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¡Viva! Film Festival

Hip Hispanic art and films at Cornerhouse

Published on March 4th 2010.

¡Viva! Film Festival

It's 16 years since Cornerhouse held its first ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival. In the early days, if you asked your average film-goer to name a Spanish or Latin American director or star, they would have struggled to think of anyone other than Almodóvar and perhaps Penélope Cruz.

As well as having a strong programme, ¡Viva! is one of those festivals that manages to create a real buzz around its events as Spanish speakers and fans of Hispanic culture gather in the bar and cafe.

Nowadays that's all changed. Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Arriaga and Guillermo del Toro are big names in Hollywood and Europe thanks to films including Y tu mamá también, Amores perros, Babel and Pan's Labyrinth. Spanish film companies are behind hits such as Che, The Machinist and The Others, and Brazilian film City of God is in the DVD collection of any self-respecting film fan.

The heightened interest makes it no surprise that ¡Viva! is growing. This year's festival will last for three weeks, from Saturday 6 March to Saturday 27 March, and it will have the added bonus of a free exhibition from renowned Mexican artist Carlos Amorales.

Amorales once brought masked Mexican wrestlers to a ring at the Tate Modern. His new show features two recent works: Psicofonias and Discarded Spider which sound intriguing to say the least. In Psicofonias, Amorales' graphic drawings are transformed into music on a large-scale, two screen video installation which works like a virtual pianola. Discarded Spider is a video installation that shows the silhouette of

Bad day to go fishingGigante

Cinema wise, the festival programme includes 18 new feature films and three shorts, including Oscar-nominated Peruvian film La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow), a Catalan coming of age fable, Little Indi, and Spanish/Mexican co-production Solo Quiero Caminar (Just Walking) – a revenge thriller set in a women's prison. The short film programme, which was curated by Almería International Short Film Festival, offers a chance to see work by three of Spain's upcoming film directors.

The festival also includes talks, including one by leading Spanish director Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón (El rey del río, Todos estamos invitados), networking events and a live accompaniment by Manchester-based band Die Kunst to three short films made over a century ago by Segundo de Chomónx.

Plan B

It looks set to be a lively three weeks at Cornerhouse – as well as having a strong programme, ¡Viva! is one of those festivals that manages to create a real buzz around its events as Spanish speakers and fans of Hispanic culture gather in the bar and cafe. If you want to experience the best of Latin cinema and maybe even see one of its future stars before they make it to the multiplexes, make sure you're there.

¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, Cornerhouse, Oxford Road, Saturday 6 March to Saturday 27 March. For full programme details, click here.

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