Posts Tagged ‘Tilda Swinton’

London Spanish Film Festival 2021

London Spanish Film Festival
10th Spring Weekend 28 – 30 May 2021

The 10th Spring Weekend of the London Spanish Film Festival is back full of energy and positive vibes setting the mood for an exciting 17th edition in September.

You’ll find the latest film by veteran Fernando Trueba, three decent debuts from women filmmakers, a hopeful and moving reflexion on what life is and a special screening of the latest treat from Maestro Almodóvar.

LAS NIÑAS  | Schoolgirls

Dir. Pilar Palomero | with Andrea Fandos, Natalia de Molina, Zoe Arnao | Spain | 2020 | 97 min | cert. 15 | London premiere | In Spanish with English subtitles

Celia is an 11-year-old girl studying at a nun’s school in 1992. She’s a responsible student and a considerate daughter but the arrival of a new classmate will open a little window Celia is willing to look out from to discover about the outside world. Together with her group of friends she’ll give her first steps into adolescence and first-times even if that means confronting her mother and questioning everything that meant comfort and security. The film has won several awards among which Best Film, Best New Director, Best Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay Goya Awards.

Fri 28 May | 6.30pm | £13, conc. £11

EL OLVIDO QUE SEREMOS Memories of My Father

Dir. Fernando Trueba, with Javier Cámara, Nicolás Reyes Cano, Juan Pablo Urrego | Colombia | 2020 | 136 min | cert. PG | In Spanish, Italian and English with English subtitles | Distributed by Curzon

Trueba’s latest film tells the story of Héctor Abad Gómez, one of Colombia’s most beloved national heroes, through the eyes of his son. He balances a nuanced portrait of Abad Gómez’s family life in Medellín and the harsh reality of the country in the turbulent 1970s and 1980s, in which corruption is common and the government cannot be criticised. Based on the book written by Abad Gómez’s son, Memories of My Father is a memorable work, a love story and the portrait of a man fighting for the basic human rights of his people: food, water and adequate shelter.

Fri 28 May | 8.35pm | £13, conc. £11 Sat 29 May | 5.50pm | £13, conc. £11

LA VOZ HUMANAThe Human Voice

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, with Tilda Swinton | Spain | 2020 | 30 min | cert. PG | In English and Spanish with English subtitles

Jean Cocteau wrote The Human Voice in 1928 and, since then, many artists have staged or filmed their own vision of this woman’s dramatic moments after her lover of the last few years leaves her to get married with to another woman. Almodóvar’s stunning version brings to The Human Voice his sense of aesthetics, of rhythm and his peculiar, subtle sense of humour, making the pièce his own. Chameleonic Swinton, in what seems a wonderful and perfect tuning with Almodóvar, captures the essence of his style bringing to it some delightful British exquisiteness. A must.

The film will be followed by a 40 min video-Q&A with Pedro Almodóvar and Tilda Swinton with Mark Kermode. It will be preceded by a video-presentation by Prof. Maria Delgado

Sat 29 May | 4.15pm | £13, conc. £11

LA INNOCÈNCIA | La inocencia | The Innocence

Dir. Lucia Alemany | with Carmen Arrufat, Laia Marull, Sergi López, Joel Bosqued | Spain | 2019 | 92 min | cert. 15 | London premiere | In Catalan and Spanish with English subtitles

Lis is a teenager whose dream is to become a circus artist and go traveling. While she knows she’ll have to confront her parents and fight for it, she spends the summer playing around with her friends and with her boyfriend, a few years older than herself and the relationship with whom she tries to keep hidden from the constant gossip of the neighbours. Lucia Alemany’s impressive first feature film is a fresh coming-of-age story that captures perfectly the rural and festive mood without losing any realism nor honesty.

Sat 29 May | 8.45pm | £13, conc. £11


Dir: Nuria Giménez | Spain | 2019 | 73 min | cert. PG | London premiere | In English

Giménez’s debut film offers, through archive footage of home made movies, a glimpse into the life of a wealthy European couple, Léon and Vivian Barrett, after WW2 and up to the 1960s. The quality of the footage is superb and is accompanied by text from Vivian’s diary offering details of their lives, her thoughts, gossip… Mesmerising and compelling, this is a clever work of direction and of editing by Giménez, and has won her, among others, the Found Footage Award at the Internation Film Festival of Rotterdam last year.

Sun 30 May | 6.10pm | £13, conc. £11


Dir. David Martín de los Santos, with Petra Martínez, Anna Castillo, Florin Piersic Jr., Ramón Barea | Spain/Belgium | 2020 | 109 min | cert. PG | UK premiere | In Spanish and French with English subtitles

When María and Verónica end up meeting and sharing a hospital room in Belgium, the only thing they have in common is that they are Spaniards who came to work to this country with the hope to find more opportunities than back at home. Slowly a bond grows between them and one of them will start a journey to Almería, where the roots of the other are, initially to meet her family, finally to discover principles beyond those on which she had based her whole life. The film is poignant in his humble and intimate approach. The subtly nuanced acting of Petra Martínez in the lead role as a woman pushing herself out of the boundaries of the role in which she felt confined, adds emotion to this wonderful film.

Sun 30 May | 7.55pm | £13, conc. £11


Orlando (1992) **** re-release

Orlando - Tilda SwintonDirector/Writer: Sally Potter | Cast: Tilda Swinton, Bill Zane, Quentin Crisp, Jimmy Somerville, Toby Jones, Simon Russell Beale | 94min   Fantasy Drama  UK

Sally Potter’s inventive, vibrant and visually sumptuous adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel is the ideal vehicle for Tilda Swinton’s versatility as the metrosexual maverick poet and nobleman Orlando, who is commanded by Elizabeth I to stay eternally young. If you could only have one auteu film in your timecapsule or desert island retreat, make it this one.

