FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Date: February 9, 1998

Contact: Margot Gerber

Tel.: 213/466-FILM ext. 115

 

TRIBUTES TO LEGENDARY SPANISH DIRECTORS JOS LUIS BORAU (FURTIVOS) AND VICTOR ERICE (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE) HIGHLIGHT THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE’S FIFTH ANNUAL "RECENT SPANISH CINEMA" SERIES

Weekends February 26 - March 28, 1998

 

Presented in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Education & Culture,

the Spanish Society of Authors, Composers & Publishers (SGAE) and the Fundacon Autor

 

HOLLYWOOD – The American Cinematheque presents RECENT SPANISH CINEMA 1998 (Weekends & select Thursdays, February 26 - March 28, 1998), featuring tributes to two legendary Spanish filmmakers: FURTIVOS director Jos Luis Borau, whose latest film, NIO NADIE (MASTER NOBODY) will screen as a Los Angeles premiere and a complete retrospective of all three films of Victor Erice whose EL ESPRITU DE LA COLMENA (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE) is thought by many to be the greatest Spanish film of the past 25 years. During this 5 week series, seven of Borau’s earlier films will screen as well as 14 new films (plus a program of award-winning short films) from a variety of Spain’s most accomplished and up-and-coming directors. Manuel Gmez Pereira, the director of BOCA A BOCA (MOUTH TO MOUTH), released last year in the US, will appear in-person on Thursday, February 26th, the opening night of the series to present his new romantic comedy, EL AMOR PERJUDICA SERIAMENTE LA SALUD (LOVE CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH); Other highlights include a Ricardo Franco's LA BUENA ESTRELLA (LUCKY STAR) starring Maribel Verd (BELLE EPOQUE) which swept this year's Spanish Goya Awards, winning Best Film, Director and Screenplay; a sneak preview of ABRE LOS OJOS (OPEN YOUR EYES), 25-year-old TESIS director Alejandro Amenbar's sinister, unpredictable virtual reality thriller (a hit at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival); the Los Angeles Premieres of LA CAMARERA DEL TITANIC (THE CHAMBERMAID ON THE TITANIC) from JAMON, JAMON director Bigas Luna and Pilar Mir's EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO (THE DOG IN THE MANGER), a gorgeous adaptation of Lope de Vega's classic 17th century comedy of honor, status and mismatched love. Other new films in the series include first time director David Trueba's wry coming of age story LA BUENA VIDA and BACKROADS, a tale about a boy and his father on the road. All screenings are at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater (5300 Melrose Avenue between Bronson & Van Ness) in Hollywood.

Since the early 1990's Spanish cinema has seen a remarkable rejuvenation with younger directors such as Alejandro Amenbar, Juanma Bajo Ulloa and Alex de la Iglesia injecting wild humor and white-hot adrenaline into action movies and thrillers -- while more established directors like Pedro Almodvar, Manuel Gmez Pereira and Bigas Luna continue to explore new and innovative territory without losing their commercial edge. This year's series proves that the Spanish resurgence is still going strong with an incredibly diverse selection of films -- from retro romantic comedies (EL AMOR PERJUDICA SERIAMENTE LA SALUD) to stunning and effective dramas (LA BUENA ESTRELLA, TERRITORIO COMANCHE) to lavish period pieces (EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO, LA CELESTINA) -- each told from a uniquely Spanish viewpoint. Interestingly, a number of the best films from Spain this past year are coming-of-age stories -- including the highly-acclaimed SECRETOS DEL CORAZON from director Montxo Armendriz, first time director David Trueba's endearing LA BUENA VIDA and Emilio Martnez-Lzaro's bittersweet portrait of growing up on the road CARRETERAS SECUNDARIAS.

