Fans Descend On ¡Viva! Film Festival

By Joe Vaughan-Birch

FILM-GOERS are descending on Manchester’s Cornerhouse this month for the 16th ¡Viva! Spanish Film Festival.

Following the success of ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the recently Oscar-nominated ‘La Teta Austoda’ (The milk of sorrow), Spanish cinema is in fine form.

This makes it the ideal time for the 22-day celebration.

¡Viva!’s reputation as the festival for Spanish-language films in the English-speaking world is bolstered by an exclusive exhibition of leading Mexican artist Carlos Amorales.

Amorales has exhibited everywhere from New York’s Museum of Modern Art to Paris’s Centre Pompidou and is very much in demand.*

Festival Deputy Director, Isabelle Croissant said: “We’re really lucky to have his work because everyone wants him at the moment.”

In ‘Psicofonias’, Amorales uses a video installation where drawings morph into musical notes and are then played on two synthesisers, showing the fun and absurdity ever-present in his work.

The artist who once brought Mexican wrestlers to the Tate Modern said that he hopes to make art more inclusive and this playful piece evidences that.

Ms Croissant said: “It is the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into a truly fascinating world.”

¡Viva!’s success is also highlighted by the extended programme it boasts this year with many opportunities to immerse oneself not just in Latin films, but the entire culture.

In association with the Institutio Cervantes people are invited to take part in Spanish and Catalan workshops at various times throughout the programme.

¡Viva! creates a buzz around its events, with Spanish speakers and fans of Hispanic culture gathering in the Cornerhouse’s bar and café.

It also welcomes a host of directors for Q&A sessions, including the multi-award winning Chus Gutierrez following the screening of ‘Mal dia para pescar’.

In addition to the UK debut of 18 feature films there are three special ‘shorts’ programmes.

The films of the master of European silent cinema, Segundo de Chomon will be accompanied by live music provided by Manchester band Die Kunst, again showing ¡Viva!’s trail-blazing vision.

Festival Director, Rachael Heyward said: “This year we’ve had the capacity to include some truly original ideas.”

Heyward recommends the documentary ‘Titan de la habana a guantanamera’ as one of the films that is not to be missed.

She said: “It is a truly inspiring piece of film-making.”

This weekend gives three films their UK premiere, including ‘La teta austoda’, a meditation on the strange illnesses women suffered during Peru’s war of terrorism.

The intimate setting of the Cornerhouse provides the perfect setting, with many screenings having sold out way in advance.

The festival runs until Sunday March 28. 

For full programme details contact or email [email protected]

Related Articles