In just two days’ time, the hugely popular Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) returns to Scottish shores for the sixth year running. As in previous years, the fiesta has set up base camp in the Edinburgh Filmhouse from the 4th to the 12th October and will also feature screenings in the University of Edinburgh, but it will go walkabout until next month as it tours Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling, as well as a sortie down south to Manchester.
This year’s programme brings an eclectic mix of Scottish premieres and exciting documentaries, regional Spanish movies and Latin American cinema, meaning it promises to hold something for everyone. Some hand-selected highlights are listed below, but the ESFF 2019 website has the full programme and more comprehensive details on those tour dates for any aficionados of Spanish cinema keen to learn more.
Rodrigo Sorogoyen / Spain / 2018 / 132 mins
Fresh from scooping seven Goyas at the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars (including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay), The Candidate focuses on a corrupt politician who finds his empire crumbling around him just as he appears to be on the verge of national success. In a world in which those in power often seem to be a law unto themselves, this tightly-wound political thriller may provide some measure of cathartic release.
@ University of Stirling on Thu 3 October
@ Edinburgh Filmhouse on Fri 4 October
Álvaro Longoria / Spain / 2019 / 75 mins
This intriguing documentary follows world-famous actor Javier Bardem and his brother Carlos as they serve as spokespeople for the Antarctic Sanctuary, an organisation dedicated to preserving the marine-dwelling flora and fauna who reside in the vicinity of the uninhabited seventh continent. Using the combined forces of social media, science and politics, the brothers draw the support of almost three million people in an attempt to convince those in power to take much-needed action.
@ Edinburgh Filmhouse on Sun 6 October
Icíar Bollaín / Cuba, Germany, Spain, UK / 2018 / 110 mins
Adapted from the memoirs of global ballet phenomenon Carlos Acosta, Yuli tells the man’s story from his humble beginnings in Cuba to his path to stardom in London, along with the various trials and tribulations he went through on the way. Acosta puts in a breath-taking performance as himself as an adult, while wildly-talented youngster Edilson Manuel Olbera is incredibly endearing as Acosta when he was just a boy.
@ Edinburgh Filmhouse on Wed 9 October
Luis Ortega / Argentina, Spain / 2018 / 118 mins
Based on a true story, The Angel follows Carlos Robledo Puch, a notorious serial killer who earned his nickname from the Argentinian press due to his youthful age and angelic appearance when he launched his nefarious career. Thought to be responsible for more than forty robberies and eleven murders, Robledo Puch remains the longest serving prisoner in the country’s prisons, with more than 45 years of jailtime under his belt.
@ Edinburgh Filmhouse on Thu 10 October
@ GFT on Sun 20 October
Javier Fesser / Spain / 2018 / 124 mins
Despite The Candidate’s huge success at the Goya awards, there was one prize they didn’t waltz off with – Best Picture. That went to Champions instead, which follows the assistant trainer of a professional basketball team. After falling foul of the law, the coach is assigned community service in the form of training a club of players with learning difficulties. Expect plenty of belly laughs and life lessons in this touching comedy.
@ Edinburgh Filmhouse on Sat 5 and Thu 10 October