17th !Viva¡ Festival of Spanish and Latin American Cinema

The latest !Viva¡ Film Festival is open to the public in Manchester from March 5th. !Viva¡ is the UK’s No1 Spanish language festival. The festival now spreads itself across 23 days with a couple or more films and a ‘live’ event or two  on each day. In total there are 25 films new to UK audiences, many of them playing more than once on different dates, so if you are lucky enough to live close to Cornerhouse you could see all of them.

One of the features of this year’s festival is the spread of Latin American films from most of the major Spanish language territories. One of the festival’s sponsors, the Spanish cultural agency Instituto Cervantes has helped to organise the Cine en construcción (Film in Progress) strand in the festival in conjunction with the San Sebastian International Film Festival and Toulouse Latin American Film Festival. The Latin American section includes a portmanteau celebration (ten short films) of the centenary of the Mexican Revolution (appropriately titled Revolución, Mexico 2010) and new films by festival favourites Rodrigo Piá and Daniel Burman. Piá’s La Zona was one of the hits of !Viva¡ in 2008 and Desierto adentro (Mexico 2008) is another prizewinner set during the Mexican Revolution. Argentinian Burman’s film Dos hermanos (Brother and Sister), 2010 is a ‘tragicomic’ tale of siblings dealing with the death of their mother.

Desierto ardento (The desert inside)

Several films will be introduced by Spanish and Latin-American scholars from Manchester universities, including the new documentary by Isabel Coixet, Escuchando al juez Garzón (Listening to the Judge) Spain 2011. Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón issued an international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean dictator General Pinochet in 1998; the charge, the murder of Spanish citizens. The controversial judge has since been suspended (after political manoeuvring, his supporters claim) and has worked outside Spain at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The documentary is edited from six hours of interview material with this fascinating figure.

Education is an important part of the festival and alongside the screenings with introductions and director Q & As there are Spanish language study sessions for GCSE, A Level and adult learners plus an introduction and overview of Spanish Cinema. As well as Castilian Spanish, the festival features a film (and discussion) in Catalan and another in the Basque language.

Cornerhouse has three cinemas and two galleries and during !Viva¡, Gallery 1 will be housing work by the Columbian artist Oscar Muñoz comprising video installation Biografías (2002) and single screen video work Línea del destino (Line of Destiny) (2006).

The full !Viva¡ programme is available here.

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