Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) is back and bigger than ever before, bringing Spanish cinema to Edinburgh and beyond.
Since its conception back in 2013, the ESFF has steadily grown over the past 10 years. What started off as a six-day run at the Filmhouse has grown into a month-long celebration of Spanish cinema that now reaches further than the Scottish capital, with additional screenings in Glasgow (30 Sept – 1 Oct), Stirling (3 Oct & 26 Oct), and Inverness (9 Oct and 14 Oct). While the Filmhouse is sadly still no longer the festival’s mainstay venue (for now, we hope), the ESFF has been welcomed in by the French Institute, Edinburgh Central Library, and Odeon Cinema on Lothian Road.
At the heart of this year’s programme is a celebration of the ‘Spanish Transition’ in cinema. The festival’s opening film brings back Spanish cinema great Carlos Saura and his critically acclaimed film, Raise Ravens (Cría Cuervos), which sees Spain teetering on the precipice of its journey to becoming a democracy following the end of Franco’s dictatorship. Other films in the programme that centre on this period include Alberto Rodríguez’s Prison 77 (Modelo 77) and Emilio Martínez Lázaro’s 1997 classic Backroads (Carreteras Secundarias). For those interested in learning more about this pivotal period in Spanish history can attend a talk with Ignacio Martínez de Pisón prior to the showing of Backroads on 13 October.
Within and outwith the theme of the Spanish Transition, there are a number of prevalent themes that tie this year’s programme together. Motherhood is at the heart of Alauda Ruiz de Azúa’s Lullaby (Cinco lobitos) and Álvaro Gago’s Matria. Spain’s changing socio-political climate also serves as the backdrop to Love & Revolution (Te estoy amando locamente) and In the Company of Women (Las buenas compañìas, two of three films exploring LGBTQIA+ identity and rights. Rounding of this trio is Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s 20,000 Species of Bees, which has already taken films festivals by storm this year.
Urresola Solaguren’s feature marks another exciting aspect of this year’s programme, which is the inclusion of Gacilian, Basque, and Quechua. One of two films representing Latin American cinema, Utama sees an elderly Quechuan have their livelihoods and sense of identity threatened by a drought in the Bolivian highlands. Those who missed seeing the award-winning The Beasts (As Bestas) in cinemas earlier this year have another chance to see it on 11 October.
In addition to the myriad of awards won by this impressive ensemble of Spanish films, there are also plenty of famous faces among the talented casts. The award-winning film The Good Boss (El buen patrón) sees Oscar-winner Javier Bardem take a comedic turn as he plays the role of a business owner working desperate to fix his employees’ problems. Fans of the Netflix hit Money Heist (La casa de papel) can enjoy watching Miguel Herrán find himself getting into trouble with the law once again in Prison 77.
With 18 different films on offer, there truly is something for everyone this year. Enhorabuena to the team that has made the ESFF what it is today; here’s to seeing what the next ten years brings! ¡Mucho ánimo!
Tickets are available to purchase on the ESFF website.