And the hits just keep on coming. The FSLC's Spanish Cinema Now, usually a good bet, has this year outdone itself. With four of the new films left to see (I missed Rec 2), only one of the eighteen has been a miss. The rest, good to wonderful, are reason enough to attend this sterling series. Yesterday's movie BLOODY MAY (Sangre de Mayo) co-written (with Horacio Valcárcel) and directed by José Luis Garci (shown below) is one of the series' best -- working simultaneously as history, drama, pageant and art.
Beginning with a charming, slightly ironic narration full of fascinating facts from Spain's history, the accompanying visuals move from historical artwork into "reality" -- where the sets, costumes and cinematography will pop your eyes. We meet our hero, Gabriel, played by Quim Gutiérrez -- shown, center, below -- slightly gap-toothed and dimple-chinned (another of Spain's young actors bolstering that country's reputation for possessing the world' most beautiful men). Gabriel works as a "helper" to a local theater company, where he's particularly good at keeping his ear to the ground for rumors of things political, military, romantic, whatever. Enamored with a lovely young woman (shown two photos below), he still jumps at the chance to go into the service of a lady of the aristocracy, where, she makes clear from the beginning, he will act as her servant, spy and lover.