The story is endlessly fascinating and enduring, engaging modern audiences with its androgynous allure and sexual enigma. The characters are exotic and compelling. The costumes and set pieces are magnificent.  In short it is a love-letter to England’s rich language and literature. MT





















The Souvenir (2018) *****

Dir/Wri: Joanna Hogg | Tilda Swinton, Tom Burke, Honour Swinton Byrne | Drama UK | 100′

Joanna Hogg is the only living female filmmaker who portrays a particular English contemporary milieu. Usually creative, invariably white and well-educated, these characters are liberal in outlook and mostly live in London. With such unique sensibilities and vision she is able to understand and convey as certain type of middle class angst (borne out of having to do the right thing, irrespective of personal choice). She did it gracefully in Unrelated (2007), Archipelago (2010) and Exhibition (2013), And she does it peerlessly again here with The Souvenir, a nuanced and delicately drawn story of addiction and strained relationships that very much echoes its time and place: the late 1980s – although it was inspired and takes its name from  Fragonard’s painting, a motif that runs through the film.

This all revolves around Julie, a dark horse and an English rose (earnestly played by Tilda Swinton’s daughter Honour Swinton Byrne) who is tentatively making a career for herself in film school while awkwardly becoming involved with her first proper boyfriend. Clearly she is talented but lacks real confidence – both in love and in life – largely due to a repressed English background. Although her mother is loving and wonderful there are clear hints that certain things were simply not discussed at home, but still waters nevertheless run deep on the feelings front. Hogg relies on an improvisational approach, stripping away clichés to distill the emotional content of each scene, often with minimal dialogue and relying on body language and atmosphere. 

Women of that era will remember the silent voids during a date where the silence spoke volumes, often marking the beginning or the end of another tortuous romance with a man who could not express himself, and chose merely to back away and then reappear with pleadings and desperate often incoherent bids to meet again. Often covering this with bluster and demeaning put-downs, Tom Burke gives a priceless performance as Anthony, a man whose emotional range does Attila the Hun a disservice when it comes to affairs of the heart. “You’re a freak. You’ll always be last,” he tells Julie. And Hogg is clearly mining these fraught memories too with this doomed romantic pairing.

Julie presses on undeterred, internalising her feelings, and clearly drawn to public school Anthony through some atavistic genetic link. Because he purports to be ‘from the right background’ – he is clearly approved of by her parents – the very mild-mannered Tilda and her on screen husband.William. One of of the best scenes sees Richard Ayoade playing a ‘cutting edge’ filmmaker and deftly spilling the beans that Anthony is a heroin addict. “I find doing heroin to be mainstream behaviour,” he jokes to a rather bewildered Julie. And we discover she’s funding his habit with donations gleaned from her mother, who does seem alarmed at Julie’s rising expenditure for film-school supplies. In a caddish moment Anthony even roughs up Julie’s Notting Hill flat, faking a burglary to raise funds for his addiction. Drugs make psychopaths and monsters of addicts. And Julie is a victim too, of love. But she keeps a stiff upper lip. Endearing scenes with her parents are a triumph in their candid intimacy, and make us reflect on the placid generosity of the British. 

Julie and Anthony share a deceptively satisfying sex life behind closed doors, shown in 16mm-styled footage that follows them on an impromptu romantic break to Venice, funded unflinchingly by Julie. She epitomises the female lack of confidence of that era, back-footed by her desire to appear cool and inclusive when pitching for a film school project, and desperate to fit in with the others. She emerges lonely and rather misunderstood, though keen to do the right thing. And the comforting presence of her concerned on screen mother resonates throughout, you stifle a snigger when she utters the words: “Anthony was taken ill in the Wallace Collection”. 

Joanna Hogg will soon embark on the second part of this semi-biopic affair with Robert Pattinson joining the cast. The story of a young filmmaker finally making her way is something to look forward to. MT


Suspiria (2018) ***

Dir.: Luca Guadagnino, Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Cloe Grace Moretz, Lutz Ebersdorf; USA/Italy 2018, 152 min.

Luca Guadagnino follows his much praised Call Me By Your Name with a rather confused and overloaded vision of Dario Argento’s horror classic, using the original script by Argento and Daria Nicoldi, re-written by David Kajganich (A Bigger Splash). 

Unfortunately the Kajganich has added new material, setting the narrative in Berlin at the height of the Baader Meinhof crisis. A running time of 152 minutes also tests the audience severely.

In the dank Autumn of 1977, Susie Bannian (Johnson) arrives from Ohio at the famous Dance School TANZ, near the Wall in West Berlin. There is an unsettling atmosphere at the academy, the two leading teachers Blanc (a luminously sinuous Swinton) and Markos are fighting for supremacy, the conflict a battle of life and death. Susie soon becomes the lead dancer, relegating Patricia (Moretz) and Sara (Goth) to the lower echelons of the troupe.

When dancers start to disappear, the sinister infighting turns more and more bloody. Enter Dr. Joseph Klemperer (Swinton in a miraculous double act spoof), a relict from WWII, who is still searching for his Jewish wife sent to the Concentration Camp Teresienstadt, where she was killed. The psychiatrist feels deep guilt over her death. As the nastiness at the Academy unfurls, a Witches’ Coven is uncovered and Klemperer’s role becomes more and more murky – in tune with this muddled affair. 

DoP Sayonbhu Mukdeeprom creates magnificently macabre images, but in the long run this is not enough to save Suspiria from emerging an awkward mixture of two films, both competing for our attention. The acting is also mixed, with Swinton being head and shoulders above the rest (quite literally) in achieving visionary eminence. In the end the German history lesson loses out to the horror strand, but the brake comes too late. A needless remake where less would have been so much more. AS


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