IN-PERSON TRIBUTE TO JOS LUIS BORAU

Jos Luis Borau's work as a director, producer, screenwriter (and sometime actor) has made him one of the most influential figures in Spanish cinema for the past three decades. Born in Zaragoza in 1929, Borau studied law and film before turning to directing in the early 1960's. Heavily influenced by classic Hollywood cinema as well as the films of his fellow countryman, Luis Buuel, Borau's films are brilliantly constructed subversive journeys through an often violently changing frontier. Borau says of his work, "My films always look very ordinary, but they are very strange from the inside. That way, the audience doesn't expect the strangeness …I think it is stranger to surprise them." Though he began his feature directorial career with genre films such as BRANDY (1963), a Spanish/Italian western that predated Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, Borau's second feature, the Hitchcock/Lang influenced CRIMEN DE DOBLE FILO (1964) revealed the fluid mastery of plot and psychological perspective that would define much of his later work -- from the notorious anti-Franco FURTIVOS (POACHERS) through the moral (and erotic) ambiguities of RIO ABAJO and LA SABINA -- prompting Carlos Saura to call Borau "the Spanish director who is best at directing." Borau formed his own independent production company in 1967 where he produced and/or co-wrote films for some of Spain's most exciting young directors, including Jaime Chvarri, Jaime de Armin (MI QUERIDA SEORITA) and Borau's former student Manuel Gutirrez-Aragn (CAMADA NEGRA). In 1975, Borau directed, co-wrote (with Gutirrez-Aragn) and starred in the epochal FURTIVOS (POACHERS), a shattering political portrait of repression, murder, betrayal and lust that enraged censors but, became one of the highest grossing Spanish films of all time. Since then, Borau's films -- RIO ABAJO, LA SABINA, TATA MIA -- have continued to push and twist genre conventions to create a sexual and political discourse that is both completely unique and distinctly Spanish. Borau currently serves as President of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We are pleased to welcome Jos Luis Borau for the Los Angeles premiere of his latest film, NIO NADIE.

TRIBUTE TO VICTOR ERICE

"Sometimes very beautiful things are born out of fragility" -- Victor Erice

A painter struggles against nature to capture the fruit on a quince tree before it decays and falls (EL SOL DEL MEMBRILLO). A young girl stares down a silent well looking for the spirit of Frankenstein's monster (EL ESPRITU DE LA COLMENA) and a pendulum swings back and forth, sketching the failed arc of a man's life and his tragic love for his daughter (EL SUR). Victor Erice, breathtakingly intuitive filmmaker, lyricist, scientist and master of obsessive perfection, has made three feature films over twenty- five years (a record that even puts Stanley Kubrick to shame!) His films are a catalogue of images suspended in light:; nothing so much as waking dreams, precisely mapped where each object has a terrible and crystalline beauty. Born in Carranza in 1940, Erice (like his close friend Jos Luis Borau) attended Spain's famed Escuela Oficial de Cinematografia (EOC) film school in the early 1960's where he made a series of short films and directed an episode of the anthology LOS DESAFIOS as his final year film. Since his days at EOC, Erice has written numerous articles and essays on cinema and still sits on the editorial board of Nuestro Cine, the influential film journal that he helped found in 1969. Erice made his feature film debut in 1973 with EL ESPRITU DE LA COLMENA (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE). An almost otherworldly portrait of the Spanish Civil War refracted through a young girl's imaginative reconstruction of the Frankenstein myth, THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE is widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the past three decades. After a ten year absence, Erice returned to cinema with EL SUR (THE SOUTH) a breathtaking portrait of a teenager struggling to come to terms with her unstable father. Though Erice calls the film "profoundly mutilated" (the film was shut down before its completion), EL SUR is widely hailed as a masterful piece of filmmaking. Erice's most recent film, EL SOL DEL MEMBRILLO (THE QUINCE TREE SUN), made in close collaboration with painter Antonio Lpez, won the International Critics Award at Cannes in 1992. Erice is currently at work on a project entitled, THE SHANGHAI GESTURE.

