Film Programs

Focus on Nation Cinema: Spain

Each year for more than two decades, the Denver Film Festival has been choosing one country worthy of special attention and spotlighting its cinematic achievements. Spain has been on our minds for a long time; its film history provides a deep, rich well from which today’s artists can draw. Many of Spain’s top directors, actors and actresses have become international stars, and the latter half of the 20th century is strewn with recognized Spanish classics.
We’ve put together what we think is an incredibly diverse slate of seven new feature films and three shorts—and as a bonus, we’ve brought back The Search for Emak Bakia, which won the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary
at DFF36.

Dead Slow Ahead
Spain 2015 76 min.

Meditative and visually stunning, this experimental debut by Mauro Herce defies labels as it blurs the lines between documentary and sci-fi. Shot on a cargo ship with a two-person crew, it examines the life of machines, asking us to ponder the power dynamic between humans and their technology.

Food and Shelter
Spain 2015 90 min.

This sobering, coolly depicted glimpse of life on the edge earned Juan Miguel del Castillo a nomination for Best New Director at Spain’s prestigious Goya Awards; the prize for Best Actress went to Natalia de Molina for her pitch-perfect portrayal of a single mother trapped in poverty.

Kiki, Love to Love
Spain 2016 102 min.

Telling the stories of five couples as they explore their sexual desires and hangups, this erotic comedy has the air of early Almodóvar. Director Paco León has created a runaway Spanish hit by examining what it means to be “normal” in society’s eyes.

The Olive Tree
Spain 2016 100 min.

The complicated relationships among three generations of a family take center stage in this subtle, affecting drama from Spain. Alma believes that the decision her father and uncle made to sell an heirloom olive tree destroyed her grandfather’s spirit—so she sets out to bring the tree home.

United Kingdom 2015 99 min.

Scottish director Ben Sharrock offers a look, comedic and touching by turns, at two young lovers struggling to find privacy and consummate their relationship. But in sleepy Basque country, they’re beleaguered by the economic hardships Europe is facing.

The Search for Emak Bakia
Spain 2012 84 min.

This endlessly enchanting experimental doc seeks an answer to the origins of Man Ray’s mysterious 1926 Basque-language film. Oskar Alegria’s fascinating investigation uncovers an incidentally connected cast of real-world Romanian princesses and immortal clowns.

The Shepherd
Spain 2016 105 min.

In this timely story of one man’s struggle to preserve his traditions in a rapidly changing world, Anslemo’s quiet life on the Spanish plains is turned upside down when he’s confronted by developers who will go to any lengths to take over his land.

The Tip of the Iceberg
Spain 2016 95 min.

Maribel Verdu (Y Tu Mamá También) leads a fine ensemble cast in David Canovas’s stylish tale of intrigue about a corporate executive sent to investigate employee suicides at a high-functioning but stress-filled company branch.

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