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Spanish Challenge; Official - August 2014
Topic Started: Jul 31 2014, 05:45:47 PM (2,134 Views)
sortile9io
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2014 Spanish Challenge

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¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to the 2014 Spanish Challenge! We'll be watching Spanish cinema from August 1st to August 31st.

Rules:
- A feature film (anything over 40 minutes) counts as one entry.
- A total of 60 minutes of short films count as one entry.
- For mini-series or TV shows (40 minute episodes or longer) each episode counts as an entry.
- For mini-series or TV shows with shorter episodes (25 minutes or so), the 60 minutes rule applies.
- Rewatches are OK (but only once).
- Personal short reviews (even a single line) of the films you watch are particularly appreciated as they contribute to make the challenge more appealing and can help others to pick (or discard) titles.

Specific ICM official lists:
- Goya Award
- Nickel Odeon Top Spanish films until 1995

Specific ICM non-official non-personal lists:
- 50 best Spanish Movies by Rockdelux
- A Critical Anthology of Spanish Cinema (1906-1995)
- Cinema ad hoc: las 50 mejores películas españolas de la historia
- Cintas de oro: The 50 Best Spanish films
- Goya Award Best Film Nominees
- Guide to the Cinema of Spain
- Nickel Odeon - Best Comedies in Spanish Cinema
- Nickel Odeon - Best Screenplays in Spanish Cinema
- Popular Spanish cinema in the late Franco years
- Spanish submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Spanish titles on iCM Forum's 500<400 (2013):
- El verdugo (1963)
- El sur (1983)
- Muerte de un ciclista (1955)
- En la ciudad de Sylvia (2007)
- Arrebato (1980)
- Bienvenido Mister Marshall (1953)
- El extraño viaje (1964)
- Plácido (1961)
- ¿Quién puede matar a un niño? (1976)
- Calle Mayor (1956)
- Tras el cristal (1987)

If you are in a hurry and don't know yet what those Spaniards have to do with cinema, the following triad appears regularly on top of many best-of lists: "Viridiana", "El verdugo" and "El espíritu de la colmena". And they will take you no more than 4.5 hours.

Participants (14):
- 3eyes
- ataraxic
- bjornam
- brokenface
- Buksemannen
- cinephage
- clemmetarey
- Fergenaprido
- HVM
- Melvelet
- mjf314
- ryebass
- sortile9io
- tomelce

Final score:
1. sortile9io - 21
2. ataraxic - 14
3. HVM - 10
4. bjornam - 7
5. ryebass - 5
6. 3eyes - 4
7. cinephage - 4
8. Fergenaprido - 4
9. Melvelet - 4
10. mjf314 - 4
11. brokenface - 3
12. tomelce - 1
13. Buksemannen - 0
14. clemmetarey - 0
Edited by sortile9io, Sep 1 2014, 05:06:22 PM.
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HVM
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I'm game.
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Knaldskalle
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So... That's Luis Buñuel on the left. Who are the other guys?
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jeroeno
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Knaldskalle
Jul 31 2014, 06:14:11 PM
So... That's Luis Buñuel on the left. Who are the other guys?
Carlos Saura and Luis García Berlanga.
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sortile9io
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jeroeno
Jul 31 2014, 06:17:38 PM
Knaldskalle
Jul 31 2014, 06:14:11 PM
So... That's Luis Buñuel on the left. Who are the other guys?
Carlos Saura and Luis García Berlanga.
That's right. I wanted a picture with Buñuel, Berlanga and Erice but this is the closest I could found. And it is fine too.
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funkybusiness
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This...is a cactus.
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sortile9io
Jul 31 2014, 06:54:17 PM
jeroeno
Jul 31 2014, 06:17:38 PM
Knaldskalle
Jul 31 2014, 06:14:11 PM
So... That's Luis Buñuel on the left. Who are the other guys?
Carlos Saura and Luis García Berlanga.
That's right. I wanted a picture with Buñuel, Berlanga and Erice but this is the closest I could found. And it is fine too.
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You're welcome.
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jeroeno
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funkybusiness
Jul 31 2014, 07:10:42 PM
sortile9io
Jul 31 2014, 06:54:17 PM
jeroeno
Jul 31 2014, 06:17:38 PM
Knaldskalle
Jul 31 2014, 06:14:11 PM
So... That's Luis Buñuel on the left. Who are the other guys?
Carlos Saura and Luis García Berlanga.
That's right. I wanted a picture with Buñuel, Berlanga and Erice but this is the closest I could found. And it is fine too.
Posted Image

You're welcome.
Certainly we can have one with all four of them :teehee: :whistling:
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te18
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In.
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mjf314
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I'm in. I'll aim for 4 so that I can reach my goal for 2014 (25/100 on the Nickel Odeon list).
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clemmetarey
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In, but probably not for much
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Buksemannen
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In.
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Fergenaprido
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I'm in.

