The Spanish film industry will be in the spotlight this weekend, when the winners of the 31st Goya Awards will be announced. The ceremony takes place in Madrid on Saturday.
Oddly, the film that garnered the most nominations – 12 of them – A Monster Calls, is not in Spanish, but in English and is based upon the book of the same name by Patrick Ness. However, the director J.A. Bayona, and much of the production team were Spanish, and it is a great credit to the Spanish film industry.
I have seen the film and was enthralled by it. It may look like a typical and possibly silly part-animated children’s movie, along the lines of ‘boy befriends an E.T. or a Lochness Monster’ or in this case a scary tree, but don’t be fooled. Emotionally there is a lot going on here that adults of all generations can relate to.
It is one of the five contenders in the Best Film category. The others are:
Julieta, directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
(Like A Monster Calls, there is a lot of family anguish and soul-searching going on here. I have seen it but despite it getting rave reviews, it left me somewhat cold and unconvinced. For me A Monster Calls was way more satisfying.)
Que Dios Nos Perdone (May God Save Us), directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.
(Here two troubled police officers are hunting down a serial killer in Madrid in 2011, just as the Pope is paying a visit. )
El Hombre de Las Mil Caras (Smoke and Mirrors), directed by Alberto Rodríguez.
(This is a political thriller involving a corruption scandal and a Spanish secret service agent who fakes his own death. I could not find a trailer with English subtitles. While the film has been called Smoke and Mirrors in English, a literal translation would be The Man With A Thousand Faces).
Tarde Para La Ira (The Fury of a Patient Man), directed by Raúl Arévalo.
(This is tale of revenge, full of suspense, with a lot of twists and turns. The Spanish title would be literally translated as Late For Anger. If you are going to see it, try not to read reviews and some reveal too much of the plot)
All up, it is not a particularly cheerful bunch of films, is it? The last three in particular are full of macho men behaving badly.