Throughout the fall 2016 semester, Shenandoah University’s Spanish Film Club will host a film series featuring Spanish-language films from around the world. This film series was made possible with the support of film distributor Pragda, Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and SPAIN arts & culture.
All screenings are free and open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. in Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium, on Shenandoah University’s main campus.
• “Black Bread” (“Pa Negre”), Tuesday, Sept. 20 – This film by Agustí Villaronga tells the story of Andreu, who comes across the bodies of a father and son in the forest; leaning over the dying boy, Andreu hears him whisper “Pitorliu” – the name of a monster supposedly haunting local caves. But the real monsters in this brilliant adaptation of Emil Teixidor’s novel are the local Fascists, who keep close watch on the family of Andreu and other Republican sympathizers, and who think Andreu’s father might know more about these murders than he admits. Reminiscent of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and adored by audience and critics alike, “Black Bread” won an unheard of number of prizes, including nine Goya Awards. It was also the Spanish selection for the 2011 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. Spain; 2011; Catalan with English subtitles; runtime: 108 minutes.
• “The Club” (“El club”), Tuesday, Oct. 4 – “The Club” is acclaimed director Pablo Larraín’s taut, blackly comic commentary on individual responsibility, organized religion and the combustible combination of the two. In a secluded house in a small seaside town live four unrelated men and the woman who tends to the house and their needs. All former priests, they have been sent to this quiet exile to purge the sins of their pasts, with the separation from their communities being the worst form of punishment by the Church. They keep to a strict daily schedule devoid of all temptation and spontaneity, each moment a deliberate effort to atone for their wrongdoings. Their fragile stability is disrupted by the arrival of an emissary from the Vatican who seeks to understand the effects of their isolation, and a newly disgraced housemate. Both bring with them the outside world from which the men have long been removed, and the secrets they had thought deeply buried. Chile; 2015; Spanish with English subtitles; runtime: 97 minutes.
• “The Delay” (“La demora”), Tuesday, Oct. 18 – This film by Rodrigo Plá tells the story of María, who lives with her three school-age children and 80-year-old father, Agustín. It’s clearly a struggle for her to make ends meet and to juggle all of her commitments. Agustín has periods of lucidity, but his mental deterioration is such that Maria explores the possibility of his either living with another relative or moving into some kind of care facility. When both of these options seem impossible, María makes a drastic decision. Uruguay; 2012; Spanish with English subtitles; runtime: 84 minutes.
• “NN” (“NN, Sin identidad”), Tuesday, Nov. 1 – In this film by Héctor Gálvez, a group of forensic anthropologists digs up the corpses of eight people who disappeared without a trace 20 years ago during a violent political period in Peru. Among them, they find a ninth, unidentified corpse. The only thing that can lead to the identity of the man is the vague photo of a smiling girl found in his shirt’s pocket. Fidel, a thoughtful investigator fascinated by the case, struggles to maintain a scientific approach to his work when a lonely widow shows up convinced this NN (Non Nomine) is her disappeared husband. Should he conduct a thorough investigation that may leave the widow’s plea unanswered or grant her the closure she has been searching for decades? Peru; 2014; Spanish with English subtitles; runtime: 99 minutes.
• “Everybody Leaves” (“Todos se van”), Tuesday, Nov. 15 – In this film by Sergio Cabrera, Eight-year-old Nieve is the object of her parents’ custody battle. Her mother, Eva, is an artist who believes in the revolution and disagrees with censorship or authoritarianism. She is re-married to Dan, a Swede working on the construction of a nuclear plant. Nieve’s father Manuel is a playwright who sacrifices his artistic career to write government propaganda in a remote area of the country. Through her diary entries, Nieve reveals intimate details of a turbulent family life while painting an authentic portrait of the social and political unrest in Cuba under the rule of Castro. Colombia; 2015; Spanish with English subtitles; runtime: 107 minutes.