18th Spanish Film Festival | London 2022

September 18th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

The London Spanish Film Festival kicks off at the Ciné Lumière and Riverside Studios for its 18th edition from September 22-29 . An opportunity to catch the latest Spanish films that may not get a general release in UK cinemas.

DONDE ACABA LA MEMORIA – Where Memory Ends (2021)
dir. Pablo Romero Fresco, with Ian Gibson, Carlos Saura, Mike Dibb, Román Gubern | Spain | doc | 63 min | cert. PG | In Spanish with English subtitles | UK premiered

In 1933 the young filmmaker Luis Buñuel traveled to Las Hurdes, an isolated and extremely poor region in central Spain, to film his surrealistic documentary Land without Bread. 85 years later hispanist and biographer Ian Gibson does the same trip as part of his work of recovering the most recent historical memory of Spain through the biographies of the country’s famous artists Buñuel, Dalí and Lorca. Gibson’s trip will end in Granada, where the search of Lorca’s remainings seems to be coming to an end.

Followed by an on-stage conversation with filmmaker Pablo Romero Fresco and documentary-maker Mike Dibb.

Sat 24 Sep | 4.15pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

ALEGRIA dir. Violeta Salama, with Cecilia Suárez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Sarah Perles, Laia Manzanares, Joe Manjón | Spain/USA | 2021 | col | 105 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish and Berber languages with English subtitles

Alegría lives in the Southern city of Melilla has been trying to distancing herself for her Jewish background when the arrival of her niece brings the past flooding back. Will this be the time to reconcile with her own daughter, who she hasn’t seen for years and is now living in Israel – and a mother herself? Inspired by the director’s own experience, Alegría is a film by and about women, their friendship and understanding beyond religion and culture as well as the conflicts and contradictions within.

Tue 27 Sep | 8.50pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

ESPIRITU SAGRADO | The Sacred Spirit – 2021 by Chema García Ibarra, with Nacho Fernández, Llum Arques, | Spain/France/Turkey | 2021 |  97 min | In Spanish with English subtitles

When Julio, the leader of an UFOlogists association in Elche dies unexpectedly, it falls to José Manuel take over his work. Meanwhile, everyone in Elche is looking for a girl who has gone missing. Exquisitely framed, García Ibarra’s debut feature film is uncomfortably amusing and defies expectations in a terrific way.

Preceded by the short SUELTA | Loose
by Javier Pereira, with Olivia Baglivi, Javier Ballesteros, Maria Jáimez | Spain | 2022 | col | 19 min | In Spanish with English subtitles

With a solid and long acting career, Javier Pereira moves to the other side of the camera and surprises us with Suelta, his first short, a dark story about trust and preconceptions that won’t leave you indiferent.

Wed 28 Sep | 8.30pm | £13, conc. £11, under 25 – £6.50 | Riverside Studios

LA CASA ENTRE LOS CACTUS – The House among the Cactuses – 2022 dir. Carlota González-Adrio, with Daniel Grao, Ariadna Gil, Ricardo Gómez | Spain | 88 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles

Emilio and Rosa have created a dream family living with their five daughters in an isolated valley in the Canary Islands. But the past comes back to haunt them in this tense debut feature based on Paul Penn’s novel Desert Flowers

Followed by a Q&A with lead actor Daniel Grao
Wed 28 Sep | 8.30pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

SOLO UNA VEZ – Just Once (2021) dir. Guillermo Rios Bordón, with Ariadna Gil, Alex García, Silvia Alonso | Spain | 2021 | col | 80 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles

Laura is a psychologist working with victims of gender violence, and harassed by the husband of one of her patients in this subtle and stylish psychological thriller.

Thu 29 Sep | 6.20pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

CERDITA – Piggy (2022) dir. Carlota Pereda, with Claudia Salas, Carmen Machi, Pilar Castro | Spain | 2022 | col | 90 min | cert. 18 | In Spanish with English subtitles | Special preview courtesy of Vertigo Films

Pereda’s formidable debut rifs on adolescence insecurities and delivers a grisly and ferocious psychological horror film which premiered at Sundance Film Festival this year. It sees Sara, an overweight teenager, become the victim of constant bullying by the other girls until the arrival of a mysterious stranger in the village.

Thu 29 Sep | 8.40pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière


SIS DIES CORRENTS – Seis dias corrientes | The Odd-Job Men
dir. Neus Ballús, with Mohamed Mellali, Valero Escolar, Pep Sarrà | Spain | 2021 | col | 85 min | cert. PG | In Catalan, Spanish and Berber languages with English subtitles

Neus Ballús third feature film is an original and deadpan docudrama that follows the  working days of three handymen from different cultural backgrounds in the Catalan capital. Entertaining and times hilarious in its depiction of ordinary life.

Thu 22 Sep | 6.30pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière Sun 25 Sep | 8.40pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

dir. Benito Zambrano, with Elia Galera, Eva Martín, Mariona Pagès, Tommy Schlesser, Pere Arquillué | Spain/Luxembourg | 2021 | col | 118 min | cert. PG | UK premiere | English and Spanish with English subtitles

This moving reflection on loyalty and the ties that bind is set in small-town Mallorca where two estranged sisters, Anna and Marina will uncover all sorts of skeletons in the cupboard when they are forced to sell a local bakery. Anna has barely left the island and is unhappy in her marriage, Marina works as a doctor for an NGO in Africa.