Hopefully I can watch the 3 I have on my computer already: Mujeres al borde..., Celda 211, & Krámpack. If I don't end up moving this month, I'll get a few more from the library. And hopefully one of the copies of Cachorro online will be of decent quality. Final goal: 5 films.
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ryebass
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3eyes
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Bunuel is all over the map in terms of where he made his films - do the French and Mexican ones count?
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sortile9io
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3eyes
Aug 1 2014, 03:53:46 AM
Bunuel is all over the map in terms of where he made his films - do the French and Mexican ones count?
Only Spanish productions.
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Melvelet
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À la recherche du temps perdu...
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Still a lot of <400 checks films I want to watch before the new list is done but I'll at least try to watch all the Spanish ones on the current list.
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3eyes
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OK, I'll try to watch a few.
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sortile9io
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Melvelet
Aug 1 2014, 12:52:02 PM
Still a lot of <400 checks films I want to watch before the new list is done but I'll at least try to watch all the Spanish ones on the current list.
That's a good approach. I've added the 11 (let me know if I missed any) Spanish titles on that list to the introductory post.
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Buksemannen
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When we're at spanish films, i want to recommend Carlos Saura's Stress-es tres-tres (1968) Its a stylistic masterpiece with a mere 12 checks. The rip on KG is in very good quality. It's also on Youtube.
Edited by Buksemannen, Aug 1 2014, 09:51:11 PM.
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Erice in place. Seen in the back: George Lucas who put on his Erice disguise in hope of getting to pose for the picture, unfortunately arriving too late.


1. Furtivos / Poachers (José Luis Borau 1975)
Angel lives with his mother in the forest, but when he finds love in the city, he also finds trouble. The story is a parable of how the Franco regime treated their people. That Borau could create such a daring criticism and get away with it is an achievement. Some of the scenes here are really cruel. The film is heavy on atmosphere, with some great photography. 4/5

2. Elisa, vida mía / Elisa, My Love (Carlos Saura 1977)
Being a great admirer of Saura's work from La Caza on and including all the films with (muse) Geraldine Chaplin, I had been holding this one off for a long time. It didn't disappoint. Although more slow paced than usual, it paid off with some of the most beautiful sequences I've seen from him. It's incredible how comfortably he can move between reality and flashbacks or fantasy at this point. And Geraldine was great, this might well be her best work as an actress. 4.5/5
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sortile9io
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bjornam
Aug 2 2014, 01:01:27 AM
Erice in place. Seen in the back: George Lucas who put on his Erice disguise in hope of getting to pose for the picture, unfortunately arriving too late.
Oh! This is good! You even took the trouble to blur Lucas so his figure blends properly with the background. And quite a forceful start, by the way.
Edited by sortile9io, Aug 2 2014, 10:31:13 AM.
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Melvelet
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I'll have to explore that Carlos Saura character.
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bjornam
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sortile9io
Today 11:29 AM
Oh! This is good! You even took the trouble to blur Lucas so his figure blends properly with the background. And quite a forceful start, by the way.

Thanks, sortile9io. Yeah, I was very impressed by those two films.

Melvelet
Today 11:35 AM
I'll have to explore that Carlos Saura character.

Yes! Typically mentioned must-sees are Cria Cuervos and La Caza, but every film he made in between those is worth a look (his later career admittedly being more mixed). His admiration of Buñuel is visible in the films, but the love went both ways - Buñuel mentioned both La Caza and La prima Angélica as favourite films. My personal favourites are Angelicá - mixing memories and history beautifully - and his new wave Vertigo-like Peppermint Frappé.

