Contact: Margot Gerber 323 461 2020 ext. 115




Presented in collaboration with the Ministerio de Educacion y Cultura, SGAE,

Fundación Autor, the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, ICEX - Instituto

Español de Comercio Exterior, and the Instituto de la Mujer.

February 23 - March 11, 2001

HOLLYWOOD –. The American Cinematheque presents RECENT SPANISH CINEMA 2001 (February 23 - March 11, 2001). Our eighth annual survey of the wildest and most uncompromising new films from Spain features a tribute to the acclaimed director Ventura Pons, a "Women in Spanish Cinema Showcase" and seminar and a program of new Spanish short films. Several of the sixteen new films in the showcase won Goya Awards (Spanish equivalent of the Oscar) at the early February awards ceremony. Filmmakers schedule to appear in person to discuss their films include: directors Ventura Pons; Alex de la Iglesia; and Imanol Uribe; writer/directors Laura Maña and Helena Taberna; and actress Maria Barranco The twenty-three film series leads off with the wonderful, humorous drama ANITA TAKES A CHANCE from featured director Ventura Pons, followed by actress-turned-director Laura Maña’s delicious first feature, COMPASSIONATE SEX. Spain’s most wildly talented young filmmaker, Alex de la Iglesia (DAY OF THE BEAST) returns with the box office hit LA COMUNIDAD, a jaw-dropping thriller starring the great Carmen Maura (WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN) who just won a Spanish Goya for her performance. The series also features a stunning range of emotional dramas (Jose Luis Garci’s YOU’RE THE ONE, Spain’s official submission for the Academy Awards; acclaimed director Jose Luis Borau’s LEO), erotic thrillers (Daniel Calparsoro’s ASFALTO), demented comedies and much more. All films in Spanish with English subtitles, except films in the Ventura Pons Retrospective (in Catalan with English subtitles.) All guests are subject to their availability. Please note that unfortunately Rosa Maria Sardà will not be attending as was previously announced. All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.

There will be a press conference on Friday, February 23 at 10:00 PM at the Egyptian. All guests of the Recent Spanish Cinema series will be in attendance. To RSVP please call 323.461.2020, ext. 115.

Ventura Pons Tribute

This year’s series features a tribute to one of Spain’s most acclaimed filmmakers, Ventura Pons, whose intimate, beautifully nuanced comedies and dramas – most set in his home town of Barcelona – explore the hidden dynamics of the relationships between men and women, men and men, women and women with the sensivity, humor and color of Eric Rohmer and Max Ophüls. "The nice thing about being independent is that you can be impulsive," Pons has said, and his best films, from the subversive drag-queen documentary OCAÑO, INTERMITTENT PORTRAIT to his dazzling, episodic films like CARESSES and WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?, are filled with a spontaneous sense of lives and lovers in collision.

Born in Barcelona in 1945, Pons began his career in the theatre, and his stage background has gently shaped his career as a filmmaker, from stage-themed projects like ACTRESSES to his floating "stock company" of performers including Rosa Maria Sardà, Mercè Pons, Anna Lizaran and others. This is the first Los Angeles retrospective of his work!



For the third year in a row, we’re excited to be presenting the special Women In Spanish Cinema Showcase, highlighting the emerging generation of female directors and writers who are helping to reinvent Spanish filmmaking. In addition to Laura Maña’s COMPASSIONATE SEX, this year’s Showcase will also feature director Helena Taberna’s political drama YOYES, featuring a powerful performance from acclaimed actress Ana Torrent (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, THESIS). Laura Maña and Helena Taberna as our guests for this year’s Women in Spanish Cinema Showcase!

There will be a Special "Women In Spanish Cinema" Seminar, co-presented with the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, on Sunday, February 25th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM in the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian. Admission is free and seats available on a first come, first served basis the day of the event.

Friday, February 23, 2001

The Friday, February 23rd program begins at 7:00 PM with ANITA TAKES A CHANCE (ANITA NO PERD EL TREN) 2000, 81 min). Ventura Pons' latest film is a tender comedy with an amazing performance by longtime collaborator Rosa Maria Sardà. Anita (Sardà) is forced into early retirement when the movie theatre where she worked as a cashier for the past 30 years is demolished. Every day, Anita goes back to the construction site to watch the demolition of her former home. Her gaze catches the muscular silhouette of a sexy young bulldozer driver (José Coronado). "Anita takes a chance," and the violence of an unexpected and secret erotic liaison brings back excitement to her life. Co-starring María Barranco (WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN). In Catalan with English subtitles. Discussion following with director Ventura Pons and actress Rosa Maria Sardà.

