If you want to take a break from your favorite online casino this weekend and do something different, why not check out some excellent Spanish films that will move, excite and thrill you and feed your imagination? Here is a look at some Academy Award winning Spanish films of the last two decades, which you can easily find on DVD at your nearest rental or VOD.
The Spanish title of this well-known film is El Laberinto del Fauno, The Labyrinth of the Faun. This visual treat is a dark fantasy film dealing with themes of war and religion, drawing on fairy tales and rich symbolism. The story is set in Spain, five years after the Spanish Civil War, where young Ofelia travels with her ill and pregnant mother to meet her new stepfather, Vidal, who is hunting down republican rebels. There Ofelia discovers a labyrinth, where she meets a stunningly visualized faun who tells her she is the incarnation of Princess Moanna, and is given three tasks to complete. The Guillermo del Toro direction won for score, art direction and makeup.
This Spanish drama by Alejandro Amenabar won the best foreign language film award for its graceful and tender tale of a 25-year-old terminally ill man’s choice to die and his 28-year-old fight for euthanasia. Javier Barden shone in the role of Ramon Sampedro, whose true story is the inspiration for this film. Rather than being a melodramatic tearjerker, which the subject matter could easily have become in less skillful hands, the film is a gentle exploration of Sampedro’s relationship with two women – Julia, a Cadasil syndrome sufferer who supports his choice to die with dignity, and Rosa, who wants to make him see that life is worth living.
Talk to Her is a Spanish comedy-drama that follows the relationship between two men – a journalist and a personal nurse - who strike up a friendship as they care for two women who are in comas. The film takes a compassionate look at the difficulties of communication between men and women, loneliness and intimacy, and dealing with loss. The film won for best screenplay, and TIME Magazine listed it in their 2005 list of All-Time 100 Greatest Movies.
Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother starring Penelope Cruz and Cecilia Roth revolves around the story of an Argentine nurse working with organ transplants. Single mother Manuela, played by Roth, loses her teenage son to an accident, donates his heart, and then quits her job to search for her son’s father, the transvestite Lola, in Barcelona. There she meets and becomes entwined in the lives of several other characters. The film deals sensitively with the themes of homosexuality, faith, AIDS and existentialism.
Fernando Trueba’s comedy-drama Belle Epoque draws its title from the time before the Spanish Civil War, and tells the story of Fernando, a young deserter, who strikes up a friendship with an old man and his four beautiful daughters. He pursues relationships with each of the daughters – a new widow, a lesbian, a social climber and the naive youngest girl played by Penelope Cruz. The film won the Best Foreign Language Film and also received nine Goya awards including Best Film.
This charming 11-minute short film written by Laurent Witz and co-directed by Spanish-Luxembourgish Alexandre Espigares won the award for best animated short. The film tells the story of the obsessive-compulsive and reclusive Mr. Hublot, who lives in a steampunk city and his orderly life, is threatened when he brings home an abandoned robot-puppy which grows too big for the small apartment.