Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
SPANISH CINEMA NOW 2010
(December 10th to 23rd)
Over the past two decades, Spanish Cinema Now has accompanied the wonderful renaissance of Spanish filmmaking, with a number of films in this year's program reflecting the recent commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, not only in their setting but also indirectly through their atmoshere and characters. One of the longest-running series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, this year's edition also includes a tribute to Agusti Villaronga, one of Spanish cinema's most affecting (and darkest) filmmakers, as well as a rare opportunity to see a masterpiece of the "exiled" Spanish cinema, On the Empty Balcony, courtesy of the Filmoteca Espanola.
Spanish Cinema Now is presented in collaboration with the Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Instituto Cervantes of New York.
EVEN THE RAIN (Tambien la lluvia)
Directed by: Iciar Bollain
Running time: 104 min.
Release date: February 18, 2011
Genre: Drama in Spanish language with English subtitles
Distributor: Vitagraph Films
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Filmmaker Sebastian (Gael Garcia Bernal) arrives in Cochabamba, Bolvia accompanied by a cast and crew ready to make a film about Christopher Columbus's (Karra Elejalde) first voyage to the New World and the sebsequent subjugation of the indigenous population. Sebastan wants to focus on the experience of Bartolome de las Casas and Antonio de Montesinos, who was so distraught over the treatment of the natives that he dedicated the rest of his life to their cause. His producer Costa (Luis Tosar) has chosen Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, because it makes sense economically. Extras are willing to work long hours for just two dollars a day.
The subplot of this film is set in February and March 2000, when protest break out daily in the town in response to the government's decision to privatize the water company. The cost of water goes up by three hundred percent. This interferes with the production of the film and is counter-productive to the low cost of the project.
Sebastian casts local man Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) in the role of Hatuey, the Taino chief who led a rebellion against the Spaniards who invaded their land (the New World). Daniel is also one of the leaders in the demonstrations against the water hikes. Intercutting footage of Sebastian's film with recordings of the actual protests, the lines between fiction and reality, past and present, are efficiently intertwined and blurred.
This brilliant film draws subtle parallels between the exploitation of the past and the continued exploitation of Latin America by richer countries and multinational corporations. The supporting cast who give great performances includes Carlos Santos as Bratolme de las Casas, Raul Arevalo as Juan de Montesinos and Najwa Nimri as Isabella I of Castile.
ARO TOLBUKHIN: THE MIND OF THE KILLER
(Aro Tolbukhin: En la mente del asesino)
Directed by: Isaac-Pierre Racine, Agusti Villaronga and Lydia Zimmermann
Running time: 95 min.
Genre: Drama in Spanish and French with English subtitles
The extraordinary story of a Hungarian seamen Aro Tolbukhin (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) who possibly fabricates a murder spree in Guatemala. The story is told through documentary footage and dramatic sequences in this journey into the dark imagination of a psychopath.
Most of the story is told in a combination of black and white, and color film by Sister Carmen (Carmen Beato). She is the nun in Guatemala who nurse Aro back to health after he landed in her clinic. While he stayed at the clinic during the Spanish military takeover of the 1980s, Sister Carmen became too close with him. This relationship between the two caused rumors and resulted in a conflict in her religious order.
The meat of the film is the backstory of young Aro's (Aram Gonzalez and Zoltan Jozan) dysfunctional beginnings with his twin sister Selma (Eva Fortea and Mariona Castillo) and their incestial relationship. As their single parent father (Jesus Ramos) stayed away on business trips, the twins were left alone with a servant. This laid out the foundation of why Aro became a serial killer.
This emerging narrative is intriguing.