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[Film] Guide to PELÍCULA 2018, XVII Manila Spanish Film Festival

September 30, 2018

From October 4 to 20, the 17th edition of PELÍCULA, the Spanish Film Festival, will be featuring the best of contemporary Spanish cinema at Greenbelt 3, UP Diliman Film Institute and Instituto Cervantes Intramuros.

Presented by Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Spain, Turespaña, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the 2018 edition of the Spanish Film Festival will screen more than 20 films. Since its conception in 2002 by Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish Film Festival has been an annual attraction at Greenbelt, and following that tradition, the first leg of the Festival will be held at Greenbelt 3 Cinemas from Oct 4 to 14, bringing the best of Spanish and Latin American cinema to the local audiences of Makati and the rest of Metro Manila.

The line-up of films shows a list of genres ranging from romance and comedy to documentary, adventure, children animation, adult animation, and drama. Aside from its line-up of movies in different genres, PELÍCULA also shows Latin American cinema with feature films from Argentina, and Cuba.

Manila Spanish Film Festival 2018 movie line up

Atrapa la bandera / Capture the Flag

2015 | Spain | Children’s Animation | 97 min

Richard Carson is an ambitious billionaire who wants to colonize the Moon and exploit a new source of energy: Helium 3. To do so, he wants to capture the flag on the Moon in order to erase the achievement of the Apolo XI astronauts & their famous first steps from history. However, Mike Goldwing, a courageous 12-year-old, together with his friends Marty and Amy and his pet, will travel to the Moon to try and stop him.

Awards: Mejor pelicula de animacion, Premios Goya (2015); Mejor pelicula de animacion, Premios Gaudi (2015); Mejor pelicula de animacion, Premios Platino (2016).

Campeones / Champions

2018 | Spain | Comedy | 124 min

Marco is an assistant coach in Spain’s top basketball league. One day, after getting drunk, he gets involved in a car accident that lands him in court. He loses his job and is sentenced to the worst possible punishment for his ego: coaching a group of intellectually-disabled players that have never touched a basket ball. Through their innocence and good humor, they will teach Marco about the things that really mater.

Carmen y Lola

2018 | Spain | Drama | 105 min

Carmen is a gypsy teenager living in the outskirts of Madrid. Like every other gypsy woman, she is destined to live a life that is repeated generation after generation: getting married and raising as many children as possible. But one day she meets Lola, an uncommon gypsy who dreams about going to university, draws bird graffiti, and is very different. Carmen quickly develops a complicity with Lola and discovers a world that, inevitably, leads them to be rejected by their families.

Casi 40

2018 | Spain | Drama| 83 min

A humble concert tour is the excuse to reunite two old friends. She was a successful singer already retired from the scene. He makes a living as a cosmetic salesman as he tries to relaunch the musical career of his teenage love. David Trueba reunites with Spanish actors Lucia Jimenez and Fernando Ramallo twenty two years after the three of them worked together in his first film as a director.

Award: Premio especial del jurado, Festival de cine espanol de Malaga.

Dancing Beethoven

2016 | Spain, Switzerland | Documentary | 79 min

A masterful presentation of music and dance, a dazzling immersion and unique look at the staging of the ballet by the Bejart ballet Lausanne of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Dancing Beethoven presents us with the history of the piece, the challenges of this multicultural representation, the rehearsals with the methodical and hard work of the dancers, and the multilayered complexity and excitement of the collaboration between the Bejart Ballet, the Tokyo Ballet, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. The film tells the story of their journey in achieving one of the most breathtaking and powerful events in the 21st-century ballet.

El autor

2017 | Spain | Comedy | 112 min

Alvaro, an aspiring writer, gets caught up in the middle of his own story when the limits of reality merge with fiction. The film is a great black comedy starring one of the most prolific actors of current Spanish cinema (Javier Gutierrez). It has won many awards, including several Goya and the Critics Prize at the Toronto Film Festival.

