in the Nordic world, and when a Danish crew flies in to help Alfredo make an Ingmar Bergman-inspired feature film called Torremolinos 73, the pair find themselves pursuing careers in “show business.” But Carmen is also eager to have a baby, and slowly the tension between the artist and his muse grows.
- On Sunday, June 3 at 2:30 pm. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Antonio Méndez Esparza, Spain/U.S., 2017, 114 minutes. In English. Watch trailer.
Winner of the John Cassavetes Award at 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards, Spanish-born filmmaker Antonio Méndez Esparza’s (Aquí y Allá) compassionate gaze turns to the everyday life of an African-American family in northern Florida, and their struggle to stay afloat in a society that marginalizes them. Regina (Regina Williams) lives with her teenage son, Andrew (Andrew Bleechington), and her four-year-old daughter, Ry’nesia (Ry’nesia Chambers). As a single working mom, having a life beyond her job at the diner and her kids is difficult, especially as Andrew rejects any men who enter her life. Méndez Esparza’s observational style and use of nonprofessional actors fosters a naturalism that brings home the complex relationship between mother and son. Set against the backdrop of the Trump presidential election, Life and nothing More is a resonant statement about race, class and gender.
- On Sunday, June 3 at 4:45 pm. Q&A with Filmmaker Gustavo Salmerón. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Gustavo Salmerón, Spain, 2017, 90 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.
Spanish actor Gustavo Salmerón steps behind the camera to capture the winsome eccentricities of his extraordinary mother Julita, who had three dreams: having lots of kids, owning a monkey and living in a castle. Drawing upon material compiled over many years and on many formats, Salmerón’s feature directorial debut is a winsome, freewheeling family portrait, which won the 2018 Goya Award for Best Documentary. The fundamental dynamics of the Salmerón clan will resonate, while their eccentricities, especially those of its larger-than-life matriarch Julita, will astonish and delight. Basking in Julita’s inexhaustible playfulness, her unabashed attraction to all manner of objects and her boundless love for her kin, Salmerón has created a boisterous, hilarious, profoundly affectionate film that penetrates the core of what it means to hold on to a sense of wonder.
- On Sunday, June 3 at 7 pm. Buy tickets.
- Directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet, Spain/UK, 2017, 111 minutes. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. Watch trailer.