Good Morning, Freedom! Spanish Cinema after Franco
September 9-22

This selection of key films from Spain's newly unrestricted era, following 40 years of dictatorship under General Francisco Franco, was originally programmed for the British Film Institute (BFI) by Joana Granero, who also curated the excellent Cinema and the Spanish Civil War series shown at AFI Silver in 2009.

With the death of Franco, whose dictatorship lasted nearly 40 years, Spain entered into a newly democratized socio-political atmosphere that allowed a burst of cultural liberation and experimentation for the first time in over a generation.

The cinema saw many films that consciously broke with the previous climate of repression and aspired to a new national identity characterized by social liberation. It gave a green light to an alternative, adventurous and eclectic culture or counterculture, and to innovative talents such as Pedro Almodovar, Fernando Trueba and Iván Zulueta. Breaking with the previous climate of repression, they dealt with subjects that previously couldn't even be mentioned: sex, drugs, homosexuality and political critique.

Many of these films typify what has come to be known as "la Movida Madrileña." Originating as a pop music movement, its hedonistic high-spirited messiness — with mottos like "Madrid nunca duerme" ("Madrid never sleeps") or "!Esta noche todo el mundo a la calle!" ("Everybody in the street tonight!") — la Movida influenced and extended across other fields including film, television, photography, fashion, comics and fanzines.



PEPI, LUCI, BOM AND OTHER GIRLS LIKE MOM [Pepi, Luci, Bom Y Otras Chicas del Montón]

Life in Madrid during the Movida Madrileña, highlighting punks, musicians, wild parties, drugs, aggressive women...and much sex. Pedro Almodovar's first feature is a crazy and daring comedy, illustrating the compelling thirst at that time for breaking barriers in a taboo-ridden society just assimilating democracy and its new freedoms. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Pedro Almodóvar; PROD Pepón Coromina, Pastora Delgado, Ester Rambal. Spain, 1980, color, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Fri, Sep 9, 7:00; Sun, Sep 11, 7:15

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

RAPTURE [Arrebato]

A heroin-using director explores the joy and pain of living. A strange and phantasmagoric portrait of an artist, whose encounter with a younger, obsessive Super-8 filmmaker becomes a transformative experience. Largely considered a cult film, RAPTURE is the sole feature by Iván Zulueta, who worked predominantly as a graphic designer, notably creating many of Pedro Almodóvar's film posters. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Iván Zulueta; PROD Nicolás Astiarraga. Spain, 1980, color, 105 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Fri, Sep 9, 9:00; Tue, Sep 13, 9:15

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

THE ANCHORITE [El Anacoreta]

Middle-aged Fernando decides one day to retire to his bathroom, and to not leave it. He renounces everything — trying to avoid the two main temptations of love and money — while sending messages enclosed in bottles through the bog. Based on Gustave Flaubert's "The Temptation of St. Anthony," with the substitution of a bathroom for the desert allegedly a budgetary convenience for the scriptwriter (the great Rafael Azcona) and the director. Lead actor Fernán Gómez won the Berlin Silver Bear in 1977. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Juan Estelrich; SCR Ragael Azcona. Spain/France, 1976, color, 108 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sat, Sep 10, 12:30; Mon, Sep 12, 4:45

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

BEGIN THE BEGUINE [Volver a Empezar]

An exiled writer returns to his homeland in the first Spanish film to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Forced into exile by the events of the Civil War, Antonio Albajara, now a famous writer who has just won the Nobel Prize, returns to Gijón, his hometown in Spain, his old friends and Elena, his first love. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR/PROD José Luis Garci; SCR Ángel Llorente. Spain, 1982, color, 87 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. RATED PG

Sat, Sep 10, 2:45; Wed, Sept 14, 5:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

DARK HABITS [Entre Tinieblas]

