I love these Spanish Films!
It’s that time of the year again – the 17th Spanish Film Festival in the Philippines, organized by Instituto Cervantes, gives us 20 wonderful movies featuring the best Spanish language films (plus some Filipino shorts). Of course, I wouldn’t be able to watch all twenty, I only had to choose some that I find quite interesting.
Here are my picks and some summary and not so great reviews:
Mi Querida Cofradia
Carmen, a devout Catholic who is almost a perfect representation of what these kinds of women should be, is running for presidency of a Church brotherhood that she is a member of. This presidency also gives the person the authority to organize the Holy Week procession, something that Carmen has been very passionate about. Unfortunately, the priest wouldn’t allow it (because traditionally, a brotherhood should be led by men). He manages to tweak the election results and give the presidency to Carmen’s rival, Ignacio. She calmly accepts the result, thinking that it was what the majority decided.
The next day, Ignacio visits her in her house, and tries to remove her from the brotherhood. This prompts her to put some laxatives in Ignacio’s drink, but the problem was, she puts Diapezam instead of laxaticves making Ignacio unconscious. The problem was – it was the day of the parade! All hell breaks loose when Carmen’s daughter suddenly comes to her house due to some marital issues, a neighbor also visit’s Carmen’s place because she wants to learn how to make the perfect French toast.
Although the movie was hilariously crazy, it gives the audience a glimpse of a heavily patriarchal society and how the changing times empower the women to rise up and fight for equality. You’ll never go wrong with these Spanish comedies.
I’ll give it a 6/8.
Carmen Y Lola
I watched a Lesbian Film!
I blame my lack of research for this haha. But I was not disappointed. This movie gave a whole new perspective on a lot of things – lesbian life (and sex), gypsies (whom I thought were just characters on Disney films and fairy tales)…
So Carmen was about to get married through an arrangement between two gypsy families – as what is usually the case. There are a lot of traditions that need to be followed prior to the wedding, an engagement party included.
Lola is a closeted lesbian who wants to finish school and leave the gypsy life, but her parents think that she’d be better off marrying a man.
Both Carmen and Lola’s families sell stuff in a makeshift flea market, and they meet one rainy afternoon. They eventually become close, and Lola divulges her sexual orientation to Carmen. At first, Carmen was not receptive but eventually she gives in. They fall in love and things get out of hand when someone catches them having sex.
LGBT films aren’t new to me; but it is rare for me to see lesbian films because there’s not much of them here (and probably abroad). It’s a good way to see that the problems they are encountering as a lesbian couple don’t really differ from what gays are experiencing. It’s a bit heavy, but I recommend watching it.
I’ll give it a 7/8.
Hacerse Mayor Y Otros Problemas
I’m not gonna lie. I chose to watch this film because I thought it’s gonna be a romcom or a comedy. Turns out it wasn’t.
Emma’s a loser with a job that she hates. She wrote a children’s book but she hates kids. She has a house problem – she has a weird housemate who is using her. Her life was a mess. The only thing keeping her sane is her best friend Lola.
Lola becomes pregnant and is about to give birth. She chose Emma to be the guardian of the child (turns out she’s giving birth to twins). During her baby shower, a long lost pregnant friend shows up and becomes instant soon-to-be-mom buddies with Lola. This threatens Emma, and she does things that eventually ruins herself more and her relationship with Lola.
More things happen, and in the end, she had to be in charge of the twins and Lola’s new bff’s kid – Emma makes a 360 and becomes a responsible adult.
Forgettable movie. I give it 3/8.
ORO is a good movie. It’s a story about a group of Spanish conquistadores in search of a land filled with gold. It’s supposed to be filled with action and suspense and adventure; but it somehow fails to deliver.
It cannot rely on its actors. They all look the same. It cannot rely on the suspense, you’ve seen better. It cannot rely on its story, it is a bit predictable. Lol. Oro’s saving grace is its magnificent visuals, its portrayal of people’s greed and how/ where it will drive you. But then again, we’ve seen extreme greed on cinemas before, there’s nothing that stands out.
I give it a 5/8.
Casi 40 tells the story of a once famous singer, who was tapped by her friend to tour around the bookstores of Madrid. It just starts and ends as is – like you suddenly had an access to the lives of two people, and follow them around a journey of rediscovery.
It takes you into a moment in these people’s lives, when the lead thinks that her best days have already gone by, but when she relives her once glorious moments as a singer – she finds out that the magic is still there. The movie is also packed with some lengthy conversations and a few performances from the lead actress.
Another must see (but do not watch it if you’re sleepy).
I give it a 6/8.
THIS IS NOT A SPANISH FILM. And it’s not part of the festival. HAHA.
It’s an Italian film that I found on Netflix. My friend also recommended it. Since it’s just less than 1 and a half hour, I watched it… I liked this movie simply because I would like to have the job of the lead actress – she inspects hotels for a living.
She travels from one place to another and checks in to luxury hotels as a mystery guest. She, then, inspects if these hotels are complying to the 5-star standard. While doing so, she ponders on her life and what she seems to be missing – her ex had suddenly impregnated somebody, and her sister is a loving mother to two beautiful girls; while she seems to be tired of her routine (I WON’T BE IF I WERE HER). Nonetheless, it’s a good film to waste less than 1 and a half hour of your life.
My verdict is a 6/8.