He took home this year's best director Oscar thanks to his enchanting monster romance, and now he's in the spotlight at the Spanish Film Festival. That'd be The Shape of Water's Guillermo del Toro, with the fest celebrating his 2006 Academy Award-winner Pan's Labyrinth as its closing night selection. Of course, on its stop at Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona and Palace Central from April 17 to May 6, the country's long-running celebration of Spanish-language filmmaking has plenty of other delights amongst its 25-film program.
Marking its 21st year in 2018, that includes opening night's The Tribe, a street-dancing musical comedy inspired by real-life Spain's Got Talent winners, plus No Filter, this year's Spanish box office smash about a woman who can't stop speaking her mind. Other high-profile highlights range from screenings of Pixar's gorgeous Coco — in case you missed it in cinemas late last year — to a who's who of Spanish talent in historical epic Gold; to Loving Pablo, which features Javier Bardem as Pablo Escobar and Penélope Cruz as the journalist who falls for him.
Fans of both actors can also catch them in Jamón Jamón — which, released back in 1992, was actually Cruz's first film. It plays as part of a four-feature retrospective dedicated to filmmaker Bigas Luna, alongside his fellow hits Golden Balls and The Tit and The Moon. A documentary compiled from the late director's video diaries, Bigas x Bigas, will enjoy its Australian premiere to round out the program strand.
Plus, in the kind of curation that every film festival could benefit from, the Spanish Film Festival will also showcase the work of emerging Spanish female directors. While Summer 1993 actually played at last year's fest as well, the charming delight is getting another spin, with Málaga Film Festival hit Julia Is, Spanish Civil War-focused The Bastard's Fig Tree and the Goya-nominated The Open Door also on the bill. In addition, Melburnians get an extra pick thanks to doco Singled [Out], which was partially shot in Australia by the Melbourne-based Mariona Guiu and Barcelona-based Ariadna Relea.