Pedro Almodóvar's colorful comedy is set in a very peculiar nunnery. Yolanda Bell, a bolero singer addicted to various drugs, seeks refuge in the Humiliated Redeemers convent after seeing her boyfriend die from an overdose. Here she discovers a most unusual order of nuns, led by a Mother Superior so fascinated by evil that she loves and becomes like the fallen women who have sought refuge in the convent, even sharing their addictions. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Pedro Almodóvar; PROD Luis Calvo. Spain, 1983, color, 114 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sat, Sep 10, 7:15; Wed, Sep 14, 9:15

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

LABYRINTH OF PASSION [Laberinto de Pasiones]

Sex, drugs and gay terrorists abound in Pedro Almodóvar's outrageous comedy. Set in Madrid during the Movida Madrileña, the film follows the love story between nymphomaniac pop star Sexilia (Cecilia Roth) and Riza (Imanol Arias), the homosexual son of the emperor of Tiran, their happiness threatened by, among other things, the jealous disapproval of gay terrorist Sadec (Antonio Banderas). With various complex subplots, it's a crazy comedy with bizarre and wild stories mingling sex parties, drugs, some inspiration from the deposed shah of Iran and a large cast of professional actors, painters and musicians--many of them figures of the Movida. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR/PROD Pedro Almodóvar; SCR Terry Lennox. Spain, 1982, color, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sat, Sep 10, 9:45; Sun, Sep 11, 2:45

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

OPERA PRIMA

An opinionated journalist moves in with his female cousin in this Spanish comedy. One morning Matías, a divorced young journalist, meets his cousin (prima in Spanish) Violeta at Madrid Opera's metro station. From this moment on he'll become a constant presence at his cousin's flat. Unfocused and extremely opinionated about nearly everything, Matías shows he may also be rather possessive when it comes to his cousin's plans with her violin teacher. The film, marked by director Fernando Trueba's pithy sense of humor, typifies what came to be known as Comedia Madrileña. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Fernando Trueba; SCR Óscar Ladoire; PROD Fernando Colomo, José Esteban Lasala. Spain/France, 1980, color, 94 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Preceded by:
THE LION IN LOVE [El León Enamorado]

DIR/SCR/PROD Fernando Trueba; SCR based on Aesop's fable "The Lion in Love" and a letter by Stanley Burda; PROD Antonio Resines. Spain, 1979, b&w, 6 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sun, Sep 11, 12:30; Tue, Sep 13, 7:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

CONFESSIONS OF A CONGRESSMAN [El Diputado]

José Sacristán (Roberto Orbea) always had something to hide. At first, during the dictatorship, it was his political beliefs; now that he is a successful socialist politician, it is his homosexuality. A fine portrait of Spanish society during the transition years to democracy, it caused a stir at the time because of its explicit treatment of homosexuality at the same time as highlighting the parallels between political and sexual repression. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Eloy de la Iglesia; SCR Gonzalo Goicoechea; PROD J.A. Pérez Giner. Spain, 1978, color, 110 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sun, Sep 11, 9:10; Mon, Sep 12, 9:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

THE SOUTH [El Sur]

Estrella is a teenage girl growing up in the north of Spain during the postwar years. She's fascinated about the south of the country, which seems to hold the key to her father's mysterious past. Director Víctor Erice skillfully contrasts the adult world's fearful caution with a child's fresh, pure desire to uncover the previous life that every adult around her seems to have renounced. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Víctor Erice; SCR based on the novel by Adelaida García Morales; PROD Elías Querejeta. Spain/France, 1983, color, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Mon, Sep 12, 7:00; Thu, Sep 15, 9:15

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

CRIA CUERVOS

A subtle indictment of the family as a repressive force in Spanish society, the film centers on an 8-year-old orphan (Ana Torrent, THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE) who believes she has poisoned her father (Héctor Alterio), whom she blames for the death of her adored mother (Geraldine Chaplin). Presaging PAN'S LABYRINTH, this is one of cinema's most hauntingly vivid depictions of a child's fantasy-imbued reality. Darkly unsettling, deeply touching and comic by turns, this landmark of Spanish cinema — premiered just after Franco's death — exposes a stifling world in which talk of sex or the Civil War was still largely taboo. Its title ("raise ravens") comes from a sinister Spanish proverb: "Raise ravens and they'll pluck out your eyes." (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Carlos Saura; PROD Elías Querejeta. Spain, 1976, color, 110 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Tue, Sep 13, 4:45; Wed, Sep 14, 7:00; Thu, Sep 15, 4:45

