Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"I pre-love you..." and other vignettes of Spanish life

Tonight I attended the first night of the Spanish Film Festival in Greenbelt, which was organized by Instituto Cervantes and supported by Travelife Magazine. I purposely cleared my schedule tonight so I could attend this event Travelife is supporting, and also so I could relax and enjoy at least one film -- and possible even two.


At 7 PM we watched a serious film called La Verguenza which is brilliantly shot in the course of one day, capturing the events in the life of a family from 10 AM to late afternoon. There are only 5 main characters telling a compelling story of complicated family relationships and how individual issues affect the collective while; but it is done so well that you only realize after the film has ended that the entire story was about four lives and lifetimes as seen through the events and discussions in the course of one day.

It's a story about a music producer and his wife in what seems to be a loving but childless marriage until they decide to adopt a child; and the movie opens at that very point where they have almost decided to return the child to the agency because he has become too difficult to handle. In trying to decide to return the child, and then to keep him, the husband and wife encounter issues that are more about their own relationship than about the child.

One of the moist poignant scenes for me was when the husband and wife decide to have the equivalent of a bull session, and they begin blurting out truths they've been hiding from each other for so long. At the end, one of them says, "I don't know if we love each other anymore."

There are other interesting scenes including the side stories of the domestic helper who takes care of the adopted child and of the social worker assigned to work on the adoption case midway. But these are just icing on the cake for the main story about the relationship between two people. Just like so many other real-life stories are.


We enjoyed this rather heavy drama so much, however, that we decided to stay on for the second film called "Primos," and officially translated as Cousinhood. It's a thoroughly entertaining film that's heavy on comedy and all kinds of guffaws, about a man who gets jilted by his bride and then who returns to his hometown with his buffoon-like cousins to recover and reunite with his past in an effort to erase the pain of a canceled wedding.

In the process, the three cousins -- all with unfinished issues of their own -- get a second chance to make things right and end up the better for it. If only everyone got such a second chance.

It's full of laughter and risqué conversation, and a couple of topless scenes as well; but also not without its heartwarming moments. One of them revolves around the jilted groom and his childhood sweetheart, who he attempts to woo again as a panacea for his pain. What started out as a joke of sorts ended up the real thing, and he falls in love and becomes a better man for it.

Everything happens too fast for the girl, however, and so the man coins the term "pre-love" and uses it instead of the word "love" to avoid spooking the girl. The girl thinks he cannot possibly love her in such a short span of time, so he is forced to use the word "pre-love" instead.

These two movies could not be more different, but they were wonderful to watch together in one go. They'll be showing throughout the festival period, along with other equally interesting films. Don't miss this rare and very accessible chance to see a bit of Spanish culture and life through the eyes of some of its best filmmakers.

Schedule for
10th Spanish Film Festival
October 5-16, 2011
Greenbelt 3, Cinema 1
Tickets are PhP65 each

Wednesday, Oct 5
Fuera de Carta (430 pm)
La verguenza (7 pm)
Primos (930 pm)

Thursday, Oct 6
La zona (430 pm)
Biutiful (7 pm)
Morirse esta en hebreo (9 pm)

Friday, Oct 7
La verguenza (430 pm)
Yo También (7 pm)
También la lluvia (930 pm)
Didi Hollywood (12 mn)

Saturday, Oct 8
El secreto de sus ojos (2 pm)
Mal dia para pescar (430 pm)
Elsa y Fred (7 pm)
Lope (930 pm)
Habitacion en Roma (12 mn)

Sunday, Oct 9
Mar adentro (2 pm)
Buried (430 pm)
También la lluvia (7 pm)
El Gran Vazquez (930 pm)

Monday, Oct 10
Mil cretinos (430 pm)
Todos las canciones hablan de mi (7 pm)
Buenas Noches, Espana (930 pm)

Tuesday, Oct 11
La vida secreta de las palabras (430 pm)
Gordos (7 pm)
Primos (930 pm)

Wednesday, Oct 12
En la ciudad sin limites (430 pm)
Amador (7 pm)
Buried (930 pm)

Thursday, Oct 13
El gran Vazquez (430 pm)
Viridiana (7 pm)
Yo, También (930 pm)

Friday, Oct 14
El secreto de sus ojos (430 pm)
Chico y Rita (7 pm)
Primos (930 pm)
Habitacion en Roma (12 mn)

Saturday, Oct 15
Fuera de carta (2 pm)
Gordos (430 pm)
Biutiful (7 pm)
Mar adentro (930 pm)
Didi Hollywood (12 mn)

Sunday, Oct 16
Fuera de carta (2 pm)
Gordos (430 pm)
Chico y Rita (7 pm)
Audience Choice (930 pm)


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