Five Spanish films to watch

You only have seven days left to enjoy the well-curated and free 2022 Película Spanish Film Festival.

Ongoing until 16 October at the Shangri-La Plaza, Cine Adarna at UP Diliman, and Instituto Cervantes Intramuros, the line-up is chiefly composed of recent contemporary Spanish films. If you can’t make it to the onsite screenings, Película has a few titles online — also for free.

With all the good titles to choose from, it’s hard to pick which ones to prioritize. So here are five of the festival highlights:

1. Official Competition (2021) Premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year, the critically praised satire Official Competition, starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, pokes fun at the film industry. Cruz plays an eccentric Cannes-winning director who decides to adapt to screen a Nobel Prize-winning novel. Banderas, meanwhile, plays one of her actors whose relationship with his co-star, a method actor (Oscar Martinez), is riddled with tension and hilarity. Screening: 15 October, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CINEMAGAVIA.COM ‘To the Women of Spain. Maria Lejarraga.’

2. To the Women of Spain. Maria Lejarraga (2022) This documentary focuses on writer, feminist, politician, and artist María Lejárraga in the 1920s. Lejárraga’s life was an extraordinary one, especially since she was the pioneer of feminism in Spain. Also a prolific playwright, she frequently collaborated with her husband, the theater impresario Gregorio Martínez Sierra. The Civil War played a role in thwarting some of Lejárraga’s major plans. Screening: 14 October, Friday, 6 p.m. via

3. The Daughter (2021) With a whopping 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, La Hija follows a 15-year-old who lives in a center for juvenile offenders. Her unplanned pregnancy at the center becomes a catalyst for change. This drama-thriller premiered in last year’s prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. Screening: Shangri-La Plaza, 14 October, Friday, 4 p.m.

4. Spain, the First Globalization (2021) History buffs may want to examine the “Spanish Black Legend,” as this documentary by Jose Luis Lopez-Linares tries to debunk it. With interviews with 39 historians, it aims to give enlightenment on little-known facets of the Spanish Empire. Screening: 12 October, Wednesday, 6 p.m.,

5. The Deer (2018) This gorgeously lensed drama and winner at the San Sebastian Film Festival, The Deer revolves around a displaced man, Khalil, who resides in the margins of the city and who often hangs out with a poacher with an estranged brother. Mostly set in riverbanks and marshes, the film unfolds into a dramatic tale of complicated relationships. Screening: 11 October, Tuesday, 5 p.m., IC Intramuros.

Visit Pelicula’s official website for more information.

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