 

Weekend 1: Thursday, February 26-Saturday, February 28, 1998

The Thursday, February 26th program begins at 7:15 PM with the Los Angeles Premiere of Montxo Armendriz' SECRETOS DEL CORAZON (SECRETS OF THE HEART) (1997, 105 min.), Spain's official submission for the upcoming Academy Awards and Winner of Best European Film at the Berlin Film Festival. A spellbinding portrait of a young boy's awakening to the essential mysteries of life -- sex, religion and the secrets that bind families together-- the film centers around 9-year-old Javi (Adoni Erburu) and his desperate struggle to look behind the veil of secrecy surrounding his father's death. Carmelo Gmez (EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO), one of Spain's most acclaimed (and busiest) actors, stars as the boy's sympathetic uncle wrestling with demons of his own. Director Montxo Armendriz is scheduled to appear in-person for discussion following the screening. Following at 9:30PM is a screening of FURTIVOS (POACHERS) (1975, 99 min.) the opening film in our in-person tribute to director Jos Luis Borau. Released to tremendous critical and popular acclaim during the final days of Franco's life, Borau's acknowledged masterpiece is a stunning allegory of Spain's dark soul during the dictator's rule. Inspired (and perhaps enraged) by Franco's description of Spain under his regime as a "peaceful forest," Borau and co-writer Manuel Gutirrez-Aragn crafted an incestuous tale of an emotionally handicapped poacher (Ovidi Montllor) living in terrifying seclusion with his venomous mother (played by Lola Gaos, from Buuel's VIRIDIANA) until a young woman comes between them. The situation becomes even more complicated when a provincial governor (Borau, in a superb performance) arrives to enlist the poacher to help track the young woman's fugitive boyfriend. Set in rural Spain, with brilliant photography by Luis Cuadrado (who shot Erice's THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE), FURTIVOS portrays a beautiful, but harsh world in which only the strong survive. Borau said of his film, "I wanted to show that the peaceful woods hid killing and cruelty …that under Franco, Spain was living a secret life. Virtually everyone in this film is a furtivo." Jos Luis Borau is scheduled to appear in-person for discussion following the screening.

The Friday, February 27th program begins at 7:15 PM with a sneak preview of Alejandro Amenabr's 1998 Sundance Film Festival (where it was snapped up for US distribution by Live Entertainment) hit ABRE LOS OJOS (OPEN YOUR EYES) (1997, 120 min.). Amenabr, whose TESIS swept last year's Spanish Goya Awards, deftly mixes references to Dario Argento, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, virtual reality, cryogenics and more, to create a stunning fantasy/thriller that takes you on a sinister and unpredictable ride you will never forget. The film chronicles the often terrifying psychological and physical journey of a handsome young playboy (Eduardo Noriega) who proceeds to rapidly lose his mind after his face is disfigured in a car accident. Najwa Nimri (SALTO AL VACIO) co-stars as the sinister Louise Brooks-ish vamp who haunts Noreiga's dreams, while the enchanting Penlope Cruz is his one hope for salvation. Following at 9:45 PM is Emilio Martnez-Lzaro's CARRETERAS SECUNDARIAS (BACKROADS) (1997, 90 min.) a moving and bittersweet portrait of growing up on the road. The film stars Antonio Resines (LA BUENA ESTRELLA) and Fernando Ramallo (LA BUENA VIDA) as father and son vagabonds who cruise the deserted beach towns of Spain during the early 1970s in their only prized possession, a Citren Tiburon. Maribel Verd turns in a smashing supporting performance as a local girl who briefly distracts the pair's wandering. Set against the backdrop of the aging dictator Franco's illness, CARRETERAS SECUNDARIAS is an open ended labyrinth interwoven with a subtle sense of humor, lyricism and regret.

The Saturday, February 28th program begins at 7:15 PM with Pilar Mir's EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO (THE DOG IN THE MANGER) (1996, 109 min.) starring two of Spain's finest actors, Emma Surez and Carmelo Gmez, as comically mismatched lovers. In this gorgeous adaptation of Lope de Vega's classic 17th century comedy of honor, status and love, Surez (star of Julio Medem's THE RED SQUIRREL and TIERRA) plays Diana, the Countess of Belflor, an impulsive, but self-assured aristocrat who falls in love with her dashing attendant (Gmez'), Teodoro setting off an explosive chain reaction of scandal and intrigue. With sumptuous eye popping costumes by Pedro Moreno and in the tradition of the most spirited of Shakespeare adaptations (think Branagh's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING), director Pilar Mir has fashioned a thoroughly imaginative and delightful court romp. Note: We are deeply saddened by the recent and unexpected death of director Pilar Mir. As one of Spain's most accomplished filmmakers and a tireless supporter of Spanish cinema, she will be sorely missed. (This film repeats on Friday, Marach 20th at 7:15 PM.) Following at 9:45 PM, is the Los Angeles Premiere of Jos Luis Borau's latest film NIO NADIE (MASTER NOBODY) (1997, 104 min.), a complex and thought-provoking parable about a nave, idealist professor and his quest to figure out life's eternal mysteries. Popular Spanish stage actor, Rafael Alvarez (known as El Brujo) plays a professor who falls under the intoxicating spell of an elusive old poet and philosopher, and decides to abandon his former life. Icar Bollain (star of Erice's EL SUR and director of last year's HOLA, ESTAS SOLA?) appears as the erratic Asun, a young nun who gets swept up in the schoolteacher's enthusiasm. Asun is a marvelously contradictory character who releases her secret amorous passions from one day to the next, unpredictably changing the lives of everyone she comes into contact with. MASTER NOBODY marks Borau's return to the screen after a ten year absence. Jos Luis Borau is scheduled to appear for discussion following the screening.

