La Pelicula film festival starts

A cross-section of films shows current trends in Spanish-language cinema

The 12th edition of the annual Spanish-language film festival La Película will run Feb. 14 to 24 in Prague's Kino Světozor from Feb. 14 to 19 and continue on in Brno, Ostrava and Hradec Králové before it ends Feb. 24.

In past years the festival has been popular. “We are very satisfied with the interest shown and the reception given by audiences here,” says José Miguel de Lara Toledo, cultural counselor of the Embassy of Spain in Prague. The festival attracts around 5,000 viewers in the Czech Republic each year.

La Película brings this year 18 current Spanish-language productions, from blockbusters to documentaries, and dedicates a special section to Valencian film. Although not all, most of the films have English subtitles.

The festival will open with the 2016 comedy The Night My Mother Killed My Father, directed by Inés París and winner of the Audience Award for Best Film at the Malaga Film Festival. The festival will close with the 2012 science-fiction thriller End, directed by Jorge Torregrossa and based on the novel of the same name by David Monteagudo.

There are several highlights in the festival such as The Academy of Muses, the most recent film by renowned Spanish director and screenwriter Luis Guerín. It premiered at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival, and follows up on Guerín's zest for creating films that oscillate between documentary and fiction. It centers on a philology professor — played by actual philology professor Raffaele Pinto — and his class on muses in art and literature, which revolves around art, the artist's perspective and male-female dynamics. Guerín has directed nine features and numerous shorts, standing out for his 2007 widely acclaimed film called In the City of Sylvia.

The Venezuelan film From Afar, written and directed by Lorenzo Vigas, won the Golden Lion, the highest prize at the Venice Film Festival, in 2015. It tells the story of Armando, a wealthy middle-aged man, and his relationship with Elder, a young male gang member. Although the film has been compared with Robin Campillo’s Eastern Boys — a drama where a gay French businessman becomes the protector of a young Ukrainian hustler — critics agree that From Afar has enough plot complexity to stand on its own.

To Steal From a Thief is a commercially successful film about a bank robbery gone awry. This crime story with a twist has all the classical genre elements plus additional political undertones. The film, directed by Daniel Calparsoro, features Luis Tosar, one of the most recognizable Spanish actors at the moment, although the pivot character in the story is played by Argentinian actor Rodrigo de la Serna. To Steal From a Thief was nominated to two Goya Awards for Best New Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

Other movies notable listed in the program include The Longest Distance (2015), Orson West (2012), Secuestro (2016) and La Madre (2016).

La Película is organized by the Spanish Embassy in Prague, the Cervantes Institute and Kino Světozor.

For more information and a complete program, visit www.lapelicula.cz or www.kinosvetozor.cz (ENG)

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