The fourth annual Latin American and Spanish Film Week hand picks some of the biggest Latin films from around the world and screens them at the University of Victoria’s Cinecenta until Sept. 22.
But don’t call it a festival, says organizer Prof. Dan Russek of UVic’s Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies. “Because our event is such a manageable size, usually about five to seven films, it allows us to choose from some of the very best movies,” he said.
Spanish Film Week is here to stay as Russek and UVic compatriots formed the non-profit Hispanic Film Society of Victoria to help ensure it’s future.
“We wanted to create this to go beyond the classroom and academia and into the community, and films are a great medium for that,” Russek said.
“We’re not just targeting students, everyone is welcome, and all films are shown with English subtitles.”
Anchoring this year’s roster is Blancanieves, a black and white, silent movie adaptation of Snow White that won 10 Goya Awards (the Spanish film awards) including Best Film in 2012.
Blancanieves will wrap up Film Week on Sunday with 7 and 9 p.m. showings.
It should have been in the same conversation as The Artist, which won the Oscar’s best picture award, but didn’t come out until later. The re-imagination is set in Southern Spain in the ‘20s and is a personal drama about a young women, Carmen, who fights different odds with quirky elements, including a group of dwarf bullfighters.
“Snow White began filming before The Artist but finished afterwards, he feels bad that Snow White arrived later. It shows that you can do a great movie, black and white, and silent. The Artist went on to prominence so it’s a shame, Snow White could have earned more discussion as they are contemporaries,” Russek said.
Tonight’s showing is Spanish Film Week’s first animated feature, Chico y Rita. The animation captures the flavour and lighting of Havana and New York City, as the protagonists move between the two.
“It has great visuals and the jazz music, and the movie really, is an homage to Bebo Valdes, the piano player who was involved in making the movie,” Russek said.
Chico y Rita, which dates back to 2010, won multiple Goyas and an Oscar nomination for best animated film.
View the full lineup at hispfilmvic.ca, or visit cinecenta.com for more.
By Travis Paterson