 

Weekend 2: Thursday, March 5-Saturday, March 7, 1998

The Thursday March 5th program begins at 7:15 PM with the Los Angeles Premiere of Gerardo Herrero's TERRITORIO COMANCHE (COMANCHE TERRITORY) (1997, 90 min.), a dark and compelling story (in the vein of Oliver Stone's SALVADOR), based on war correspondent Arturo Prez-Reverte insider's account of working in Sarajevo. The film follows Laura (Cecilia Dopazo) a successful television anchor sent to Bosnia for a two week special on the war. There she meets a pair of war-hardened Spanish journalists -- correspondent Imanol Arias (EL AMANTE BILINGE) and cameraman Carmelo Gmez (EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO) who both give tense and moving performances as men unwilling to fall into the trap associated with the over-sentimentality associated with the horrors of war. In the film's most unnerving scene, a French crew rushes to film a fellow journalist who has just recognized his murdered lover in the morgue. TERRITORIO COMANCHE is at its heart, a simple story about friendship and working together under often arduous circumstances -- that refuses to yield to sentiment. Following at 9:15 PM is the opening film in our Victor Erice tribute, EL ESPRITU DE LA COLMENA (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE) (1973, 95 min.) a sublime journey of silence and mystery, equal to the best of Tarkovsky or Antonioni. The film stars Ana Torrent as an intense young girl who searches the barren fields outside her town for the disembodied spirit of Frankenstein's monster after seeing the James Whale classic in her village. Critic Luis Arata said of Torrent's wide-eyed, almost unnerving portrayal, "her soft black eyes seem to be open windows into her mind, where much of THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE actually takes place." She is as haunting a symbol as the film itself, described by Katherine Kovacs as "wandering like a sleepwalker across a vast and bleak countryside, where the wind never blows and the sun never shines." Widely hailed as a masterpiece upon its release, Erice's first feature film is a near-perfect blend of myth and pure cinematic imagination.

The Friday, March 6th program begins at 7:15 PM with the Los Angeles Premiere of Ricardo Franco's LA BUENA ESTRELLA (1997, 110 min.) which recently swept the prestigious 1998 GOYA Awards (the awards bestowed by the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), with five wins including: Best Film, Director, Original Script, Actor and Music. Glowing with subtle, iridescent beauty, the film tells the heart wrenching story of an unusual love triangle between a middle-aged butcher (played to quiet perfection by 1998 GOYA winner, Antonio Resines), a wounded one-eyed woman (Maribel Verd) and her criminal ex-boyfriend (played by rising star Jordi Moll). Torn between her loving husband and her self destructive ex-boyfriend, Spanish bombshell Verd (known mostly for her work in films like BELLE EPOQUE and HUEVOS DE ORO) turns in her finest performance so far and director Ricardo Franco, acclaimed for his 1973 Civil War drama PASCUAL DUARTE and his recent documentary DESPUES DE TANTOS AOS, returns with his strongest film to date. An infinitely generous and forgiving work, almost transparent in its simplicity and beauty of spirit. Franco himself experienced a near blinding eye disease prior to making this film which focuses on a one-eyed character. Following at 9:45 PM is a screening of LA BUENA VIDA (THE GOOD LIFE) (1996, 110 min.) the feature directorial debut of David Trueba (younger brother of BELLE EPOQUE helmer Fernando Trueba). A wry coming of age comedy, the film chronicles the trials of Tristn, a young teenager (played by newcomer Fernando Ramallo) who is suddenly set adrift in a very adult world after his parents are killed unexpectedly. Now forced to live with his misanthropic grandfather (a hilariously nasty performance by 75-year-old Luis Cuenca), Tristn must put aside his adolescent fantasies and face the sadness and solitude of the awkward and confusing world he has been thrust into. Add to the mix Tristn's luscious, guitar playing cousin who moves in with her boyfriend, a hooker-turned-maid and much more, and you have one of the sweetest and most poignant comedies to come out of Spain in a while.