Awards: Premios Goya (Mejor actor y Mejor actriz de reparto, Premios Feroz (Mejor actor y Mejor actriz de reparto), Festival Internacional de Cine de Toronto (Premio del Jurado, FIPRESCI).

El ultimo traje

2018 | Spain, Argentina | Drama | 91 min

Abraham Bursztein, an 88-year-old Jewish tailor, runs away from Buenos Aires to Poland, where he will try to find the man who saved him from certain death after surviving Auschwitz, Escaping from his family, who wanted to put him in a nursing home, against all odds, and after more than seven decades with no news from him, Abraham will attempt to find his old friend and keep his promise of returning one day to tell him about the life he had, thanks to his courage.

Hacerse mayor y otros problemas

2018 | Spain | Comedy | 96 min

What happens when the life that you want is not what others expect from you? Emma, a children’s book author, finds herself in her thirties and in the middle of a chaotic life, when her best friend Lola, who is pregnant, asks her to be the tutor of her first child.


2017 | Spain | Drama| 114 min

Handia is a period drama inspired by a true story. Martin comes back home to find that his brother is a giant. This is the beginning of a physical and emotional journey that will test the limits of the two brothers. The siblings go from a small village in the province of Guipuzcoa to play for the Spanish queen and from there to capture the hearts of XIX century Europe. Greed and family ties are stirred in this trip that will change forever the lives of those involved.

Awards: 10 Premios Goya (incluyendo major actor revelacion, major guion, motaje, fotografia, musica original…)

La cordillera

2017 | Spain, Argentina, Spain | Drama | 114 min

La cordillera (The Summit) is an Argentinian political drama that premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2017. The thriller, whose main character is Argentinian star Ricardo Darin, is set during a Latin American presidential summit in the Chilean Andes. Hernan Blanco, the Argentinian president, will have to resolve some family problems whilst a crucial decision concerning the future of his country lies in his hands.

La higuera de los bastardos

2017 | Spain | Drama, Comedy | 103 min

Near the end of the Spanish Civil War, a “trigger-happy” fascist soldier turns into a strange hermit. He gets caught up in the care of a fig tree after the look in a ten year old child’s eyes, the son of one of his victims, awakes in him the certainty that the kid will kill him as soon as he reaches sixteen years of age.

Awards: Mejor director, Festival de cine de Alburqueque.

La llamada / Holy Camp

2016 | Spain | Musical Comedy | 108 min

La llamada (Holy Camp) is a funny, contemporary Spanish musical. Two best friends find themselves at a summer camp ruled by nuns. Choreographed songs and godly interventions join forces in this coming-of-age story about finding your own path far away from conventions. The film cherishes teenage rebellion and freedom. Based on a musical play written and directed by J. Calvo and J. Ambrossi, La llamada has become one of the biggest successes of Spanish cinema of the last few years.

Awards: Filmmakers of the Present – Best Movie, Special Mention to Eduardo Williams, Locarno International Film Festival.

La novia

2015 | Spain | Drama | 93 min

Inspired by the well-known play Blood wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca, La novia is set in Spain, between the 1920’s to 1930’s, and tells the story of a multi-family, multi-generational blood feud that is about to be settled by a wedding between the two of the families. But Fate and Death have other plans as the girl is in love with another man. On the evening of the post-wedding party, the Bride cannot help herself as she and her lover gallop away on horseback leaving the groom behind – distraught and fuming. The two livers are carried away by their passion, defying all social rules and their own better judgment. They set a chain of events in motion that will have devastating consequences.

Awards: Goya Awards’ Best Supporting Actress (Luisa Gavasa), Best Cinematography (Migue Amoedo); Ferroz Awards’ Best Film, Best Director (Paula Ortiz), Best Actress (Inma Cuesta), Best Supporting Actress (Luisa Gavasa), Best Soundtrack (Shigeru Umebayashi), Best Trailer.