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

GOING DOWN IN MOROCCO [Bajarse al Moro]

A hilarious Spanish comedy in which a girl recruits a friend into the world of hash smuggling. Chusa (Verónica Forqué) lives with her cousin Jaime (Juan Echanove), a sometime drug dealer, and her cop boyfriend, Alberto (Antonio Banderas), all of whom enjoy smoking grass. Chusa regularly travels down to Morocco to buy product, but figures if she brings along new friend Elena (Aitana Sanchez Gijón), she can make it an even bigger shopping trip — with disastrous and hilarious results. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Fernando Colomo; SCR Joaquín Oristrell, José Luis Alonso de Santos, after his play; PROD José Luis García Sánchez. Spain, 1989, color, 83 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sat, Sep 17, 12:00; Sun, Sep 18, 9:30; Wed, Sep 21, 9:45

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? [?Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!]

A miserable Madrid housewife gets ready for her life to change. Gloria is a cleaning lady who works all day long and lives in a tiny flat with her husband, her mother-in-law, two sons and a lizard. Her life is miserable but she is ready to try to change it. Pedro Almodóvar here first begins to turn toward drama, comically but sensitively portraying a dysfunctional family on the outskirts of Madrid, with the help of a superb performance by Carmen Maura as Gloria. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Pedro Almodóvar; PROD Hervé Hachuel. Spain, 1984, color, 101 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Sun, Sep 18, 12:45; Mon, Sep 19, 7:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN [Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios]

A landmark film for Pedro Almodóvar, a definitive film of the 1980s and a worldwide hit. Dumped by her cad lover, soap actress Carmen Maura considers suicide by barbiturate-laced gazpacho. But she's distracted first by her ditsy friend, María Barranco, who has recently discovered her boyfriend's a terrorist, then by her ex-lover's son, Antonio Banderas, who wants to sublease the apartment, then his crazy mom, Julieta Serrano, just out of the asylum and ready for revenge, not to mention finding the right pair of shoes in which to confront her ex. Five 1989 Goyas, including Best Film; Audience Award, 1988 Toronto Film Festival.

DIR/SCR/PROD Pedro Almodóvar. Spain, 1988, color, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED R

Sat, Sep 17, 1:45; Sun, Sep 18, 3:00; Thurs, Sep 22, 10:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

THE HOLY INNOCENTS [Los Santos Inocentes]

Paco and his wife are tenant farmers for a wealthy landowner, to whose needs they submit without hesitation. Camus' film is a sharp portrait of rural Spain in the 1960s, an exposé on the consequences of fascism and the latter-day feudalism of rural land barons. It won a special mention at Cannes in 1984 and Best Actor awards for Alfredo Landa as Paco and Francisco Rabal as his freeloading brother-in-law Azarias. (Courtesy of BFI)

DIR/SCR Mario Camus; SCR Antonio Larreta, Manuel Matji, based on the novel by Miguel Delibes; PROD Julián Mateos. Spain, 1984, color and b&w, 107 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED PG

Sun, Sep 18, 7:20; Tue, Sep 20, 7:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.

LAW OF DESIRE [La Ley del Deseo]

In this surreal psycho-thriller, Antonio Banderas is driven to extremes of passion after viewing one of soft-core auteur Eusebio Poncelas' films. Banderas begins an affair with Poncelas, then murders the filmmaker's boyfriend out of jealousy. Almodóvar regular Carmen Maura plays Poncelas' transsexual sister, whose ex-lover's daughter is kidnapped by Banderas to ransom the director into one last dread-filled assignation. A pitch-black, barking-mad but surprisingly moving melodrama from Almodóvar's enfant terrible years.

DIR/SCR Pedro Almodóvar. Spain, 1987, color, 102 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED NC-17

Mon, Sep 19, 9:10; Tue, Sep 20, 9:00

Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.