The Saturday, March 7th program begins at 6:30 PM with the US Premiere of JAMON, JAMON director Bigas Luna's latest film, LA CAMARERA DEL TITANIC (THE CHAMBERMAID ON THE TITANIC) (1997, 100 min.). Spain's wildest filmmaker returns with this dreamlike fable of Horty (Olivier Martinez from THE HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF), a young French ironworker, who wins a trip to England to see the launch of the Titanic. During the night, he comes to the aid of a beautiful young chambermaid, (Aitana Snchez-Gijn from A WALK IN THE CLOUDS) who, as fate would have it, leaves the next day on the ship's maiden voyage. Received back at home as a big hero, Horty weaves fact and fiction together into a story of a great love affair with the chambermaid -- a story that will come back to haunt him in unexpected ways. In French with English subtitles. Following at 8:30 PM is a double feature of two films from one of Spain's hottest young filmmakers, Juanma Bajo Ulloa beginning with LA MADRE MUERTA (THE DEAD MOTHER) (1993, 110 min.) a ferociously twisted psycho-thriller -- part David Lynch, part Hitchcock -- that leaves you literally gasping for breath. A young girl witnesses her mother’s murder during a botched robbery, and is herself seriously injured -- years later, the girl, now a mute mental patient (the stunning Ana lvarez) is spotted by the sleazebag killer, who kidnaps her and starts to slowly adopt the role of her "dead mother." Karra Elejalde gives a terrifying performance as the psychopath, with Lio just as good as his long-suffering wife ("This is the first day in ages we haven’t argued -- you should kidnap people more often...") Be warned, this film is not for the weak-hearted. Next, on the same bill, is the Los Angeles Premiere of Ulloa's latest AIRBAG (1997, 120 min.), the biggest Spanish box-office hit of 1997. This film is an incredibly surreal, drug- and sex-fueled free-fall through a succession of exotic whorehouses, as three guys in a Starsky-and-Hutch-mobile search for a missing wedding ring. Karra Elejalde switches gears here as the uptight bridegroom whose life dissolves in a cloud of cocaine, with Maria de Medeiros (PULP FICTION) as Ftima, a voodoo drug queen with supernatural powers. A cross between DELICATESSEN and CASINO ROYALE, AIRBAG is a love-it-or-hate-it experience: an operatic slapstick comedy, filled with elaborate sight gags, rapid-fire jokes and hookers hookers hookers ...

 

Weekend 3: Friday, March 13 & Saturday, March 14, 1998

The Friday, March 13th program begins at 7:15 PM with the third film in our tribute to Jos Luis Borau, MI QUERIDA SEORITA (MY DEAREST LADY) (1971, 80 min.) which is directed by Jaime de Armin and co written and produced by Borau. The film is an hysterically subversive look at societal standards and sexual expectations. A middle-aged spinster (Jos Luis Lpez Vazquez) living a comfortable, but unremarkable life is confused and repulsed when an old friend turns up and proposes marriage to her. Unable to sort out her feelings, she goes to Madrid to seek the advice of a doctor (played by Borau) who reveals that she is in fact, psychologically a man. Film Comment called the film, "A dark comedy that exposes the dangers of innocence and celebrates the release of passion." MI QUERIDA SEORITA set the model for all the gender-bending, sex change movies to come, from Aranda's CAMBIO DE SEXO to most of Almodvar's films. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1972, the film lost to Buuel's equally subversive and brilliant, THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE. Following at 9:15 PM is the Los Angeles Premiere of Gerardo Vera's LA CELESTINA (1997, 92 min) which is based on the celebrated Spanish play by Fernando de Rojas and is ignited by a stellar cast of some of Spain's finest young actors. LA CELESTINA is a "Molotov cocktail" of love, passion, ambition and revenge. Maribel Verd and Jordi Moll (LA BUENA ESTRELLA), Nancho Novo (THE RED SQUIRREL), Candela Pea and Penlope Cruz (JAMON, JAMON) star as young lovers who fall under the hypnotic black magic spell of the title character, a cagey old witch played to the hilt by Terele Pvez. Full of drafty passages, heaving bosoms, scheming squires and outraged lords, LA CELESTINA is everything a whopping good medieval tragedy should be!