Following at 9:30 PM is. COMPASSIONATE SEX (SEXO POR COMPASION) (2000, 107 min). (Women In Spanish Cinema Showcase) directed by Laura Maña. A saint or a whore, and why not both? With this sweet comic fable the difference has never been so small. Dolores (Elisabeth Margoni) is left by her husband, Manolo (Jose Sancho) for being too virtuous and proper. Looking for a sin big enough to lure him back, the naïve Dolores becomes "Lolita," the village whore. Miraculously, the men get their strength back and the village its lively color. A deliciously poetic and surprising first feature by actress Laura Maña, with a strong cast from both Spain and Mexico. Discussion following with director & screenwriter Laura Maña.

Saturday, February 24, 2001

The Saturday, February 24th program begins at 5:00 PM with PELLET (EL BOLA) (2000, 88 min), was awarded the Spanish Goya for Best Film and Best New Director.. An admirable and subtle first feature by director Achero Mañas, PELLET is a powerful psychological portrait of teens and domestic violence. Pablo, nicknamed "El Bola" (Juan Jose Ballesta) finds a friend in his new classmate Alfredo (Pablo Galán). Alfredo's loving family is a welcome relief from Pablo’s abusive home life. On a trip to the mountains, Alfredo discovers bruises on his friend's back, setting off a heart-wrenching chain reaction as Spain’s social system tries to cope with the problem of domestic violence. Director and screenwriter Mañas explores the darkness of child abuse without a hint of cliché or sentimentality in this somber, beautifully acted drama.


Following at 7:30 PM is COMMON WEALTH (LA COMUNIDAD) (2000, Lola Films, 106 min) a Spanish box office sensation and winner of three Spanish Goyas, including one for Maura in a role de la Iglesia wrote for her. The director of DAY OF THE BEAST and DYING OF LAUGHTER, Alex de la Iglesia, returns with this nightmarish comic thriller about a tacky real estate agent, played by the fabulous Carmen Maura (WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN), who discovers $15 million in lottery winnings in the apartment of a dead man. Word soon leaks out, and the greedy neighbors circle like vultures, desperate to get their hands on the treasure. A brilliant, gothic thrill ride of a movie, featuring Maura’s best performance since WOMEN ON THE VERGE. "It could be a completely serious picture. It has moments of suspense, of terror, of action. But I can't help feeling an irresistible attraction for comedy." -- Alex de la Iglesia. Discussion following with director Alex de la Iglesia.

Following at 10:15 PM is PLENILUNIO (2000, 119 min). From one of Spain’s finest filmmakers, Imanol Uribe (DIAS CONTADOS), PLENILUNIO is a stunning psychological thriller in the vein of Fritz Lang’s classic "M", and a powerful portrait of damaged souls struggling to find themselves. An unhappily married detective (Miguel Àngel Solà) is assigned to hunt down a child killer – his investigation leads him to the dead girl’s teacher, the lovely Adriana Ozores, recently separated from her own husband. Together, the two tentatively find love, while circling closer and closer to the sadistic killer (Juan Diego Boto). Beautifully scripted by noted writer Elvira Lindo (MANOLITO GAFOTAS), based on her husband Antonio Muñoz Molina's novel. "The film is a reflection on horror and love, which sometimes co-exist so close to one another." -- Imanol Uribe. Discussion following with director Imanol Uribe.

Sunday, February 25, 2001

On Sunday, February 25th from 2:00 - 4:00 PM is a "Women In Spanish Cinema Seminar" – Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian. FREE. Join us for a lively discussion of the politics of being a female filmmaker in Europe and the US.


Following at 5:00 PM is Ventura Pons In-Person Tribute. BELOVED/FRIEND (AMIC/AMAT) (1999, 90 min). Dir. Ventura Pons. A gay professor of medieval literature (Josep Maria Pou, in a remarkable performance) returns to Barcelona to die. As he reflects on his life and legacy, his thoughts turn to the two great loves of his life: his college friend (Mario Gas), now married with a grown-up daughter, and a nihilistic street hustler (David Selvas), who also happens to be the daughter’s lover. Co-starring Rosa Maria Sardà (ANITA TAKES A CHANCE). "Pons’ best film, and one of the most beautiful and adult in Spanish cinema." – Marcos Ordóñez, Fotogramas. In Catalan with English subtitles. Discussion following with director Ventura Pons and actress Rosa Maria Sardà.

