Spanish Film Festival

Say hola to the Melbourne's annual showcase of Spanish and Latin American movies — including a celebration of Salvador Dalí in cinema.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 15, 2024

Overview

When the Spanish Film Festival hits picture palaces for 2024, playing Melbourne from Friday, June 14–Wednesday, July 10, it'll pay tribute to the one and only Salvador Dalí. 2024 marks 120 years since the Spanish artist's birth, so this annual showcase of movies from Spain and Latin America is including an ode to the surrealist great through cinema.

Documentary Salvador Dalí: In Search of Immortality is filled with archival footage, 1929 short film Un Chien Andalou is a collaboration between Dalí and filmmaker Luis Buñuel, and 1930's L'Age d'Or is penned by the pair. Also featured: Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, in which Dalí was responsible for the dream sequence.

When you're not celebrating Dalí at this year's Spanish Film Festival, there's plenty more to see — including opening night's Chile-set The Movie Teller from director Lone Scherfig (The Kindness of Strangers) and co-writer Walter Salles (Central Station), as starring the Buenos Aires-born Bérénice Bejo (Final Cut) and Barcelona-born Daniel Brühl (All Quiet on the Western Front). It'll kick off the fest when it brings its feast of Spanish flicks to The Astor Theatre, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Penny Lane, Palace Westgarth, The Kino, Palace Balwyn and Pentridge Cinema.

Also, when Un Amor, the latest from Elisa & Marcela director Isabel Coixet, pops up on the lineup, it's part of a focus on the filmmaker. Elegy, which stars Ben Kingsley (The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar) and Penélope Cruz (Ferrari), is on the spotlight bill as well — as is 2013's Yesterday Never Ends and the Monica Bellucci (Mafia Mamma)-led Those Who Love from 1998.

Other highlights span drama The Girls at the Station, a coming-of-age tale about three girls who grow up at a juvenile detention centre; Something Is About to Happen, focusing on a woman who loses her job, which won Malena Alterio (Strangers) a Goya; Jokes & Cigarettes, a biopic of comedian Eugenio; and vino-focused documentary Rioja: The Land of a Thousand Wines. Or, there's Checkmates, which rocketed up the Spanish box office with an underdog story about kids trying to win the Spanish Chess Championship — and Saturn Return, which takes inspiration from Spanish band Los Planetas.

The timely Artificial Justice follows a judge assessing if AI can be used in the justice system, and Vera and the Pleasures of Others focuses on a 17-year-old girl who likes listening to exactly what the title spells out. Then there's the roster of titles from Latin America, such as Totem, which takes place across one day in a Mexican household; Bad Actor, which tells a post-#MeToo era tale; sci-fi thriller Aire: Just Breathe; and wellness dark comedy The Practice.

There's more where they came from, including one helluva closing-night pick: Alejandro Jodorowsky's iconic The Holy Mountain, adding more surrealism beyond Dalí to the program.

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