A Cinematic Plate of Tapas from the Spanish Film Festival

This year’s Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival, that takes place entirely on line, includes a very special selection of 7 shorts films. Coming under the broad heading of Tarde en Corto (The Shortest Afternoon) and the more specific heading A Slice of Life, this thoroughly enjoyable and eclectic selection fits the bill for both descriptions.

While the programme blurb rightly describes the showcase as a blend of ‘emotion, love and humour’, the strongest thread in the weave is that of humour that pleasingly makes its presence felt at various levels through these cinematic gems, all made between 2017 and 2019.

While each film comes with English subtitles, the single 8 minute animation, Cazatalentos (Talent Scout), from 12 Pigűinos Animation, has none as it is a completely visual piece apart from accompanying music. A jaded and weary Dominique mourns his glorious past as a talent scout in Paris as he views a series of mediocre acts, then the sound of a Spanish guitar leads him to a unique talent who has found her way there after the Spanish Civil War. The film’s palette of Autumn colours indicates the dying season as well as irony of their beauty so serve as the perfect mood for this touching  film that captures so much so well.

This programme is like a surprise chocolate box. What next, you ask? Well Manspreading from director Abdelatif Hwidar could not be more different. This 8 minute short takes place in a metro train when a woman challenges a fellow passenger about his behaviour. A hilarious watch with a dark message! The shortest of the shorts is the brilliantly observed 6 minute comedy satire on office machinations Para Ayer (We Need it Yesterday) from director Celia Galán.

Princesa de Hielo (Ice Princess) is a 15 minute long film from director Pablo Guerrero that looks at the topic of a young boy called Lucas who prefers his room with a theme from Frozen rather than Transformers or cartoon cars. At the festival of Epiphany, when Spanish children write to the Three Kings who bore gifts to Jesus with their wishes, Lucas makes his  clear. The result is an affirming and surprising film addressing a sensitive topic with a light comic touch.

Seattle, written and directed by Marta Aledo, is the longest film in the showcase, with a running time of 20 minutes and the one that tips the entire programme to Certificate 16+. It tells the story of an affair between pilot Ivan and stewardess Amanda as they fly the globe together showing the development of their illicit relationship across a barrage of cities. Nurria Herrero and Antonio Galeano do a top  job of delivering  the astutely observed script with its  ending worthy of O. Henry!

Director Hugo de la Riva has created a giant of a short film with the literally fabulous Sancho that could well be summed up by the line in it ‘not all truth is written’.  Starring Jorge Calvo as the modest Sancho, sidekick to the pompous Quijote, played by Javi Coll, it beautifully captures the landscape – windmills and all. When a colossal pair of legs appear in the background, the question is whether they’ve been imagined!  But no.  They belong to the Giant, played by Mario Zorilla, who holds the future of Sancho in his enormous hands. The technique used to achieve the utter believability of the presence of this man strikes as flawless in this enormously funny 13 minute fantasy.

The seventh film Cerdita (Piggy) was unavailable for preview.

Over all Certificate  16 – some films  universal.

Screening on 10th and 11th October

Irene Brown

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