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Spanish Docs this summer at The Portland Northwest Film Center

SPANISH DOCS
July 13-August 16

The rise of the documentary over the last decade has been an international phenomenon. A new generation of filmmakers has been able, with new digital technology and low budgets, to tackle issues, ideas and portraits as never before. In addition to compelling subjects, diversified exhibition and distribution channels are providing exciting opportunities for artists and audiences to connect. In recent years Spain has seen the emergence of a provocative documentary film movement, with first-time filmmakers taking their place beside established masters and producing works of universal interest. This sampling of recent Spanish productions includes eight award-winning films that transcend national interest, including Fernando Trueba's THE MIRACLE OF CANDEAL, a celebration of the power of music as an agent of social change; MY GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE, winner of the prestigious Joris Ivens Award at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and Oliver Stone's fascinating COMANDANTE, a portrait of the enigmatic Fidel Castro.Thanks to Pragda, Spain Foreign Cultural Cooperation, International Documentary Association, and the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. for making these films available.


JULY 13, 15 FRI 7 & 9 PM, SUN 7PM
COMANDANTE
SPAIN/US 2004
DIRECTOR: OLIVER STONE
Maverick director meets maverick head of state. Fidel Castro, one of the world's most outspoken and controversial "Comandantes," hosts Oliver Stone for three days of (almost) no-holds-barred conversation. The result: the revelation of little-known aspects of the private life of one of the world's most enigmatic leaders, as well as surprisingly candid reflections on everyone from Che Guevara to Richard Nixon. Stone boils down 30 hours of conversation and adds colorful vintage footage of Havana to fashion an illuminating meditation on how Castro has survived for more than four decades as a persistent inspiration and/or antagonist on our doorstep. "Immensely entertaining . . .COMANDANTE might [be] the definitive warts-and-all portrait of this great dictator."-BBC. (99 mins.)

JUL 14, 19 SAT 7 PM, THUR 8 PM
THE MIRACLE OF CANDEAL
SPAIN 2004
DIRECTOR: FERNANDO TRUEBA
In this vibrant musical documentary from Trueba (CALLE 54, BELLE EPOQUE), Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes fulfills his long-held ambition to visit the city of Salvador da Bahia in Northern Brazil. With local musician Carlinhos Brown as his guide, he meets and plays with great musicians both little known and legendary, among them Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. He also experiences magnificent street carnivals and learns about diverse community projects that use music and dance to mend the social fabric. Essential viewing for any lover of Latin music, Trueba's film bursts with color, movement and life-affirming rhythms. Winner of the Spanish Goya (Oscar) for Best Documentary and a Sundance Film Festival selection. (125 mins.)

JUL 20, 22 FRI 7 PM, SUN 8:30 pm
BASQUE BALL-SKIN AGAINST STONE
SPAIN 2003
DIRECTOR: JULIO MEDEM
The most controversial and highest-grossing Spanish documentary ever, BASQUE BALL is a remarkable film about the Basques: their language, culture conflicts and history. Weaving over 100 interviews with a wealth of archival footage, Medem (SEX AND LUCIA) provides a rich overview of the region's torturous politics and notorious terrorist separatists. "This film aims to be an invitation to discussion and is conceived with respect towards all opinions. This film is independent. It is due entirely to personal initiative. This film declares its solidarity with those who suffer violence related to the Basque conflict. This film will always miss those who have not wanted to participate."-Julio Medem. (115 mins.)

JUL 22 SUN 6:30 PM
MEMORY TRAIN
SPAIN 2006
DIRECTOR: MARTA ARRIBAS
In the 60s, almost two million Spaniards left Spain in search of work in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and especially West Germany. Poor, unskilled and largely illiterate, most thought they'd stay abroad for a matter of months; many wound up settling in these countries for the rest of their lives. Piecing together extraordinary archival footage along with testimony by the emigrants themselves, Arribas recounts the harsh conditions that forced so many Spaniards to abandon their farms and villages in search of work, as well as the often less -than-welcoming reception many received upon arriving at their destinations. With immigration a continuing social issue in almost all developed countries, MEMORY TRAIN is a powerful reminder that the problems of dislocation, resettlement and assimilation have a long and universal history. (85 mins.)

JUL 26 THUR 7 PM
BALSEROS
SPAIN 2002
DIRECTORS: CARLES BOSCH AND JOSEP M. DOMENECH
In the summer of 1994, a crew of television reporters with unprecedented access filmed and interviewed seven Cubans and their relatives before they set out on homemade rafts as economic refugees headed for the U.S. The crew followed them as they were rescued at sea and transported to the refugee camp at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo. Seven years later, the TV crew reconnects with their subjects to discover the outcome of their pursuit of the American dream. "Insanely ambitious. . .The scope and complexity of a novel! . . . Lovingly crafted."-Stuart Klawans, THE NATION. (120 mins.)

AUG 2 THUR 7 PM
SEVILLE SOUTHSIDE
SPAIN 2003
DIRECTOR: DOMINIQUE ABEL
Flamenco is the lifeblood of the Gitano, Spanish gypsies who have suffered centuries of exile. In Abel's remarkable film, which has captivated festival audiences from Tribeca to London and Berlin, the multiracial denizens of a Seville housing project do not perform Flamenco-they live it. Despite being overrun with junkies, crime and failing public services, the men and women of the district break into spontaneous, soaring song and dance that keeps hearts strong and tradition alive. Among the great performers are Rafael Amador, Juana la del Revuelo and Ramon Quilate. (90 mins)

AUG 9 THUR 7 PM
BARS IN MEMORY
SPAIN 2004
DIRECTOR: MAUNEL PALACIOUS
Palacious' groundbreaking documentary uncovers the forgotten history of the concentration camps and prisons Franco created in the 1930s to deal with the Republican resistance fighters from the Spanish Civil War. Exploring a subject that has long been taboo in Spain, BARS IN MEMORY revisits stories of camp survivors forced to rebuild a country devastated by war and isolated from the world. Unlocking memories sealed for decades, Palacios balances analysis and emotion in a thorough study of the persecution of nearly a half-million political prisoners. Academy Award and Goya nominee for Best Documentary Film. (80 mins.)

AUG 16 THUR 7PM
MY GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE
SPAIN 2005
DIRECTOR: ADÁN ALIAGA
Cheeky six-year-old Marina plays to the camera, ignoring the chiding of her aged grandmother, Marita. She pokes at the mouse traps, runs half-dressed into the dusty street and is all dancing energy. Marita's long-deceased husband built their crumbling house; moved in when they married, over 53 years ago, and nothing much has changed since. Now her home is going to be demolished as the buildings in the neighborhood are being torn down and replaced with sterile apartments. The future does not belong to Marita. A beautifully constructed film that depicts with great subtlety the changing lives of suburban Spaniards. Joris Ivens Award for Best Documentary, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam. (80 min)

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