As has become usual in recent editions, the most independent, heterodox Spanish cinema will have a strong presence at the Seville European Film Festival (SEFF), which will be holding its 12th edition from 6th to 14th November. So, world premieres like those of Pozoamargo, Berserker, Amor Tóxico, La Extranjera, El nome de los árboles or the previously announced El tiempo de los monstruos, will share programming with notable national premieres such as those of O futebol, Dead Slow Ahead or La academia de las musas, which have captivated international critics after their screening at such prestigious festivals as Locarno. The New Spanish Cinema that gives identity to the SEFF’s line of work will be present again in Resistances and will have an award given by a jury consisting of members of the International Federation of Cinematic Press (FIPRESCI).
The new edition of the SEFF along with the University of Seville/CICUS is devoting a space to the study of Spanish cinema. Under the name ‘Other narratives of resistance. An approach to the new Spanish cinema’, this seminar will generate an exchange between directors and university students, though an approximation to the works by the new snipers of contemporary Spanish cinema. A series of activities and meetings with the filmmakers, with the intention of opening a space for reflections and debate on the trends that are drawing this new map of Spanish cinema.
The unique style of José Luis Guerín, National Film Award and winner of a Goya for Best Documentary for En construcción, a film that also won awards at San Sebastian and earned him the FIPRESCI award, is known and admired beyond Spain’s borders. His new film, La academia de las musas, mingles documentary and comedy, reflecting on the nature of love and its possible condition as a poetic invention. The film, with Raffaele Pinto, Mireia Iniesta, Rosa Delor Muns and Emanuela Forgetta, also has non-professional actors who insert conversations in Catalonian, Italian, Spanish and Sardinian. Set in the Faculty of Philology at the University of Barcelona, the story revolves around a class in which Pinto, who plays an Italian professor devoted to poetry and Dante, ends up establishing a kind of secret society with his female students in a circle that generates encounters and disagreements.
Another national premiere is also competing for the Gold Giraldillo. O futebol is the new documentary by the Brazilian now resident in Madrid, Sergio Oksman, the director who was produced by Elías Querejeta on six occasions and has a Goya in his curriculum thanks to his previous short film, Una historia para los Modlin. O futebol, developed and constructed jointly with Carlos Muguiro, was premiered at Locarno Festival, moves between two worlds to reflect Oksman’s reunion with his father on the occasion of the 2014 World Cup. The sport is shown here as the only possible means of communication between two people who, even though they belong to the same family, haven’t seen each other for 20 years and have very different codes and values.
This year there are three Spanish titles competing in New Waves: Berserker (Pablo Hernando) and Pozoamargo (Enrique Rivero), which will be world premieres, and Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce), which will be a national premiere.
The Hispano-Mexican filmmaker Enrique Rivero is coming to Seville with his third feature film, the first one shot in Spain, along with one of his leading actors, Natalia de Molina (Goya for Best Newcomer in 2014 for her role in Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados). After Parque Vía (which won the Golden Leopard in Locarno and also won awards at San Sebastian, among many other festivals) and Mai morire, in Pozoamargo Rivero tells the story of Jesús who, driven by a deep sense of guilt, decides to abandon his pregnant wife and flee to Pozoamargo where he meets Gloria (Natalia de Molina) with whom he will have a tortuous relationship while he decides to set out on his own particular descent into hell.
The work by Mauro Herce represents a new way of tackling the documentary. Selected for the Filmmakers of the Present section at the Locarno Film Festival, where he received a special mention, the Catalonian director is opening at SEFF his first feature length film as a director, Dead Slow Ahead, an astonishing work about life on board a cargo ship. For two and a half months, Herce traveled on a ship with seven holds, eight stories high and with a capacity of 76,000 tons. As director of photography he has worked on Arraianos (Eloy Enciso, 2012) and A puerta fría (Xavi Puebla, 2012), among other films, and he was a crew member on Stubborn (Une histoire américaine), by Armel Hostiou, which is also competing in the New Waves section.
Berserker, a mixture of genres (thriller, fantasy and a few touches of black humour), is the second feature film from the director Pablo Hernando, from Vitoria, after making Cabás, his first film in 2012. He is known for shorts such as Agustín del futuro (premiered in Sitges) and the webseries Menestra pimpollo. Among his actors are such notable names as Ingrid García Jonsson (nominated for the Goya for Hermosa juventud) and Julián Génisson (La tumba de Bruce Lee, Magical girl). Pablo Hernando completed financing for post-production on Berserker through crowdfunding.
Spanish cinema, in its most militant and independent version, will have total protagonism in Resistances, a section that for three years has been the platform and loudspeaker for independent film production born on the fringes of the industry. The consolidation of the so-called New Spanish Cinema will again have an award presented by a jury made up from critics from FIPRESCI (International Federation of Cinematic Press).