-

3. Blancanieves / Snow White (Pablo Berger 2012)
Nicely twisted new version of the Snow White tale with some Cinderella thrown in, presented as a silent with a good, traditional (=a bit boring) score. Some plot mechanisms do feel a bit forced, but it is a fairytale, so most of those things should be allowed to pass I guess.

It's a silent, but it feels inconsequential. Much is done to preserve the feeling - the image is black and white and framed at 1.37:1 with rounded corners, title cards are of usual 20's design. But it does feel like it's shot and processed on modern equipment - there isn't the typical texture (maybe a result of digital grading and "cleanup"). Besides, camera movements are always super-smooth. It just doesn't feel authentic. I had the same problem with The Artist, which besides didn't dare to stay silent.

Some sequences are elegantly built, often with faster and faster editing towards the climax Gance style. Otherwise dramatic angles are used, or expressionist lighting. Sometimes overused. And sometimes a bit random - e.g. a grotesque super-closeup to simply show a man smiling. Eisenstein used that for shock value.

By the late 20's, silent cinema had developed to a visually outstanding art form, a unique form of expression. The greatest directors added to it and helped developing it further. They didn't just throw a bunch of "greatest tricks" together. In that way, I prefer Guy Maddin. He is also borrowing from silent cinema, but does build upon the form to make it his own.

3/5


4. Recuerdos de una mañana / Memories of a Morning (José Luis Guerín 2011)
Being a fan of In the City of Sylvia, I always wanted to see some of Guerín's documentaries.

Across the street from Guerín, Manel used to live (on the 5th floor). He was often standing on the balcony, playing his violin (we see some footage of this at the beginning of the film). One day he jumps to his death. Guerin talks to many of the people who lives or works nearby; about how they experienced the incident and their relation to Manel. It becomes a reflection on suicide and how it affects a small society. And while Manel was often feeling lonesome, his absence is strongly felt by a lot of people.

Guerin shot this on rough DV, but it's beautifully put together, and reveals the poetic qualities he possesses. This is specially prominent in the last sequence, which is shot inside Manel's apartment.

Powerful.
Edited by bjornam, Aug 3 2014, 03:53:27 AM.
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mjf314
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1. Tristana (1970)
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Melvelet
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À la recherche du temps perdu...
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bjornam
Aug 3 2014, 03:52:02 AM
Melvelet
Today 11:35 AM
I'll have to explore that Carlos Saura character.

Yes! Typically mentioned must-sees are Cria Cuervos and La Caza, but every film he made in between those is worth a look (his later career admittedly being more mixed). His admiration of Buñuel is visible in the films, but the love went both ways - Buñuel mentioned both La Caza and La prima Angélica as favourite films. My personal favourites are Angelicá - mixing memories and history beautifully - and his new wave Vertigo-like Peppermint Frappé.

And his earlier films?
I'll watch Cria Cuervos for the Harvard list. Those other films do look quite interesting though. So many movies, so few time...
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HVM
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1. Belle epoque (1992) 7/10
2. Jamón, jamón (1992) 8/10 Det ending :satstunned:
3. La nina de tus ojos (1998) 6/10
4. Huevos de oro (1993) 6/10
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sortile9io
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HVM
Aug 3 2014, 05:35:28 PM
2. Jamón, jamón (1992) 8/10 Det ending :satstunned:
What do you mean? A detached ending you didn't like?
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HVM
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sortile9io
Aug 3 2014, 05:57:38 PM
HVM
Aug 3 2014, 05:35:28 PM
2. Jamón, jamón (1992) 8/10 Det ending :satstunned:
What do you mean? A detached ending you didn't like?
Melodrama turned to 11. It was glorious.
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ryebass
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1. Viridiana (Bunuel, 1961) 7/10

Didn't hate it but never got fully caught up in it; I might have suffered a bit from reading way too much hype (100% Rotten Tomatoes etc.). Fernando Rey again as letch, love it (very reminiscent of Tristana in that respect, which, by the way, I enjoyed more). The unfortunate moral of the story seems to be...ummm...homeless people really are scary bastards?!
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cinephage
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01 - ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!! by Pedro Almodovar (1984) 7,5/10

