Elena Anaya in five films

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.