Following at 7:30 YOYES, 1999, 104 min. (Women In Spanish Cinema Showcase). The mesmerizing Ana Torrent (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, THESIS) stars in this quietly shattering drama of political and personal allegiances. Based on the story of the first woman to hold a position of power in the militant Basque group E.T.A., YOYES follows the once-radical Torrent as she returns from exile in Mexico with a young child and a desire to start a new life – her comrades in the movement, though, insist that she return to the fold, in writer/director Helena Taberna’s uncompromising drama. Discussion following with director & screenwriter Helena Taberna.

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

The Wednesday, February 28th program begins at 7:00 PM with WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? (EL PORQUE DE LAS COSAS) (1994, 92 min). directed by Ventura Pons. One of Pons’ most ambitious and consistently delightful films, WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT features 15 comic vignettes on modern morality, including "Competition," in which a man buys a telescope to spy on his next-door neighbor, and finds himself in an escalating sexual competition with her; "Willpower," where a man is determined to teach a stone to talk; "Desire," "Submission," "Jealousy" and more. Based on a collection of short stories by leading Catalan novelist Quim Monzó. With Lluis Homar, Mercè Pons, Anna Lizaran, Jordi Bosch, Sílvia Munt. In Catalan with English subtitles.

Thursday, March 1, 2001

The Thursday, March 1st program begins at 7:00 PM with MASTERPIECE (LA OBRA MAESTRA) (2000, 115 min). Dir. David Trueba. John Waters’ CECIL B. DEMENTED meets Almodovar's ATAME! in this gonzo comedy of a famous, drug addicted actress (Ariadna Gil) who is kidnapped by two retarded film buffs, Benito (Santiago Segura, from TORRENTE – THE DUMB ARM OF THE LAW) and Carolo (Pablo Carbonell), to act in their super 8 mm. film masterpiece. David Trueba's second feature is a wickedly funny homage to the horrors of filmmaking.


Following at 9:30 PM is Ventura Pons' ACTRESSES (ACTRIUS) (1997, 100 min). Shamelessly manipulative (and damn near irresistible), ACTRESSES is a beautifully crafted tearjerker in the vein of ALL ABOUT EVE. A young actress (Mercè Pons) researching to play the role of legendary star "Empar Ribera" winds up interviewing three of Ribera’s surviving friends: an equally-legendary theatre diva, a successful (but bitter) TV comedienne, and a soft-spoken dubbing actress. Núria Espert, Rosa Maria Sardà and Anna Lizaran star as the three long-time friends who (of course) have their own grudges to resolve, with each other and with the long-dead Ribera. In Catalan with English subtitles.

Friday, March 2, 2001

The Friday, March 2nd program begins at 7:00 PM with YOU’RE THE ONE – A STORY OF THE PAST (UNA HISTORIA DE ENTONCES) (2000, 111 min), winner of five Goya awards including one for Best Actor for veteran actor Juan Luis Galliardo. Spain’s official submission for the 2000 Academy Awards, YOU’RE THE ONE is acclaimed director José Luis Garci’s homage to classic Hollywood melodramas of the 1940’s: a Barbara Stanwyck-like blonde, Julia (Lydia Bosch) retires to a remote country village to cope with her anguish at the imprisonment of her lover, a painter and political rebel. The remarkable friendship and resilient humor of the local people give Julia the strength to face the death of her lover, and go on with her life.


Following at 9:30 PM is KASBAH (2000, 99 min). The latest feature from acclaimed young filmmaker Mariano Barroso (EXTASIS) is his best to date, a road movie/thriller set in the steamy kasbahs of Morocco. Ernesto Alterio stars as Mario, an expatriate Spaniard working for his father in Morocco, when he’s saddled with chaperoning a half-sister he’s never met (flirtatious teen star Elena Ballesteros). When his sister disappears, possibly murdered or kidnapped, Mario finds himself the target of the police, his father and a vengeful ex-Foreign Legionnaire hired to bring the girl home.