In 2014, Ramón Lluís Bande won the award thanks to his laconic and moving Equí y n’otru tiempu, a tribute to the hundreds of Asturian resistance fighters murdered between 1937 and 1952. Faithful to the festival, Bande is back at SEFF this year with El nome de los árboles, an enthralling rigorous investigation of a series of crimes committed during the post-war years that were never fully solved. The author of books such as De la vida de les piedres or Habitaciones vacíes, and the director of films such as El fulgor, Ramón Lluís Bande has also left his mark on the musical scene, recording two albums with Nacho Vegas, Diariu y Diariu dos.
In La ciudad del trabajo, Guillermo G. Peydró combines fragments of audio appropriated from films from the Francoist era with images of the Universidad Laboral, one of the buildings most representative of the dictatorial regime’s architecture, along with the Valle de los Caídos. The filmmaker, a Doctor in History of Art and co-programmer of the Punto de Vista International Festival, offers a film fresco in which he puts voice and sound to a place which was originally intended to provide an education for children whose fathers were killed in accidents in the mines and which has now been transformed into the Ciudad de Cultura. La ciudad del trabajo was shown at the FIDMarseille Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious documentary festivals.
The veteran critic and film professor, Luis Aller, directed Transeúntes which competed in the official section of the Argentinean BAFICI. This film narrates a frantic journey through Barcelona made with more than two decades of filming poured into over 6,000 shots. Such popular faces as those of María Galiana, Sergi López and Santiago Ramos share scenes in this overwhelming, hypnotic film.
Ann Perelló, winner of the Best Actress at the European Independent Film Festival for her role inOtel•lo (Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font), which had its world premiere at SEFF in 2012, and Edu Ferrés, seen in series like Amar es para siempre or La pecera de Eva, are the leading couple in Amor tóxico, seventh feature film from the Cantabrian director Norberto Ramos del Val. This politically incorrect romantic comedy, preceded by Muertos comunes (2004), Hienas (2009), El último fin de semana (2011), Summertime(2012) and Faraday (2013), premiered at the Sitges Festival, is written by Toni Junyent and Pablo Vázquez, who are also film critics.
Language and landscape as doors into a new life. Eloy Domínguez Serén (Jet lag) tells of his move to Sweden, where he went to try his luck in 2012. Shown this year at the Swiss festival Visions du Réel, No Cow on the Ice is the new feature from this young director who, moved by chance, spends his time filming the people and places around him.
Víctor Hugo Seoane also puts life at the centre of his debut feature, Verengo, a film that investigates the passing of time through a family recording. In his film, the director disentangles the mysteries of the cycle of life.
The soul of the band Manos de Topo, Miguel Ángel Blanca, directed La extranjera, a disturbing film about invasive tourism in Barcelona. A story in the form of collage which, working from the mysterious disappearance of a young female tourist abducted by a psychopath, shows in “stolen poses” the daily life of the city invaded by an army of zombies who stand in line at any museum and/or monument wielding selfie sticks.
It should be mentioned that the Deluxe company will give two awards consisting of a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) valued at 6,000 euros to the winning film in the Resistances Section and to one of the Spanish directors participating in the Official Section or in New Waves.
SPANISH CINEMA OUT OF COMPETITION
Out of competition, as we previously announced on our website, and at a special gala along with the leading actors Javier Cámara and Candela Peña, Félix Sabroso will present the world premiere of El tiempo de los monstruos, his new film, the script for which was co-written with Dunia Ayaso shorlty before her death. Dunia Ayaso was an essential part of the tandem, and the author of films like La isla interior or El grito en el cielo.
Resistances includes in its programming two short films out of competition: Eco and Agosto sin ti. Xacio Baño continues his investigation into domestic worlds with his fourth documentary, Eco, presented in Locarno. The film delves into the family memory of the actor Xose Barato as a result of the latter’s invitation to film the move from and dismantling of his mother’s house.
The collective Las chicas de Pasaik (Maider Fernández, María Elorza), shows in Agosto sin ti, through small videos, the way two friends share a time that, in fact, they haven’t spent together: their holidays in the month of August.
The Special Screening section is showing two Spanish films in which the late lamented Carlos Álvarez Novoa appears: El nudista, by Alejandro Philip Waudby, University of Seville European Film Award (the previous winner, Pueblo –Elena López Riera-, had its world premiere at Cannes this year), which will be presented with a work print, and La novia, an adaptation of the tragedy in verse and prose, Bodas de Sangre, by Federico García Lorca, recently shown at San Sebasian, and directed by Paula Ortiz with the participation of the actors Inma Cuesta, Asier Etxeandía, Álex García and Manuela Vellés.