Festival de Cine Español es fantástico

Hot on the heels of the French Film Festival, the best of Spanish language cinema hits the big screen for the Spanish Film Festival,  screening at Palace Byron Bay from Thursday May 8 to Wednesday May 14.

Living-is-easyThe opening-night film, Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, is set against the stunning backdrop of Franco’s sun-drenched Spain.  This charming and bittersweet film is part road-trip, part coming of age tale, and  offers a touching tribute to an unforgettable moment in time.

The title comes from John Lennon’s enigmatic song Strawberry Fields Forever, written by Lennon in Almeria, Spain when he was there filming How I Won the War.

The year was 1966, and small-town school teacher Antonio, who uses Beatles lyrics to teach his students English, decides to take a journey across Spain to meet his hero, picking up two hitchhikers along the way.

Opening-night guests will also enjoy post-film tapas, Spanish wines, beers and sangria, together with the evocative sounds of Byron Shire musician and Spanish guitarist Paol Serret, taking the audience on a Latin odyssey from bossa nova to flamenco, smooth jazz to romantic tango.

The closing-night film is  Alex de la Iglesia’s madly entertaining Witching & Bitching, a high-octane award-winning dark comedy, preceded by sangria, tapas and Estrella Damm beer.

On Mothers Day, Sunday May 11, mothers and others can enjoy a festive day with Spanish flair with a glass of bubbly and cake at a 12.45 pm screening of Three Many Weddings. Spain’s biggest box office hit in 2013, Three Many Weddings is an unapologetically raucous and entertaining not-to-be-missed romantic comedy.

With 11 outstanding films from Spain and Latin America, the Spanish Film Festival is a journey through the landscapes and cultures of one of Europe’s most exciting and romantic countries.  Program and tickets available at Palace Cinema box office, or online at

The program includes:

Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed (VIVIR ES FÁCIL CON LOS OJOS CERRADOS). Dir: David Trueba. 108mins.


Lead by the ever-appealing Javier Cámara, this part road-trip, part coming-of-age comedy set against the stunning backdrop of Franco’s sundrenched Spain will make you laugh while tugging at your deepest heartstrings.

Witching & Bitching (LAS BRUJAS DE ZUGARRAMURDI). Dir: Alex De La Iglesia. 112mins.


Alex de la Iglesia’s outrageously zany battle of the sexes will shock audiences into laughter and make for a breathless closing night.

Combustion (COMBUSTIÓN). Dir: Daniel Calparsoro. 104mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

A Fast and the Furious style car-chase film underscored by a passionate love triangle, Combustion will entangle audiences in its menagerie of luxury cars and beautiful people, casting Madrid in an irresistibly glamorous light.

Family United (LA GRAN FAMILIA ESPAÑOLA). Dir: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo. 101mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

An all-star cast including Miquel Fernández, Antonio de la Torre and Quim Gutiérrez play the brothers of Efraín whose wedding day descends into comedic and scandalous chaos while Spain’s Soccer World Cup dreams are played out.

Scorpion in Love (ALACRÁN ENAMORADO). Dir: Santiago Zannou. 100mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

Alex González stars alongside Javier Bardem as a Neo-Nazi who experiences a rebirth through boxing in this gripping drama which combines elements of love, hate, and redemption.
Tasting Menu. (MENU DEGUSTACIÓ). Dir: Roger Gual. 85mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

A selection of guests connected by their love of food and wine unite to celebrate the final evening of a world-famous Catalan restaurant, but tension mounts and passions are bought to a head as each delectable dish is served.

Three Many Weddings (TRES BODAS DE MÁS). Dir: Javier Ruiz Caldera. 95mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

The gorgeous Inma Cuesta plays newly single scientist Ruth, who is invited to three different ex-boyfriends’ weddings in this unapologetically raucous and entertaining rom-com.

Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang (ZIPI Y ZAPE Y EL CLUB DE LA CANICA). Dir: Oskar Santos. 95mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

A witty and endearing offering for all ages based on two of Spain’s most beloved comic book characters, Zip & Zap, and their marble gang follow riddles through the labyrinthine castle of their summer school to reach a treasure and expose the evil headmaster.

REEL COLABORACIÓN – International Co-productions

7th Floor (SÉPTIMO). Dir: Patxi Amezcua. 100mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

Spanish-language cinema heavyweights Ricardo Darín and Belén Rueda star as a couple whose marriage is on the rocks when their children vanish without a trace… and everyone is a suspect.

REEL LATINO – Films from Latin America

The Amazing Catfish (LOS INSÓLITOS PECES GATO). Dir: Claudia Sainte-Luce. 95mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

Loner Ximena is taken into the fold of a dysfunctional family in this delightful indie-style drama-comedy which won the international critics prize at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.

To-fool-a-thiefTo Fool A Thief (VINO PARA ROBAR). Dir: Ariel Winograd. 105mins. AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

Two professional robbers try to outsmart each other as they play cat and mouse through Argentina’s stunning wine country in this delightful combination of swindle thriller and romantic comedy.


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