The Spanish film industry has experienced a certain level of success, especially in the global market, thanks to the likes of Almodóvar and Amenábar. However, the industry in Spain is much less reliant on big budget movies like in the UK and the United States, leaving more room for alternative themes and niche topics. Our appetite for foreign films has been growing over the last decade, and here are the top six from Spain you should definitely see in 2016.
Fans of action thrillers will want to check out this new release coming to Spanish cinemas this year. It is highly likely that it will be released at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, though it does not yet have a set release date. The film takes places in the space of 48 hours, in which ex-convict Mario Casas receives a visit from his estranged brother whom he hasn’t seen in five years; meanwhile Mario has been trying to put together his life again after prison. His brother needs his help paying off considerable debt to a gangster who could prove troublesome. The director had notable success with the release of his first film back in 2011 called Eva, and has caused waves in Spain this year as fans await the release of his new feature. Not to be missed.
Cien Años De Perdón (A Hundred Years Of Forgiveness)
Recently released in Spanish cinemas, this thriller recounts the tense events of a robbery that takes place in a bank in Valencia, led by ‘El Uruguayo’ (the Uruguayan) and three other men. What should have been an easy and swift bank robbery, of as many safety boxes as possible, becomes much more complicated when the central office reveals important secrets, and the gang’s real plans. A particular box, 314, holds some very important information. The film turns more tense as the gang attempt to escape the bank, but their plans change for the worse. A must-see for those who like suspense, tension and action.
Esa Sensación (That Feeling)
Fans of surrealist cinema are in with a treat with this new release from Cavestany. Having previously produced alternative films with only a video camera, his works have made the rounds on the international film circuit such as Seville and Rotterdam. Cavestany is a director who explores personal and emotional stories, and the inevitable feelings that intertwine with their experiences. The film ties together three seemingly unrelated stories, in which the individuals become infected with bizarre illnesses, which leads them to behave, speak, and think irregularly. The piece encourages reflection, as we observe the mix of emotions each individual experiences. At times the film is outrageous, yet still extremely enjoyable.
El Olivo (The Olive Tree)
Undoubtedly one of the most heartwarming films of 2016, El Olivo, adapted from an original novel, depicts the intimate story of a grandfather and granddaughter, in which the young girl embarks on the ambitious task of finding a thousand-year-old olive tree, which had previously been sold off by the family due to economic hardship. As a result, Alma’s grandfather had stopped talking for many years, and subsequently stopped eating. Alma is passionate about returning the tree to its original place, and manages to get the whole town involved in the fight. The message of this film is simple – that family is everything – and it’s clear that Alma cares deeply for the welfare of her grandfather, and little else matters.
Technically, filming for this new production by recent award-winner Pablo Berger doesn’t start until May, however it would be unfair not to raise awareness for this dark comedy, to be filmed in Madrid and Navarre by the Bilbao-born director. He recently won a Goya (the Spanish Oscar equivalent) for his previous production of Blancanieves (Snow White), meaning his new film will be truly anticipated in 2017. The plot encapsulates hints of drama, science fiction, and suspense, when a Madrid housewife discovers that her husband is possessed by an evil spirit and does all she can to get her husband back. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled!
Cerca De Tu Casa (Close To Your Home)
Eviction is not normally a topic that asks for musical accompaniment, but such is the innovation in the Spanish film industry. The Catalan Eduard Cortés director deals with the current housing situation in Spain, where a young woman, Sonia, and her family are evicted from their home. They have no other option but to move back in with Sonia’s parents – a very real situation for many young Spaniards. This makes for a stressed and overcrowded situation where the musical dimension elicits a further emotional resonance for the audience.