The Saturday, March 14th program begins at 7:15 PM with Victor Erice's EL SUR (THE SOUTH) (1984, 94 min.). As in EL ESPRITU DE LA COLMENA, EL SUR conjures up a breathtaking stream of images, like some half-forgotten film projected onto a fluttering sheet. Told entirely in flashback and set in northern Spain in the late 1950's, the film stars Icar Bollain as Estrella, a teenager struggling to come to terms with a father who loves her, but is unable to escape the self-enforced melancholy prison of his mind. As she reconstructs moments from her past, the lines between physical and geographical reality blur as father and daughter each attempt to return to the mythical South of their youth. Sadly, Erice was forced to shut down production before he could shoot the final segment -- like the father, then, Erice and EL SUR were unable to return to the South leaving it, in the words of critic Paul Julian Smith, "a magical place of escape and transcendence, which is more spiritual than geographic." Following at 9:00 PM is a double feature of two films from Jos Luis Borau, beginning with an ultra rare screening of CRIMEN DE DOBLE FILO (DOUBLE EDGED MURDER) (1964, 90 min.). Borau’s second feature is an expressionistic noir that makes explicit homage to Hitchcock, Bava and Fritz Lang. The film tells the story of the son (Carlos Estrada) of a famous concert pianist who witnesses a murder in the basement of his building, and begins to fear that he’s being followed by the enigmatic killer (who happens to be a Hitchcock fan!) A nasty little treat, CRIMEN DE DOBLE FILO was part of a wave of cine negro thrillers made in the early 1960’s, and has rarely (if ever) been screened in the U.S. Next, on the same bill, is HAY QUE MATAR A B. (B. MUST DIE) (1973, 97 min.) a dense political thriller filled with blind alleys and secret agendas which stars Darren McGavin as an exile adrift in a South American country, where he is "persuaded" to seduce an industrialist’s wife, played by 60’s icon Stphane Audran (Chabrol’s wife and star of LES BICHES and LE BOUCHER). As he is drawn deeper and deeper into the web of corruption, McGavin slowly realizes that he is being set up to assassinate Audran’s husband.

 

Weekend 4: Friday, March 20- Saturday, March 21, 1998

The Friday, March 20th program begins at 7:15 PM with a repeat screening of Pilar Mir's EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO (THE DOG IN THE MANGER) (1996, 109 min.) Please refer to Saturday, February 28th at 7:15 PM for details. Following at 9:30 PM is Jos Luis Borau's RIO ABAJO (ON THE LINE) (1984, 100 min) in which Borau deftly mixes classic Hollywood western and film noir to tell the tragic story of a Mexican prostitute (Victoria Abril, in one of her strongest performances). Abril is trapped and pursued by three Americans: a sadistic border guard (Scott Wilson), his nave young partner (Jeff Delger), and a mysterious "coyote" (David Carradine), who leads illegals across the Rio Grande into Texas. As critic Marsha Kinder has pointed out, RIO ABAJO was modeled in part on TOUCH OF EVIL (Borau had originally hoped to cast Orson Welles in the part played by Sam Jaffe), and shares the same skewed vision of the border as no-man’s land, littered with lost souls.