Fri 23 Sep | 6.15pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

MEDITERRANEO – Mediterraneo: The Law of the Sea
dir. Marcel Barrena, with Eduard Fernández, Anna Castillo, Dani Rovira, Sergi López | Spain/Luxembourg | 2021 | col | 112 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In English and Spanish with English subtitles

Autumn 2015. Two Catalan lifeguards, Oscar and Gerard, travel to the Greek island of Lesbos after seeing the heart-wrenching photograph of a little boy drowned in the Mediterranean. When they arrive the shocking reality is much worse: thousands of people are risking their lives everyday trying to cross the sea in the most precarious of vessels, fleeing from armed conflicts and other miseries in their home countries. And nobody is doing any rescue work. Based on real facts and real people, Barrena’s multi-awarded film invites us to think about what can be done when a crisis hits from political, social and human standpoints.

Sat 24 Sep | 6.30pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière


dir. Icíar Bollaín, with Blanca Portillo, Luis Tosar, Bruno Sevilla | Spain | 2021 | col | 115 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish and Basque witn English subtitles

In 2000, Maixabel Lasa’s husband, Juan María Jáuregui, was killed by the terrorist organisation ETA. Eleven years later she receives a message from one of the men who killed Juan: he wants to meet with her in the Nanclares de la Oca prison in Álava, where he is serving his sentence after breaking ties with the terrorist group. Based on the inspiring true story of a brave woman whom, after losing her husband at ETA’s hands, decided to take a step towards a peaceful coexistence by agreeing to meet the imprisoned terrorist responsible for her husband’s death.

Followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Icíar Bollaín
Wed 28 Sep | 6.00pm | £13, conc. £11, under 25 – £6.50 | Riverside Studios

ERASE UNA VEZ EN EUSKADI – Once Upon a Time in Euskadi
dir. Manu Gómez, with Asier Flores, Aitor Calderón, Miguel Rivera, Luis Callejo, Arón Piper, Yon González | Spain | 2021 | col | 101 min | cert. 15 | UK premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles

Euskadi 1985, and 12-year-old Marcos and his friends, José Antonio, Paquito and Toni are forced to face turbulent times of political violence and terrorism even though the  summer holidays are in full swing.

Preceded by the short HELTZEAR | Features
dir. Miguel Gurrea, with Haizea Oses, Mikel Arruti, Oier de Santiago | Spain | 2021 | col | 17 min | cert. PG | UK premiere | In Basque with English subtitles

San Sebastian, 2000. The Basque conflict is active. Sara, a fifteen-year-old girl, writes a letter to her absent brother as she trains for the most difficult clib of her life.

Sun 25 Sep | 6.40pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière


LA HIJA – The Daughter
dir. Manuel Martín Cuenca, with Javier Gutiérrez, Patricia López Arnaiz, Irene Virgüez | Spain | 2021 | 122 min | col | cert. 18 | In Spanish with English subtitles

Manuel Martín Cuenca explores the dark and sinister side of human nature in this atmospheric drama that centres around a pregnant teenager who has run away from a juvenile detention centre near Jaen.

Followed by a Q&A with producer and co-writer Alejandro Hernández Thu 22 Sep | 8.35pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

ESTIU 1993
Verano 1993 | Summer 1993
dir. Carla Simón, with Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí | Spain | 2017 | 97 min | col | cert. PG | In Catalan with English subtitles

Carla Simón’s spectacular debut feature is a beautifully crafted, sensitive drama about a six-year-old girl who goes to live with her Catalan family after her mother’s death.

dir. Juan Miguel del Castillo, with Natalia de Molina, Fred Tatien, Mona Martínez, Ignacio Mateos | Spain/Argentina | 2022 | 101 min | col | cert. 18 | In Spanish with English subtitles

When the body of a young girl is found inspector Manuel Bianquetti sets, despite the opposition of his superiors and coleagues, on a solitary crusade to find those responsible for the crime, which reminds him of his own troubled past. The only person who seems to be on his side is his neighbour, a fragile and distrustful nurse. Adapted from the bestselling novel by Benito Olmo and set in the city of Cádiz, Unfinished Affairs is a true noir full of misleading clues, revenge, corruption and bold decisions as well as a portrait of the harsh reality of gender-based aggression.

Followed by a Q&A (tbc)
Mon 26 Sep | 6.20pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière

dir. Emilio Belmonte, with Jorge Pardo, Chick Corea, Mark Guiliana, Niño Josele | France | 2021 | 98 min | doc | UK premiere | In English and Spanish with English subtitles

Trance follows Jorge Pardo, renowned flutist and saxophonist of Paco de Lucía’s sextet, on a journey to the heart of flamenco music. Pardo’s flamenco-jazz work is essential to understand the evolution of contemporary flamenco. Belmonte’s road movie contains some exceptional musical moments and captures Pardo’s conception of art as a way of life and life as art.

Tue 27 Sep | 6.20pm | £15, conc. £13 | Ciné Lumière


National Heritage
dir. Luis García Berlanga, with Luis Ciges, Luis Escobar, José Luis de Vilallonga, Amparo Soler Leal, Agustín González | Spain | 1981 | 112 min | cert. PG | In Spanish with English subtitles

After the death of Franco, the Marquis of Leguineche returns to Madrid from thirty years of voluntary exile in the countryside. From his palace he intends to approach the King to resume court life. Berlanga, with his usual sharp wit, explores how Spanish high society tries to invent itself after Franco’s era has ended.

18th Spanish Film Festival | London 2022 | 23 September


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