Oh, those Spaniards

Aaaand that’s the Film Festival for another year. I did mean to get back to you before this, but what with work, late nights and a lurgy trying it’s best to lay me low since Thursday, well, you know.

Anyway, I was going to tell you about the Spanish films. Oh boy, to have these films in a section called Once Upon A Time In Spain sums them up, fantastic, surreal, dark tales (thankfully with comedy, very black, very odd comedy). I started with the daddy of them all, Acción mutante……

Wow. I had heard of it and picked up that The Last Circus was by the same director (a film I saw when it first showed at EIFF years ago that’s also in this retrospective), which was a good forewarning. Acción mutante was Alex de la Iglesia’s debut film and he went for it, bonkers, surreal, funny, grotesque, I think I need to see it again. In brief, a terrorist group (made up of disabled people) kidnap a wealthy heiress in the middle of her wedding, escape in their spaceship, crash land on a planet full of crazy sex-starved miners, set up a ransom drop in a bar; a lot of people die.

Bizarrely, the anti-hero of the piece, Ramon, really reminded me of Jason Statham (especially his reaction when the girl develops Stockholm Syndrome), which kinda added to the hilarity of it all. That and the fakest dead siamese twin head I’ve ever seen! (well, it’s the only one I’ve seen, but it makes Zaphod’s second head on the HHGTTG telly series look state of the art). Yes, I need to see it again.

Next Abracadabra, and joys, we got a Q&A with the director Pablo Berger afterward the screening. A woman’s boorish, thuggish husband is possessed by a ghost after taking part in a hypnotist act at a wedding reception. Antonio de la Torre (who was previously in The Last Circus) is excellent as the two men in one body with the ghost taking more and more control over it. His wife, with aid of her cousin, slowly figures out what is happening, but how to stop it? does she want to stop it? Since thinking about the wife’s actions, I’ve spotted a great solution that was overlooked, shan’t tell you what it is as it would give away too much. Mind, my solution wouldn’t have made for such a good ending.

My final Spanish adventure was Timecrimes on at a very late hour the evening the lurgy appeared; so did the plot get totally confusing at the end or was it me? No, I don’t reckon even the good Doctor could explain the last twenty minutes of Timecrimes, he’d just say it’s timey-wimey stuff. Simply, a man keeps going back through time, just within the same day, over and over and over again, in an attempt to sort things out – yeah, that was never gonna end well! Oh, and that man with all the plans is played by Karra Elejaide who appeared in Acción mutante; the director went on to make Colossal in 2016 with Anne Hathaway, I loved that film but seem to think that had unexplained wibbly bits too.

But did you actually enjoy the films, Brucie? Yes, I enjoyed Acción mutante and Abracadabra, erm, Timecrimes, I didn’t dislike it but if it was ever on telly I wouldn’t watch it. And the other two had great endings for me, I at least understood them!

But none of these have made my Top Three.

Next time, peeps.


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