YULI
2018, The Match Factory, 115 min, Spain/Cuba/UK/Germany, Dir: Icíar Bollaín

Ballet interludes punctuate a story of ascent in this biopic of Cuban danseur Carlos Acosta. From humble origins as the youngest of a truck driver’s 11 children to center stage at Britain’s Royal Ballet, filmmaker Icíar Bollaín sketches Acosta’s life with fire and honesty. Not to be overlooked are the film’s treatment of parental expectation and its effect on budding talent. “The genius in the film is in how each section feeds each other, and indeed needs each other (the dance comments on the drama, and vice versa), and produces a wholly original and deeply affecting movie.” - Kevin Maher, Times (U.K.).


SMOKE AND MIRRORS
EL HOMBRE DE LAS MIL CARAS
2016, Film Factory, 123 min, Spain, Dir: Alberto Rodríguez

Writer-director Alberto Rodríguez reunites much of his MARSHLAND creative team for this entertaining thriller inspired by the real-life exploits of onetime Spanish secret service agent Francisco Paesa. Eduard Fernández stars as the ex-spy, who had been left out in the cold by his government and sees an opportunity to settle some scores when a former commissioner of police (Goya winner Carlos Santos) asks him to help hide embezzled millions. “Playing out like a Hispanic OCEAN’S ELEVEN, SMOKE is indeed an enjoyably breathless and spectacular walk along a high wire which seems permanently about to snap but which never quite does.” - Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter.


MARSHLAND
LA ISLA MINIMA
2014, Outsider Pictures, 105 min, Spain, Dir: Alberto Rodriguez

Spain’s democracy was still on wobbly legs in 1980, particularly in the backwater of Andalusia where this tense crime drama is set. City policemen Juan (Javier Gutiérrez) and Pedro (Raúl Arévalo) are dispatched to the depressed rural area to investigate the disappearance of two sisters; the cops’ differing backgrounds – one a ruthless veteran, the other an idealistic rookie – lead to increasingly unsettling discoveries. Winner of 10 Goya Awards, including Best Film, Director, Lead Actor (Gutiérrez) and Cinematography (Alex Catalán’s aerial shots are truly dazzling). “This superbly crafted, richly textured thriller is one of the strongest Spanish films of the year.” - Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter. In Spanish with English subtitles.


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