Spain in the spotlight of Film Fest Gent 2019

News 25 Jun 2019
For its 46th edition, which will take place from 8 to 18 October, Film Fest Gent 2019 is bringing the Spanish cinematographic sphere to Ghent, traditionally with much emphasis on soundtracks. Actress Rossy de Palma, the muse of one of the most famous Spanish directors - Pedro Almodóvar – is the face of the campaign.

Rossy de Palma, the star actress and one of the main sources of inspiration for Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, will lend her Picasso-like face for the 2019 Film Fest Gent festival poster. Under Almodóvar’s direction, who produced a striking semi-autobiographical narrative (Dolor y gloria) this year, she was involved in many films, among which La Ley del deseo (Law Of Desire) (1987), Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown) (1988), ¡Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) (1990) and Kika (1993).

Spain, breaking taboos

“The main reason for putting Spanish cinema in the spotlight is because so few Spanish films are shown in Belgian cinemas. Thus, we are generally missing occasions to follow what is going on in one of the most prominent countries in Europe from a filmmaking point of view”, said Wim De Witte, programme director of Film Fest Gent.

Film Fest Gent 2019 prepared a retrospective on the work of several Spanish cinema masters. Firstly, tribute will be paid to Spanish director Agustí Villaronga in October. Villaronga’s fame is first and foremost due to his recurring fascination for sadistic characters. Film-lovers will be able to enjoy an overview of his over 40-year long career, including his controversial début as a film-maker, Tras el Cristal (In A Glass Cage) (1986).

Moreover, through a unique programme, the festival is presenting the works of Spanish artists who broke taboos in their films: Spanish-Mexican director Luis Buñuel, who captured surrealism on celluloid, and Carlos Saura, whose poignant films on dance have left their mark on our visual memory. Further films from the Spanish archives of Victor Erice, Alejandro Amenábar and Pedro Almodóvar complete this list.

“As part of the festival retrospective, we are showing tantalising, transgressive and anarchistic works, a trait of Spanish cinema, through a selection of progressive films which helped deconstructing sacred grounds during and after the Francoist dictatorship." Patrick Duynslaegher, the curator of the retrospective and former artistic director of the Ghent Film Festival, declared: “Time has come for a retrospective".

On top of these safe bets, works from new Spanish cinema talents will be shown too, among whom Carlos Marques-Marcet, Neus Ballús, Elena Martin and Gabriel Velázquez.

First film titles

We are already revealing a few films which have been selected for the next festival: Ghost Tropic by Bas Devos, the Brussels director who managed to complete two films within the same year and presented them both in Berlin and in Cannes. Likewise for Monos by Colombian film-maker Alejandro Landes on the explosive topic of children in the military, as well as Il Traditore by Marco Bellocchio, which tells the real story of Tommaso Buscetta, head of the Sicilian mafia and who was the first person to violate omerta.

For its big screen première, The Twelve, on a Belgian Court of Assizes popular jury will be shown as part of the ‘Serial Madness’ section. The series is a production of Eyeworks and één, written by Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens and shot by newbie Wouter Bouvijn. The TV series has already won the award for best scenario at ‘Canneseries’, the international fiction series festival. This fascinating fiction series, which will be presented in the autumn, comes with an impressive cast: Maaike Cafmeyer, Josse De Pauw, Mieke De Groote, Johan Heldenbergh, Lynn Van Royen, Tom Vermeir, Charlotte De Bruyne, Zouzou Ben Chikha, Maaike Neuville, Titus De Voogdt, Jolente De Keersmaeker, Sara Vertongen etc.

The Film Fest Gent festival’s trademark is the internationally recognised annual World Soundtrack Awards. Among the films bringing a musical touch this year, let’s mention A Dog Called Money, a documentary on P.J. Harvey by Seamus Murphy, and Amazing Grace, a concert film featuring original 1972 musical recordings of young Aretha Franklin by Allan Elliott and Sydney Pollack.