Thursday, December 3, 2009

Priests with guns -- yikes! --- the FSLC's Spanish Cinema Now opens with a bang

They bless -- and then obliterate:
Fascist priests kneel for Franco in Helena Taberna's
which leads off SCN series this Friday, in its first of three screenings.

December has long been one of TrustMovies' favorite months because it kicks off the yearly Film Society of Lincoln Center series Spanish Cinema Now -- which brings to New York City the best of what Spain had to offer movie-wise over the past year. SCN is where TM got his first tastes of Javier Bardem -- in Días contados, Los Lobos de Washington and Segunda Piel, to name a few of this notable actor's early films that made their US or NY debut in this series. Bardem is now a known quantity, as is Penelope Cruz, who was also seen early on at SCN, but what is most exciting about this series -- among many things -- are the so many other still-not-well-known-in-the-USA actors who turn in terrific performances in first-class films that are shown here twice then often never seen again. At least that used to be the case.

These days, more and more of these movies are turning up On-Demand or going straight-to-video, even though a theatrical release never happened (Tres días and El rey de la montaña are two such nifty numbers from last year's series). Who knows how many of this year's 23 programs -- 19 of them new films, three of them "classics" and one, [REC], a repeat from last year, because its sequel, [REC]2, will be bringing us a new crop of those zombies (yes, SCN is big on genre movies) -- will have an afterlife, so why not think about coming out to the Walter Reade Theater and discovering the annual pick of Spanish cinema?

Grab that kid and run!
Elena Anaya has a taut moment in Gabe Ibáñez's gorgeous and creepy
HIERRO, the second film in the SCN series, showing Friday & Sunday.

For the past several years, I've been able to view all -- every single one -- of the SCN films, and review them on GreenCine Daily. I've rather prided myself on this fact, and sure enough, pride goeth before that fall: This year the flu -- or something -- seems to have deprived me of one full week of my mobility, during which I've been able to blog from home but missed three of the five press screenings. Since only six of the films are available as screeners with English subtitles, I'll be reporting on only eight of the films early enough to give you a heads-up. The other twelve I'll have to catch-as-catch-can at some point during the series -- which opens this Friday, December 4, and runs through Sunday, December 20.

I'll have reviews of the first two films caught -- The Good News (photo, top) and Hierro (photo above) posted by tomorrow, I hope. Meanwhile, you can view the entire series here, so click, scroll down slowly -- and start salivating....

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