Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival: 5 Films to See

Jamie Dunn | The Skinny

Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival: 5 Films to See

Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival turns ten this year. As ever, it gives a snapshot of contemporary Spanish filmmaking, from prison thrillers to social satires to historical dramas, with a few classics in the mix. Here are five titles to look out for.

Prison 77 (Dir. Alberto Rodríguez)

This stirring prison drama follows the bond that forms between two prisoners held in a brutal institution in Barcelona following the fall of Franco. A tale of friendship and solidarity, the film sees the inmates push back against the barbaric penal system, just as the people of Spain had pushed back against fascism. 7 & 8 Oct, Odeon Lothian Rd, Edinburgh

20,000 Species of Bees (Dir. Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren)

You’ll find echoes of Víctor Erice’s classic Spirit of the Beehive in this thoughtful and compassionate drama from the Basque country. The film’s focus is an eight-year-old protagonist questioning her gender identity over the course of one balmy summer. It’s been compared to Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy in the canon of coming-of-age films about trans characters – high praise. 20 Oct, Odeon Lothian Rd, Edinburgh

Vasil (Dir. Avelina Prat)

This wry social satire concerns Vasil, a Bulgarian immigrant who lives rough on the streets of Valencia but finds friends in high places thanks to his skill at bridge and bonds with Alfredo (Karra Elejalde) over their mutual love of chess. A pin-sharp critique of Spanish bourgeois society and a tender story of friendship – Vasil is also one for the chess heads out there. 1 Oct, Glasgow Film Theatre; 9 Oct, Eden Court, Inverness; 14 Oct, French Institute, Edinburgh 

Love & Revolution (Dir. Alejandro Marín)

Pedro Almodóvar is the undoubted king of queer Spanish cinema, but Love & Revolution is reportedly worthy of being filed alongside his oeuvre. Set in Seville in the late 70s, it tells the history of the Andalusian LGBTQ+ movement, and brings to mind Matthew Warchus’s crowdpleaser Pride in its depiction of queer joy and solidarity in the face of a homophobic right-wing government. 8 Oct, French Institute, Edinburgh; 26 Oct, Macrobert Art Centre, Stirling

Cría cuervos… (Dir. Carlos Saura)

In among the new works of Spanish cinema you’ll find this gem from 1976, which follows a young girl who’s developed an obsession with mortality after beginning to believe she’s responsible for the death of her father. A dreamlike film bubbling over with mystery and atmosphere, you’ll want to take the chance to see this masterpiece on the big screen. 5 Oct, Central Library, Edinburgh

ESFF runs until 26 Oct at various venues in Edinburgh as well as Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness. Full programme at edinburghspanishfilmfestival.com