Sydney Times


MY MASTERPIECE-Spanish Film Festival

Written by Aksel Ritenis




Following on from his 2016 Goya Award-winning The Distinguished Citizen, director Gastón Duprat delivers this crowd-pleasing comedy-thriller that follows the complex relationship of a cranky painter and a crafty gallery owner in Buenos Aires.

Self-fixated artist Renzo (Luis Brandoni) and sly art dealer Arturo (Guillermo Francella, The Clan SFF15, The Secret in Their Eyes 2009) have worked with each other for a very long time. From Renzo’s best days in the 1980s to the present, where he’s behind on the lease of his bedraggled home, littered with the vast, beautiful canvases he continues creating. An accident brings them closer together again, triggering a string of forgeries, friendships and fatalities that will culminate in a twist no one could anticipate.

Expert veteran performers Francella and Brandoni are at their best in Argentinian Duprat’s fifth film which screened to a warm reception out of competition at last year’s Venice Film Festival with its delightful portrayal of the uglier side of the art business.


2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival Poster

Presented by Palace, the 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival features 32 films from Spain and Latin America, including special presentations and events, innovative documentaries, and a spotlight on female directors.

Screening nationally in Australia from 16 April, the 22nd edition of the festival features two key programme strands:  New Spanish Cinema and Cine Latino.

Opening with Javier Fesser’s critically acclaimed Goya Award-winning box office smash hit CHAMPIONS (Campeones), the festival will close with a digital restoration of the firecracker comedy WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), directed by leading Spanish auteur, Pedro Almodóvar, to celebrate the film’s 30th Anniversary.  THE REALM (El reino) will screen as Special Presentation in which acting heavyweight Antonio De la Torre is reunited with director Rodrigo Sorogoyen (May God Save Us, SFF17), for an award-winning political thriller.

Bringing the best of Spanish cinema to the festival is the  New Spanish Cinemaprogramme including: A MARCH TO REMEMBER (Vitoria, 3 de Marzo), a recreation of real-life events from 3 March 1976 when a general strike was called in the Spanish city of Vitoria and five workers were murdered by the central government; BETWEEN TWO WATERS (Entre Dos Aguas), Isaki Lacuesta’s Gaudi Award-winning film featuring performances by real-life siblings Israel Gómez Romero and Francisco José Gómez Romero; Fernando Bernués’ THE ACCORDIONIST’S SON (El hijo del acordeonista), based on the novel by Bernardo Atxaga about two men forced to face their past during the Basque separatist movement of the 1960s; and THE FOOTBALLEST (Los Futbolísimos), a romping adventure based on the popular top-selling Spanish adventure novels of the same name, directed by Miguel Ángel Lamata. Suitable for the whole family.

Two documentaries will screen at this edition: PERET: THE KING OF GYPSY RUMBA (Peret, yo soy la rumba), Paloma Zapata’s portrait of Pere Pubill Calaf, whose flamenco career spanned six decades; and VIRGIN AND EXTRA: JAEN, THE LAND OF THE OLIVE OIL  (Jaén, virgen y extra), a film revelling in the hidden beauty of one of Spain’s lesser-known provinces with a delectable tale about olive oil from Goya-award-winning director José Luis López-Linares. Moro Olive Oil will host masterclasses and tastings at select screenings of this film in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Highlights from the Cine Latino programme presented in association with Monash University, featuring the best new films from Mexico, Central and South America, include: TREMORS (Tremblores) following on from his 2015 Berlinale prize-winning Ixcanul, Guatemalan writer-director Jayro Bustamante presents his second feature about a married father of two – played by Juan Pablo Olyslager – who reveals that he is love with a man; SUPER CRAZY (Re loca) which boasts a lead performance bursting with energy and charisma from actress Natalia Oreiro as a woman who takes a remedy that makes her unable to stop speaking her mind; ROJO, critically lauded from San Sebastián to the Toronto Film Festivals, this superbly sinister and stylish thriller from Benjamin Naishtat lays bare the complacency and corruption of pre-coup Argentina; THE PROJECTIONIST (El proyeccionista) directed by José María Cabral (Woodpeckers, CinelatinoFF17), is the story of a projectionist who plunges into a search for the true identity of a woman he has loved for so many years but never actually met; and THE QUIETUDE (La Quietud) from Pablo Trapero, the director of the multi-award-winning The Clan (SFF15), comes a beautifully crafted multilayered drama exploring the emotional ties that bind a wealthy Argentine family, starring Bérénice Bejo.

The Spotlight on Female Directors will also feature 11 films directed by women. From established directors such as Icíar Bollaín and Gracia Querejeta to fresh new voices including Lila Avilés, the spotlight presents a programme of Spain and Latin America’s most exciting filmmakers. Films include:  Alejandra Márquez Abella’s gorgeously mounted and beautifully played THE GOOD GIRLS (Las niñas bien), a scathing and glamourous depiction of the wives of upper-class men in 1982 Mexico; Bilbao-born writer-director Arantxa Echevarría’s CARMEN & LOLA in which her exceptional non-professional cast deliver an empathetic portrayal of forbidden love in a repressive society that is altogether inspiring, necessary and beautiful; FLORIANOPOLIS DREAM (Sueño Florianópolis) a gentle, thoughtful portrait of a middle-class family by Argentine writer/director Ana Katz, who invites her audience to drink in the idyllic coastal scenery of Brazil for a breezy and bittersweet experience; and YULI, an extraordinary biopic of the legendary Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta – the first black dancer to perform some of ballet’s most iconic roles – directed by Icíar Bollaín, and featuring a magnetic performance by Acosta himself.

The 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival is a celebration of Spanish and Latino language, culture and cinema. Join us for music, tapas, and more at the various special events taking place throughout the country – check the EVENTS pages for details!

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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