Spanish directors prove their range
MADRID — Sogecine has lined up some of Spain’s most promising helmers, working in a wide array of genres.
At only 28, Amenabar’s third feature, “The Others” ($74 million in the U.S.) underscores the whiz’s genius for devastating revelation and films whose concepts haunt as much as any event. Nicole Kidman turns on one of her finest perfs as a high-strung, commandeering mother guarding her children from light in a rambling house. Oscar nom potential?
Cousin of Javier, Bardem’s hallmark is camp, toon-ish comedy. His latest, and first with Sogecine, “Noche de Reyes,” looks black but perhaps not so left-field, charting a family’s Christmas from hell.
Basque-born, with the looks of Vinnie Jones and some of the force, Calparsoro made the acclaimed futuristic “Jump into the Void” (1995), with a great star turn by Najwa Nimri. Despite superb set pieces — the kooky dance scene in “Asphalt” (1999), for example — he has never quite hit such high form since. His latest, “Guerreros,” a war pic, promises more structure.
“Delicatessen”-style grotesque met comic rural retro in Fesser’s first, bumpkin comedy “P. Tinto’s Miracle,” (1998). Now limbering up for an $8 million adaptation of cartoon strip “Mortadelo and Filamon.”
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
An off-beat helmer who mixes genre with the vagaries of real life, first in his noirish, Oscar-nommed short “Linked” (1996), a tale of married misery, and now in the long-awaited feature “Intact,” in which a man survives an air crash but loses a fortune. Bowing in November, it could be the feature debut of the year.
Canary Islands) A Hispano Hitch and Amenabar co-scribe, Gil’s pulsating Seville-set debut “Nobody Knows Anybody,” (1999) could have been titled “South by Southwest.” Gil’s next, now at script stage, promises a departure from covert pathology.
The trail-blazer. “Cows” (1991), “Red Squirrel” (1993) and “Earth” (1996) pocketed much of Spanish pics’ sober social conscience for stylish probes into relationships. Bowing Aug. 24, Medem’s latest, “Sex and Lucia” displays a lot of both. But rarely have flesh fiestas been so thoughtful. With $1 million in just eight days, it’s probably the Spanish art pic of the year.
Hit the bull’s-eye with his first pic “Todo por la pasta” (1990), a grimy crime thriller. Despite scripting Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate” (1999) and directing other workmanlike features, he has never hit such heights again. “Box 507” may mark a return to home base; it’s a desperate revenge drama set in a corruption-soiled Spanish South.