Las distancias

201 8| Spain| Drama, Comedy | 99 min

Olivia, Eloy, Guille and Anna travel to Berlin to pay a surprise visit to their friend Comas, who is turning 25. His welcome is not as they expected. During the weekend, their friendship is put to the test as their contradictions emerge.

Los amores cobardes

2018 | Spain | Drama | 92 min

Eva is a strong and independent young woman who returns to her hometown to spend the summer holidays. Her mother and Gema, her unconditional friend, wait for her there. What Eva does not expect is to meet Ruben, who used to be her best friend until one day, the boy decided to cut off contact unexpectedly, with no explanations or farewells.

* International Premiere in PELICULA 2018

Memoria de un hombre en pijama

2018 | Spain | Adult Animation | 74 min

This is the story of Paco, a 40-year-old confirmed bachelor who, in the prime of his life, realizes a childhood dream: to work at home in his pajamas. However, just when he reached the zenith of personal happiness, Jilguero walks into his life. This girl he falls in love with must get used to the fact that her man’s main goal in life is to stay at home in his pajamas. This is a story about bachelors, couples, and friends who, through their hilarious anecdotes, influence their lives and relationship.

Mi querida cofradia

2018 | Spain | Comedy | 90 min

Carmen, a devout Catholic woman from Malaga, is about to be chosen as the leader of her local religious guild. But it all goes up in smoke when her biggest rival is chosen. However, all is not lost. With the help of a group of women, and after an unfortunate “accident”, what initially seems like a terrible predicament turns into Carmen’s chance to fulfill her dream.

Award: Best Supporting Actress and Audience Award, Festival de Cine de Malaga 2018.


2017 | Mexico | Historical drama | 103 min

Based on the story by the Spanish writer Arturo Perez-Reverte, and inspired by the 16th century expeditions, Oro tells about one of those incursions through the Central-American jungle, looking for a mythical city made of gold. The conquistadores, blinded by their ambition, cross lands populated by wild animals, enduring heat and humidity, and are harassed by hostile and cannibal tribes. The promise of gold not only challenges their survival instincts, it also makes them confront their own inner selves as they face head-on the risks they are taking.

Ultimos dias en La Habana

2016 | Cuba | Drama | 91 min

Miguel (45 years old) dreams of fleeing to New York. While he awaits for his visa, which never seems to arrive, he works as a busboy at a paladar, a privately owned restaurant. Diego (45 years old) dream of living. Weakened and immobilized by AIDS, Diego remains energetic on the narrow bed, in the smallest room of the house. Diego and Miguel live together as if they were night and day. While Miguel takes shelter, Diego opens himself to others. Diego is gay, positive, gleaming. Miguel is asexual, negative, dark. A wide array of evocative characters surround the two friends but only Diego is aware of Miguel’s intentions. However, destiny has something in store for everyone as they face a surprising and unusual decision.

Awards: Special Jury Award and Best Soundtrack, Festival Internacional de cine de La Habana.

Cortos de Espana y Filipinas: Shorts from the Philippines and Spain

In collaboration with Cut Print Productions, PELICULA 2018 will offer a program featuring ten recent Spanish shorts plus the premier of two Filipino short films — The Gathering by Arvin Belarmino and actor Xian Lim’s Our Love Story, his first attempt behind the camera.

23 de mayo / 23rd of May

Documentary | 16 min

Remains of a shipwreck, reflections of a country in a life that has remain hidden, like an unventilated closet. The voices of two women and the remnants of a house detained in time rescue the memories of those who lived there, as witnesses of the transformation of the property. Who is this man who posed for a portrait on the same day every year of his life?


Animation | 16 min

The world is a wonderful stage, but the casting is deplorable.


Fiction | 16 min

After the death of two of her classmates, Julia is incapable of feeling any sort of sadness. Choked by the suffocating grief and by a deep resentment, she will write something that will have dire consequences.