Saturday, March 3, 2001

The Saturday, March 3rd program begins at 6:00 PM with LEO (2000, 86 min). From master director José Luis Borau (subject of a 1998 Cinematheque retrospective), LEO is a beautifully acted, grimly realistic portrait of Madrid’s forgotten underclass. Noted actress Iciar Bollaín (star of Borau’s NIÑO NADIE) delivers a haunting performance as Leo, a homeless woman with a tormented past and a terrible secret to keep, who draws a sympathetic security guard (Javier Batanero) into a plot to take revenge on the man who abused her years earlier. Former Spanish Academy president, Borau won the Goya for Best Director.

The Saturday, March 3rd program continues at 8:30 PM with ASFALTO, 2000, 90 min. Jarring, brilliantly directed crime film/love triangle, a kind of Spanish version of Godard’s BAND OF OUTSIDERS, from wildly talented young director Daniel Calparsoro (whose first film, JUMP INTO THE VOID, was featured in our 1996 series.) The gorgeous Najwa Nimri (OPEN YOUR EYES, LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE) stars as a thrill-seeking young woman caught in a criminal and sexual liaison with two petty thieves (Juan Diego Botto and Gustavo Salmerón). "I'm telling a love story as one could tell a holdup." -- Daniel Calparsoro.

Sunday, March 4, 2001

The Sunday, March 4th program begins at 5:00 PM with THE BACK OF THE WORLD (LA ESPALDA DEL MUNDO) (2000, 89 min). Dir. Javier Corcuera. Winner of the International Critics Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival, THE BACK OF THE WORLD is a disturbing, inescapable documentary about the ways in which societies literally crush their own citizens into submission. Told in three parts, focusing on child exploitation, political imprisonment and capital punishment, the film follows an 11-year old Peruvian boy in Lima, a Kurdish refugee whose wife is in a Turkish jail on trumped-up charges, and a Texas death row inmate whose execution has been delayed 11 times.

Following at 7:15 PM with FRIENDS HAVE REASONS (LAS RAZONES DE MIS AMIGOS) (2000, 85 min). From producer-turned-director Gerardo Herrero (COMANCHE TERRITORY), FRIENDS HAVE REASONS is a subtle, adult drama about the effect money has on long-term friendships. A cash-strapped computer entrepreneur, Carlos (Sergi Calleja) asks his two college friends (Marta Belaustegui and Joel Joan) for a loan one night at their monthly get-together. They quickly agree, but as the months go by and Carlos is still unable to repay the loan, the seemingly unshakable friendships start to bend and then crack under the strain. Written by Angeles González-Sinde (SECOND SKIN).

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

The Wednesday, March 7th program begins at 7:30 PM with the Recent Spanish Shorts Program. Miguel Diez Lasangre’s "Animal" (9 min.) Award- winning animated short about a man’s dream of a Stone Age hunting ritual. Ramon Salazar’s "Fungi" (Hongos) (20 min.) A riotous look at one woman’s reaction when realizing she accidentally slept with her ex-boyfriend. Our star, Monica Cervera, is a dead ringer for one of Almodovar’s early heroines. David Pujol’s "Stockholm" (15 min.) A remarkable journey about a good deed and the price paid for that deed. Ane Munoz Mitxelena’s "El Pan De Cada Dia" (Daily Bread) (11min.) A very black tale of a woman, for whom time has stopped. Alber Pontes "Una Luz Encendida" (A Light in the Sunrise) (22 min.) A mature look at a couple's faltering marriage and the surprise that changes them forever. Antonio Hen’s "En Malas Companias" (Doors Cut Down) (17 min.) A teenage boy cruises his town with a vengeance. A hit at Outfest.

Friday, March 9, 2001

The Friday, March 9th program begins at 7:00 PM with WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW (AUNQUE TU NO LO SEPAS) (2000, 119 min). Dir. Juan Vicente Cordoba. An elegant and nostalgic love story, reminiscent of Krzysztof Kieslowski's "A Short Film About Love": Lucia (Silvia Munt) has just moved back to the flat where she grew up, and recognizes Juan (Gary Piquer), the neighbor who used to watch her through binoculars when they were teenagers. Now in their 40's, the memory of their aborted love hasn’t faded, and Lucia looks for every way to revive the old feelings.