I believe there was an autobiographical part in it, but I could be wrong. In any case Carmen Maura is just perfect in this picture.
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mjf314
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2. Welcome, Mr. Marshall! (1953)
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3eyes
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mjf314
Aug 4 2014, 12:27:47 AM
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2. Welcome, Mr. Marshall! (1953)
I've seen two other movies that were riffs on this: One was The Pope's toilet, the only Uruguayan film i've seen; the other was Romanian, may have been part of an omnibus film.
--

1. Tristana (Sp 70, Bunuel)

This was pretty tame compared to most Bunuel films I've seen. Enjoyable, anyhow.
Edited by 3eyes, Aug 4 2014, 02:00:57 AM.
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te18
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1. For Elisa (2013) 3/10

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bjornam
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Melvelet
Yesterday 8:52 AM
And his earlier films?
I'll watch Cria Cuervos for the Harvard list. Those other films do look quite interesting though. So many movies, so few time...

Sorry, haven't seen anything he made prior to La Caza.
Watching Cria Cuervos is a must :)

5. Los santos inocentes / The Holy Innocents (Mario Camus 1984)
Solid class drama about tenant farmers working for their rich landowners. Very colorful characters; bird lover Azaria, the loud-crying "tiny girl", faithful servant Paco who breaks his leg twice and a classic no-empathy bad guy, the bird hunter Señorito Ivan. 3.5/5

6. La aldea maldita / The Cursed Village (Florián Rey 1930)
Late silent with some nice photography with a touch of expressionism (including a well done nod to Nosferatu). Sadly, I didn't get very engaged in this parade of miseries. 2.5/5

Posted Image
7. Die Stille vor Bach / The Silence Before Bach (Pere Portabella 2007)
Now, this was something else. Mostly fictional scenes - some set in the present, some in the 18th century - about people and their relation to Bach, scattered between long music sequences - performances, a mechanical piano, someone practicing etc etc - celebrating the master himself. If you like Bach, the goose bump factor is high - how about ~30 cellists performing the Cello suite in the subway, in a long continuous steadicam shot? Now, that's beautiful. If you don't like Bach, you can safely bach off. 4/5

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Edited by bjornam, Aug 4 2014, 11:43:34 PM.
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3eyes
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2. El verdugo (Spain 63)

Of the three that Sortil suggested to start with, I'd seen both of the others, but this one was new to me. Thanks for the tip!
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sortile9io
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3eyes
Aug 6 2014, 02:23:51 AM
2. El verdugo (Spain 63)

Of the three that Sortil suggested to start with, I'd seen both of the others, but this one was new to me. Thanks for the tip!
You're welcome. Which was your favourite of the three?
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3eyes
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sortile9io
Aug 6 2014, 09:57:05 AM
3eyes
Aug 6 2014, 02:23:51 AM
2. El verdugo (Spain 63)

Of the three that Sortil suggested to start with, I'd seen both of the others, but this one was new to me. Thanks for the tip!
You're welcome. Which was your favourite of the three?
I can't tell you because it's so long since i've seen the others (last century anyway). Viridiana came out while i was in college, for heavens sakes (Bunuel's son was a classmate) - I have seen it since, though.
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HVM
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5. Bienvenido Mister Marshall (1953) 6,5/10
6. Plácido (1961) 5/10

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sortile9io
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3eyes
Aug 6 2014, 02:08:27 PM
sortile9io
Aug 6 2014, 09:57:05 AM
3eyes
Aug 6 2014, 02:23:51 AM
2. El verdugo (Spain 63)

Of the three that Sortil suggested to start with, I'd seen both of the others, but this one was new to me. Thanks for the tip!
You're welcome. Which was your favourite of the three?
I can't tell you because it's so long since i've seen the others (last century anyway). Viridiana came out while i was in college, for heavens sakes (Bunuel's son was a classmate) - I have seen it since, though.
Really? Where was that? I mean, the college.
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Fergenaprido
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1. Krámpack aka Nico & Dani (2000) dir. Cesc Gay - 8/10

Coming of age story of two close friends who end up on the opposite sides of the Kinsey scale. The acting was quite good and felt rather natural, especially among the four youngsters; only the subplot with the writer seemed a bit odd/forced. I especially liked the wisdom of the English tutor and how she never seemed to freak out about anything that worried some of the other adults, while still looking out for the best interests of the teens. But most of all, this film made me want to be back in Spain. So much.
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