Home Spanish Happy days: the Spanish Film Festival is back!

Happy days: the Spanish Film Festival is back!

by Bernard O'Shea

The 2021 Spanish Film Festival, which starts in Australia this week, is here to make up for lost time. Of the big three Romance language film festivals in Australia, the Spanish one was worst hit by COVID in 2020, being cancelled entirely, whereas its French and Italian cousins put in disrupted appearances.

But we haven’t lost out entirely. The 2021 Spanish Film Festival will be a ‘best of the past two years’ selection, bringing some films that were slated for last year’s event plus the current crop. In total there will be 29 films – 20 from Spain and nine from Latin America – at Palace Cinemas and associated venues in seven cities. The festival lasts almost three weeks, but even so Apúrate, ¡Que esperas! Hurry, get in quick! El tiempo vuela. Time flies. 

Here’s the official trailer, featuring lots of dramatic expressions but saving the words for later. It looks like fun – something we need in these gloomy times.

One to put at the top of your wish list

One film I’ve seen already and can wholeheartedly recommend is La Lista de los Deseos (Wishlist), starring one of Spain’s most loved actresses, Victoria Abril. That’s her pictured at the top of this post, on the left in a dark wig. alongside co-star María León in the turban. The head gear is significant – the two strike up a friendship while having breast cancer treatment and having to endure nauseating bouts of chemotherapy. Unsure of their future, they draw up a list of the three things they’d like to do most before time runs on them. With the help of another friend, they hire a van and set off on a road trip around Spain and across to Morocco to live out their fantasies.

La Lista de los Deseos is a very funny and poignant film, one that makes you feel good to be alive while tackling some of the more confronting issues in life. It examines both the joy and hurt that people can inflict on others. It had the audience in stiches of laughter yet at times brought tears to my eyes. Or, more accurately, tears to my left eye. It was weird – my right eye remained stoically dry, my left one was very emotional. Does the left side of the brain respond to tragedy and the right side revel in comedy?

More importantly, the film makes us realise that life and time is precious. What are the three things you’d want to do in your remaining time on Earth? Don’t dilly-dally. El tiempo pasa volando.

2021 Spanish Film Festival details

The full program and a description of each film can be found here, the participating cinemas here. Dates are

  • Sydney: April 20 to May 9
  • Canberra: April 21 to May 9
  • Melbourne: April 22 to May 9
  • Adelaide: April 27 to May 16
  • Brisbane: April 28 to May 16
  • Perth: April 28 to May 16
  • Byron Bay: April 29 to May 12

We will have more on the festival in coming days. M5R

Photo: Julio Vergne/Spanish Film Festival

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