En la azotea / On the roof

Fiction | 11 min

It’s summertime. Each afternoon, Adrian and his friends go up to the roof of a building to spy on a girl who sunbathes nude. But this afternoon won’t be like the others: today they’ll realize that one of them is more interested in a guy showering in a nearby building.

Gure hormek / Our walls

Documentary | 15 min

The Housewives’ Quarter. The Insomniacs’ District. The Bandstand of the Unknown Mother. The Underpass of the Single Women. Our walls pay tribute to those we love.

La rubias / The blondes

Fiction | 17 min

Based on a true story. Blondes are all alike. At least that’s what Marta and Pepa think when they pass themselves off as the owner of a lost credit card and descend into a spiral of ostentatious consumption which will change their lives – and hair – forever.

Los desheredados / The Disinherited

Documentary | 18 min

Los Desheredados is a portrait of the director’s father facing the end of his family business. Pere Ferres is 53 years old and owns a small bus company. Lack of money forces him to drive clients who destroy his vehicle to bachelor parties, but he is not prepared to lose his dignity.


Fiction | 18 min

The everyday conversation between Marta and her mother turns into a tragic race against time when they get a call from the former’s son.

Our Love Story

Drama | 18 min 42 sec

The film follows Janina, a young jaded woman from a number of broken romances, and a protective mother, Maria, who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her daughter from falling in love again. Everything goes as planned until Marco unexpectedly walks in her life.

The Gathering

Crime, Thriller | 13 min 42 sec

Three individuals co-exist in a house wherein every minute they spent, determines their own destiny. This film is shot on a single-take with a smartphone camera.

The neverending wall

Animation | 11 min

Seele moves along the longest standing stretch that remains of the Berlin Wall, nowadays known as the East Side Gallery after being transformed into a large art gallery with graffiti painted by more than 100 artists from around the world.

Art on a fallen wall reminds us that this should be the last wall. The Neverending Wall is a call against the violence generated by the walls.

Against all the walls. Physical or mental. Art helps us understand the greatness of diversity.


Fiction | 15 min

Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day.

Bergman en Espana

In the year of his birth centennial, PELíCULA pays tribute to Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007), one of the main filmmakers in the History of Cinema. To honor the Swedish director, and thanks to the collaboration of the Embassy of Sweden and the UP Film Center, PELíCULA 2018 is presenting the special section “Bergman in Spain”. The program will feature two Bergman’s films (Wild Strawberries and Persona), plus two Spanish films influenced by the Swedish maestro’s notion of cinema –Carlos Saura’s Cría cuervos and Pedro Almodóvar’s Tacones lejanos (High Heels).

Cria cuervos

1975 | Spain | Drama | 110 min | 35mm

Ana remembers everything that happened since the death of her father twenty years ago. Her nine-year-old daughter believes she has power over the life and death of those who live with her. There is another power Ana believes she possesses: invoking her mother’s presence. With her, dead years ago, a relationship full of tenderness and, sometimes, domination conjures.

Awards: Special Jury Prize, 1976 Cannes Film Festival.


1966 | Sweden | Psychological drama | 85 min

Elisabet Vogler is a famous actress. In the middle of a performance of Electra, she falls silent. Even prolonged treatment at a psychiatric clinic fails to make her speak. The doctor-in-charge suggests to her nurse, Alma, that she should spend time in isolation on the coast with her patient. Faced by the obstinate yet also sympathetic silence of Elisabet, Alma begins to tell her more than she should…

Tacones lejanos

1991 | Spain | Drama | 112 min

Becky del Paramo has had almost as many husbands as gold discs. She abandoned her daughter to focus on her career as a pop singer. Rebeca was raised by her father but remains obsessed with her absent mother. She even marries one of Becky’s former lovers. When Becky flies in to do a concert in Madrid, their meeting is tense and uncomfortable. The barriers imposed by the wall of silence become evident and complex as the web of love & hate between mother and daughter unravels.