The Saturday, March 21st program begins at 6:30 PM with a collection of recent, award-winning Spanish short films (total running time approx. 90 min). Last year we screened "ESPOSADOS" which was nominated for an Oscar in the Live-Action Short Category. The shorts will not necessarily screen in the order listed here. Grojo & Jorge Snchez Cabezudo's, "LA GOTERA" (THE LEAK), 7 min., a surreal visual pun starring Dominique Pinon (DELICATESSEN, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN); Antonio Conesa's "CAMPEONES" (CHAMPIONS), 18 min., a bittersweet narrative on grief using soccer as a metaphor; Ramon Barea's "MUERTO DE AMOR" (DEAD BY LOVE), 14 min., a romantic black comedy; Javier Rebollo's "EN MEDIO DE NINGUNA PARTE" (IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE), 23 min., an atmospheric film set in rural Spain in which a woman becomes lucky; Nicholas Mendez's "9'8MYS," 14 min., a quirky black comedy centering around interrupted suicide and squid sandwiches; star of last year's Oscar entry BWANA, Andrs Pajares' "NAUFRAGOS" (SHIPWRECKED), 14 min., a tale of a marriage fizzling out; Esteban Requejo's "EL TREN DE LAS OCHO" (THE EIGHT-O'CLOCK TRAIN), 11 min., a funny look at first, idealized love and Achero Maas' "CAZADORES" (HUNTERS), this year's GOYA Award winner. Following at 8:30 PM is a double feature of two films from Jos Luis Borau, beginning with LA SABINA (THE SHE DRAGON) (1979, 106 min.) in which a burnt out English writer (Jon Finch) holes up in a remote Andalusian village to research the disappearance of another Englishman, Hyatt, who vanished 100 years earlier in a demon-haunted cave. Like figures in a medieval tapestry, a powerful circle of women hover around him fueling both mythology and mystery: his predatory ex-wife (Bergmann star Harriet Andersson), his flighty girlfriend (Carol Kane), and the local siren, played with sultry ease by Angela Molina. With a flamenco score by the legendary Paco de Lucia, LA SABINA is one of Borau’s most fluid, open-ended films -- "it’s a very Renoir-type film ... I wanted the characters to move freely, and for the camera to follow them freely" -- Borau. Next, on the same bill, is Borau's TATA MIA (NANNY DEAREST) (1986, 100 min.) in which Carmen Maura (WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN) stars as a nun who has been locked away in a convent for 17 years -- until her father, a notorious right-wing General, dies, and she returns home to face a transformed Spain. Maura gives a lovely comic performance here as the resilient nun, trying to deal with family ghosts and her reawakened sexuality. A film the LA Weekly called, "Borau's natural comedy …[which] can be enjoyed strictly for its laughs or analyzed until sundown for its political allegories," TATA MIA brings together three different generations of Spanish screen stars: 30’s legend, Imperio Argentina as Maura’s former nanny, 60’s comedian Alfredo Landa as her unexpected love interest, and if you look closely, you'll see current star Emma Surez in a supporting role.

 

Weekend 5: Friday, March 27- Saturday, March 28, 1998

The Friday, March 27th program begins at 7:15 PM with the US Premiere of Ventura Pons' ACTRIUS (ACTRESSES) (1996, 88 min.) a shamefully manipulative, but beautifully-crafted tearjerker in the style of ALL ABOUT EVE in which a young actress (Merc Pons) set to play the role of legendary star "Empar Ribera," interviews three of Ribera’s surviving friends: an equally-legendary theater diva, a successful (but bitter) TV comedienne, and a soft-spoken dubbing actress. Nria Espert, Rosa Maria Sard and Anna Lizaran star as the three longtime friends who delve into their memories of the grandeur and misery of the theater, and their unresolved grudges with each other and with the long-dead Ribera. (In Catalan with English subtitles.) Following at 9:00 PM is a Spanish comedy double feature beginning with the first film from director Joaqun Oristrell (co-writer of LOVE CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and MOUTH TO MOUTH), DE QUE SE RIEN LAS MUJERES? (WHAT MAKES WOMEN LAUGH?) (1996, 110 min.), a relentlessly tacky, hot pink-and-yellow comedy about three sisters in a nightclub act who think there’s nothing better than suntan lotion, margaritas and a good screw! DE QUE SE RIEN stars Vernica Forqu, Candela Pea and Adriana Ozores as Spanish Bette Midler-clones, strutting their leopard-skin stuff at some swanky Mediterraneo resort while they try to figure out their problems with men. About as meaningful (and color-coordinated) as a Carmen Miranda film, DE QUE SE RIEN is pure trashy fun. Next, on the same bill, is BOCA A BOCA (MOUTH TO MOUTH) director Manuel Gmez Pereira's most recent film, EL AMOR PERJUDICA SERIAMENTE LA SALUD (LOVE CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH) a retro romantic comedy with Penlope Cruz, Ana Beln, Gabino Diego and Juanjo Puigcorb. Told in a series of flashbacks, the film chronicles the 30-year relationship between a recklessly impulsive (but adorable) woman and her helplessly addicted lover. Beginning with a frantic rendezvous in John Lennon's bedroom in 1964 and ending with an explosive encounter at a gala dinner in Paris for the King of Spain, EL AMOR is an entertaining farce about two people who were meant for everyone but each other. Penlope Cruz stands out in a lovably schizo Julia Roberts-meets-Holly Golightly performance.

