¡Viva España! Cornerhouse unveil spectacular line-up for Manchester’s Spanish language film festival

By Lucy Kenderdine

Cornerhouse has announced details and a programme for the 19th edition of ¡Viva! Manchester’s annual Spanish language film festival.

The internationally acclaimed festival, which showcases the best of new Spanish and Latin American cinema, will feature a thrilling array of premieres, guest appearances and previews. 

Running from March 8 until 24, the festival will showcase 20 films alongside language events and the first UK public solo exhibition by Mexican installation artist, Yoshua Okón.

Rachel Hayward, Cornerhouse’s film programme manager, said: “A lot of work goes into planning the festival and a team of people watch between 40-50 films before picking the final programme.”

Over the years, the festival has been presented in various formats but has always been very popular and has developed a loyal audience of fans in the UK.

She added: “Months before the festival people are asking about it and we work with the universities in Manchester attracting students and lectures to the event.”

The list of films show diverse, genre spanning offerings and, speaking to MM, Ms Hayward offered her highlights.

She said: “There are so many fantastic films in the festival and I have many favourites but Blancanieves is one that I’m particularly looking forward to”

Blancanieves (Snow White) is a spectacular silent film which translates the famous fable to the world of bull fighting in 1920s Seville. 

Ms Hayward added: “The visuals are amazing and it really is a beautiful film.”

Fans of Cuban horror film Juan of the Dead, which featured at 2012’s festival, will enjoy Los Lobos de Arga (Game of Werewolves) a Spanish werewolf comedy and a retro parody of the horror genre. 

In the film, Thomas, an unsuccessful writer, returns to his family’s historic home only to become centre stage in a battle against a deadly hundred year old curse. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Chocó paints a hard hitting portrayal of a poor Colombia woman struggling to cope with her abusive husband and going to great lengths to fulfil her daughters wish to have a birthday cake. 

Presented in partnership with Instituto Cervantes, the 2013 programme is the most ambitious to date including independent features, documentaries and blockbusters. 

Kepa Gonzalez, Cultural Director of Instituto Cervantes, said: “We really look forward to the new edition of ¡Viva!” 

He added that the event will feature exciting events including workshops, visits from film personalities and a final party at Cervantes. 

Mr Gonzalez said: “There will be something to enjoy for everyone.” 

As part of the festival, Cornerhouse will also be hosting Octopus, the first UK public solo exhibition of Mexican video installation and performance artist, Yoshua Okón. 

Running alongside the festival the exhibition, between March 9 and April 1, the work questions perceptions of reality and truth through staged situations and improvisation, all done in front of the camera

Ms Hayward said:”It was the blending of film and art together in the multi screen exhibition alongside the socio-political angle of the work that originally attracted us to the work and the artist.”

The work follows the US tradition of civil war re-enactments and Octopus replicates the Guatemalan civil war with an installation shot at a Home Depot parking lot in Los Angeles.

Mr Okón said:Contrary to traditional versions of war re-enactments, which take place in historical war sites and are not performed by actual fighters, here the site responds to a symbolic nature and is performed by Mayan ex-fighters who currently live in the US as undocumented day-labourers.”

¡Viva! is one of Cornerhouse’s most popular events and last year’s edition received over 8,000 visitors and the 2013 festival promises to excite Manchester once again.

Picture courtesy of Wanda Films, with thanks.

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