Monstrous acts dominate top films in Spain’s Goya Awards

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.

The foreigners at the BAFTAs

After the recent excitement of the Golden Globes, attention turned today to the BAFTA nominations. The British Academy of Film And Television Arts released its list of 2017 award nominees and, as expected the Hollywood musical La La Land dominated, scoring 11 nominations.

The foreign language film contenders did not include the Golden Globe-winning French film Elle, because it has not yet opened in England, so it will probably be a contender in the 2018 BAFTAs.

But there were French connections. One of the nominees was Dheepan, which looks at the lives of Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka to settle in France. Cheerful stuff!

Spanish is another Romance language that gets a role at the BAFTAs, in the form of Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta.

I am a great fan of Pedro Almodóvar and will always go to see his films at the cinema, but I must confess  Julieta left me a little cold. That said, I have friends who have raved about it.

Turkish-born French director  Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang (in Turkish), which was an Oscar contender last year and also won four César awards in 2016, is also a BAFTA contender, as is the 2016 best foreign film Oscar winner Son of Saul (in Hungarian). Completing the list is the German comedy Toni Erdmann, which I will talk about in a later post.

The BAFTA awards will take place in London on February 12.