If you are a Spanish cinema film buff (and we’re sure you are if you’re reading
this) you must know who Elena Anaya is. Perhaps you like her work but did you
know that her latest film, Swung, is a Scottish production filmed in Glasgow and
that it will be released in the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival
If you want to know a bit more about the career of one of Spain’s most talented
and beautiful actress, here are five more of her films to get you in the swing for:
– Familia, by Fernando León (1996), was the double debut of two undiscovered
talents. It was Anaya’s first big role and Fernando León’s first film (he later went
on to direct Mondays in the Sun, one of Spanish cinema’s recent big successes). It
is the story of Santiago, a man without a family, who contracts a theatre company
to perform as his relatives at his 55th birthday party.
– Sex and Lucía, by Julio Médem (2001). This was a turning point in her career as
an unforgettable supporting character in one of the most famous Spanish films
outside of the country. As you can imagine from its title, Sex and Lucía is very
explicit, but it’s also a rare lyrical erotic movie in which she plays the daughter of
a porn actress, obsessed with her mother’s new boyfriend. She received her first
nomination for the Goya awards.
Anaya obtained her second nomination when she worked with Medem again in
Room in Rome (2011). It was also a very poetic and explicit love story: this time,
the brief one-night romance between two women in the Italian capital.
If you are subscribed to Netflix, you can watch Sex and Lucía here.
– Van Helsing, by Stephen Sommers (2004). This was her first performance in
English as one of the Count Dracula’s three girlfriends in a new version of the
– Sexy Back, Justin Timberlake’s music video (2006). Filmed in Barcelona, Elena
had a brief and intense romance with the American singer on screen.
– The Skin I Live in, by Pedro Almodóvar (2011). Perhaps the role she is most
recognised for. Anaya gave one of her greatest performances and at last she was
awarded with a well-deserved Goya for the Best Actress.
The Skin I Live in was a new version of Frankenstein’s myth and, as usual with
Almodóvar’s movies, the plot was full of twists and secrets where nothing is
what it seems (if you haven’t seen the film, you may stop reading as there’s a
spoiler in the following lines). There was only one element that the audience
difficultly believed in this fantastic film: that Anaya was the monster created by
Antonio Banderas. This crazed surgeon plans revenge on his daughter’s rapist by
transforming him into a her. It’s hard to describe waking up one day to discover
that you’ve been transformed into this stunning woman as a punishment.
If you are interested in seeing Swung, click here for more information about
screenings and buying your tickets at the EIFF.