Following at 9:30 PM with a Ventura Pons Double Feature. First on the bill is OCAÑO, INTERMITTENT PORTRAIT (OCAÑA, RETRAT INTERMITENT) (1978, 90 min). Pons’ first film is also one of his most notorious (and popular), a brilliantly funny, no-holds-barred documentary on one of Barcelona’s most outrageous drag queens, Ocaña, a flamenco diva/painter/performance artist who somehow managed to survive the ultra-repressive Franco years to emerge like some strange and wonderful exotic flower. A companion piece to subversive, post-Franco features like Aranda’s CAMBIO DE SEXO and Almodovar’s PEPI, LUCI, BOM. In Spanish with English subtitles.


Next on the same bill is THE BLONDE AT THE BAR (LA ROSSA DEL BAR) (1986, 90 min). Gay pimps, upwardly-mobile hookers and pornographic photo-novels: BLONDE AT THE BAR has it all! Pons’ deliriously un-hinged comedy of Barcelona low-lifes stars Enric Majó as a married businessman who falls under the spell of an ambitious prostitute (Núria Hosta) and her pimp Ortega (Romancín), who has a taste for young Arab boys. In Catalan with English subtitles.

Saturday, March 10, 2001

The Saturday, March 10th program begins at 6:00 PM with Ventura Pons’ TO DIE (OR NOT) - MORIR (O NO) (1999, 92 min). In the style of his earlier hits WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? and CARESSES, TO DIE (OR NOT) is a poignant, at times wickedly funny look at seven characters, who may (or may not) be on the verge of dying – a hospital patient unable to reach the alarm button, a business executive targeted by a hit man, a movie director suffering from mental and creative exhaustion, and more. With Lluis Homar, Anna Lizaran, Mercè Pons, Sergi López. In Catalan with English subtitles.


Following at 8:30 PM is I KNOW WHO YOU ARE (SÉ QUIÉN ERES), 2000, 100 min. Paloma (Ana Fernández), a psychoanalyst recently attached to a mental institution in Galicia, becomes fascinated by one of her patients, Mario (Miguel Angel Solá), suffering from Korsakof's Syndrome – a sudden loss of short-term memory. Attempting to cure him, the analyst uses isolation, heavy drugs, and even sex to shock his memory back – she succeeds only too well, unleashing his repressed memories of a dark and murderous past. A tense, erotic thriller from first time director Patricia Ferreira.

Sunday, March 11, 2001

The Sunday, March 11th program begins at 5:00 PM with REGARDING BUÑUEL (A PROPOSITO DE BUÑUEL), 2000, 90 min. From Jose Luis Lopez-Linares and Javier Rioyo, the co-directors of ASSAULT THE SKIES (featured in our 1997 series), REGARDING BUÑUEL is a revealing, beautifully fractured portrait of Spain’s most acclaimed (and reviled) filmmaker, a master of the surreal and grotesque, told in archival photos, film clips and interviews with Buñuel’s surviving friends and colleagues.

Following at 7:30 PM is Ventura Pons’ CARESSES (CARICIAS), 1997, 104 min. Dir. Ventura Pons. Our series ends with Pons’ restless, erotically charged series of 11 episodes, revolving around characters both straight and gay as they sexually (and emotionally) explore, abuse, dominate and submit to one another over the course of one long night in Barcelona. Hailed as one of the 10 Best Films of 1998 by the Village Voice’s Elliot Stein. With David Selvas, Sergi López, Mercè Pons, Roger Coma, Rosa Maria Sardà.


Double features include both films for one admission price of $8 general. There is a 5-minute intermission between films. Running times are provided to figure out the approximate start time of the second film in the double bill.


Discussions between films in a double feature are generally about 20 minutes long.





A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

MATION CALL ARGOT GERBER 323.461.2020, ext. 115. THANK YOU.

Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee (Burbank) Walk in only no phone.

Jerry’s Video (1904 Hillhurst, Los Feliz - 323.666.7471)

Rocket Video (726 N. La Brea - 323.965.1100)

Cinefile (11280 Santa Monica Blvd. - Corner of Sawtelle Ave. - 310.312.8836)

Vidiots (302 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica - 310/392-8508)



Please note that our ticket prices increase as of Feb. 15, 2001. New Prices: $8 General; $6 Cinematheque Members. $7 Seniors (65+ years) and students with valid ID card. Must be shown at box office at time of purchase.

Our permanent daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD is now open. For press passes to see it for review purposes, please call Margot Gerber at 323.461.2020, ext. 115.


American Cinematheque, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 323.466-FILM | (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web:


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