The Saturday, March 28th program begins at 9:30 PM with the final film in our Spanish Cinema 1998 series, Victor Erice's unforgettable EL SOL DEL MEMBRILLO (THE QUINCE TREE SUN) (1992, 138 min.), a film New York Times critic Janet Maslin calls, "quiet, meticulous and supremely simple," Erice has woven his most mesmerizing and unforgettable work to date. Years ago, realist painter Antonio Lpez planted a quince tree in his backyard -- now, with infinite patience, he struggles to paint the tree before the fruit ripens and falls. Erice creates a masterful meditation on "the desire to replace the external world with its double." Part of the film’s wonder and charm is that while Lpez is engrossed in his work, he is constantly interrupted by an seemingly endless stream of visitors: his talkative friend Enrique, a crew of Polish bricklayers, a group of Chinese guests -- all of whom become an indelible part of both the painting and the fabric of the film "When Antonio finished his work and started to take everything off -- the metal structure, the plastic -- I suddenly said: ‘But it’s just a little tree!’ " - Erice.

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

Please discard any earlier schedules that you may have.

 

Advance tickets to our programs can be purchased from SHOWTIXX (818) 789-TIXX (8499). Our number (213) 466-FILM should be listed for further information only!

BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS AND PRESS KITS

AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

PRESS PASSES ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE AVAILABLE DURING THE FESTIVAL AS MOST SCREENINGS WILL BE SOLD OUT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS WILL BE SET UP FOR SOME TITLES. PLEASE CALL FOR DATES AND TIMES. ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS OF SOME FILMS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON VIDEOTAPE AT THE OFFICES OF THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE. CALL 213.466.3456 ext. 115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE SCREENINGS. BELOW IS A LIST OF AVAILABLE FILMS (All have English subtitles unless otherwiise indicated):

SECRETOS DEL CORAZON (PAL/NTSC) LA MADRE MUERTA (PAL)

FURTIVOS (PAL/no English subtitles) AIRBAG (PAL)

ABRE LOS OJOS (PAL) MI QUERIDA SEORITA (NTSC/ no English subtitles)

EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO (PAL/no English subtitles) LA CELESTINA (PAL)

NIO NADIE (PAL/NTSC) HAY QUE MATAR A B (PAL)

TERRITORIO COMMANCHE (PAL) RIO ABAJO (PAL/ no English subtitles)

EL ESPIRITU DE LA COLMENA (NTSC) LA SABINA (PAL/ no English subtitles)

LA BUENA ESTRELLA (PAL) TATA MIA (NTSC/ no English subtitles)

LA BUENA VIDA (PAL) ACTRIUS (PAL)

DE QUE SE RIEN LAS MUJERES? (PAL) EL AMOR PERJUDICA SERIAMENTE LA SALUD (PAL)

Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents weekly film and video programming which ranges from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form at the Raleigh Studios Charlie Chaplin Theater and other Los Angeles venues. Exhibition of rare works, special prints within our series, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences.

The American Cinematheque is currently renovating the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which, when open in 1998, will become the American Cinematheque's permanent home and offer daily, year-round programming.

For information about this film program call 213/466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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