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17th Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, 5 March -27 March 2011

Published on February 25th 2011.


Feel the heat at Manchester's Cornerhouse this Spring as the iconic venue celebrates the arrival of ¡Viva!, its celebration of Spanish and Latin American art and film. Now in its 17th year, this month-long fiesta showcases some of the best films on offer from Spain and Spanish speaking Latin America, transforming Manchester’s famous Cornerhouse into a haven of Hispanic cinema and culture.

Expect a fiesta of events, from guest director talks, including a Q&A with Pablo Fendrick, director of El Asaltante (The Mugger, Argentina 2007), to education study sessions

Opening on Friday 4 March with a gala night screening of Arráncame la vida, plus a preview of the groundbreaking work from leading Columbian artist Oscar Muñoz, ¡Viva! highlights this year include Spanish box-office hits, lush period dramas, hilarious comedies, biting satire and daring documentaries including:

Arráncame la vida (Tear This Heart Out, Mexico 2008) The ¡Viva! 2011 opening film, Robert Sneider’s sumptuous period piece is a beguiling tale of politics, corruption, adultery, murder and love, spanning decades of Mexican political and social history. In the patriarchal Mexican town of Pueblo, Catalina seeks a way to escape her small and restrictive world. Meeting charming and powerful Andrés gives Catalina the opportunity for a life of wealth and comfort, but will it provide the freedom she so desires?

Los Colores de la montaña (The Colours of the Mountain, Colombia 2009) Carlos Cesar Arbelaez’s award-winning debut drama feature is a moving, funny, poignant and insightful look at the ordinary lives of farmers and workers caught between the guerrilla fighters and the government as they toil away in a remote region of the Andes. A tense atmosphere of foreboding creeps over this film, as the inhabitants of a scenic mountain village are revealed to be living in ever-greater danger from guerrilla fighters operating in their area. When a prized football is sent flying into a minefield, nine year old Manuel refuses to abandon it….

80 egunean (For 80 Days, Spain 2009) Fifty years after their lives took very different paths, old school friends Axun and Maite meet again by chance. San Sebastian is now an altogether different place, and the two women are finally able to consider a relationship beyond just friendship. Over an 80 day period long-suppressed feelings begin to emerge. Includes a post-screening Q&A with directors Jon Garaño & José María Goenaga. Co-director Jon Garano will introduce the Saturday 19 March screening of the film and will take part in a post-screening discussion.

Gordos (Fat People, Spain 2009) A huge hit at the box-office in Spain, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo’s smart satire stars Raúl Arévalo, winner of Best Supporting Actor at the Goya Awards in 2010. The film follows five characters who each have one thing in common: they are overweight. Seeking help in a weight-loss therapy group the film’s diverse protagonists come together in a series of comic, dramatic and moving storylines.

Ilusiones ópticas (Optical Illusions, Chile 2009) Hopes, dreams and the absurdities of life fuse together in this debut feature film from Cristian Jimenez. A warm, funny, off-beat comedy drama set in the Chilean City of Valdivia, it shows how enormously lives can be changed by small and large events.

Los Pecados de mi padre (Sins of My Father, Argentina/Colombia 2009) The inside story of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar through the eyes of his only son. In agreeing to appear in this remarkable film from New York-based Argentine director Nicolas Entel, Sebastian Marroquin and his mother break more than a decade of silence, living in virtual exile in Argentina, where Marroquin now works as an architect. The result is both a startlingly intimate portrait of their years in the Escobar family and a front-row view of Marroquin’s reconciliation efforts towards the men his father orphaned 20 years ago, offering a message of hope and possibilities for social change across Latin America.

In addition, expect a fiesta of events, from guest director talks, including a Q&A with Pablo Fendrick, director of El Asaltante (The Mugger, Argentina 2007), to education study sessions.

This year’s festival partner Instituto Cervantes will present Cine en Construcción, a new programme of films which have formed part of the Film in Progress section shared by the San Sebastian International Film Festival and Toulouse Latin American Film Festival. This year’s exciting selection includes five films from Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico and Spain.

Programmed alongside this great line up of films is the solo show from leading Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz, featuring floor-mounted video installation Biografias (2002) and projection Línea del destino (Line of Destiny) (2006). Heavily influenced by his nation’s history, Muñoz’ work explores themes of memory and loss within the challenging socio-political situation in his native Colombia.


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