Awards: Premios Cesar Best Foreign Film, Festival de Cine de Gramado Best Actress and Best Director.

Wild Strawberries

1957 | Sweden | 90 min

Professor Isak Borg, 78, is summoned from his home in Stockholm to the University of Lund in southern Sweden to receive an honorary doctorate. He travels there with his daughter-in-law, who feels resentful toward him because his son, her husband, displays all the egotistical traits of the old man and does not want to have children. They encounter three hikers and take them along in the car with them to Lund. While visiting his family’s former summer house, Borg is assailed by nightmares in which his failings are brought home to him.


Tickets are available via SureSeats.com (on sale starting October 1, 10am) or at the cinema counters.

Screenings at UP Diliman Cine Adarna are FREE on a first-come, first-served basis.

Screenings at Instituto de Cervantes Intramuros are FREE (limited slots only). Reserve your seat at cultmni@cervantes.es.

Screening Schedule

Greenbelt 3 Cinema 1

Oct 4 / ThursCasi 407:00 PM
ORO9:30 PM
Oct 5 / FriEl autor4:30 PM
Hacerse mayor y otros problemas7:00 PM
Ultimos dias en La Habana9:30 PM
Oct 6 / SatAtrapa la bandera2:00 PM
Campeones4:30 PM
La cordillera7:00 PM
La llamada9:30 PM
Oct 7 / SunMemorias de un hombre en pijama2:00 PM
Handia4:30 PM
Mi querida cofradia7:00 PM
Carmen y Lola9:30 PM
Oct 8 / MonPersona7:00 PM
Tacones lejanos9:30 PM
Oct 9 / TuesDancing Beethoven7:00 PM
Los amores cobardes9:30 PM
Oct 10 / WedLa higuera de los bastardos7:00 PM
El ultimo traje9:30 PM
Oct 11 / ThursLos amores cobardes7:00 PM
La novia9:30 PM
Oct 12 / FriShorts from the Philippines & Spain (Set A)4:30 PM
Ultimos dias en La Habana7:00 PM
La cordillera9:30 PM
Oct 13 / SatCasi 402:00 PM
Las distancias4:30 PM
Carmen y Lola7:00 PM
El autor9:30 PM
Oct 14 / SunAtrapa la bandera2:00 PM
Dancing Beethoven4:30 PM
Premio del Publico / Audience Choice7:30 PM
Mi querida cofradia9:30 PM

Cine Adarna, UP Diliman

Oct 15 / MonWild Strawberries5:00 PM
Cria Cuervos7:00 PM
Oct 16 / TuesPersona5:00 PM
Tacones lejanos7:00 PM

Instituto Cervantes Intramuros

Oct 20 / SatPremio del Publico / Audience Choice5:00 PM
Shorts from the Philippines & Spain (Set B)7:00 PM


Last but not least, film buffs should not miss the “Audience Choice” Award that happens in every edition of PELÍCULA. During the Festival, the audience will be given stubs with which they can rate the movies they have seen. For every five movies, members of the audience will qualify to join the raffle where they will get a chance to win a round-trip ticket to Spain. The winning entry will be re-shown on October 14, 7pm, at Greenbelt 3, and at Instituto Cervantes Intramuros on the 20th of October PELICULA Fin de Fiesta.

Presented by Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Spain–AECID, TurEspaña, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), PELÍCULA is made possible by Ayala Cinemas, Fundador, Turkish Airlines, and Philippine Transmarine Carriers, in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden, Ayala Land, Ayala Museum, UP Film Institute Picasso Hotel, Intramuros Administration, ICAA, and Cut It Productions. For the schedule, line-up of films and further information on the Festival, please visit the Facebook page of Instituto Cervantes www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila or check out Instituto Cervantes’ website: http://manila.cervantes.es

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