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La Mirada Film Festival Review: Phase 7 (Fase 7) (2010)

15 Apr

Phase 7 (Fase 7), 95 mins, Argentina, 2010, Spanish with English subtitles, Action / Comedy

This directorial debut from young writer/ filmmaker Nicolás Goldbart is an impressive yet subdued black comedy that explores the human’s ease to turn to paranoia when faced with a viral epidemic.

Spurred by the 2009 outbreak of Swine fly, and the consequent media frenzy and public fear , Goldbart situations us in a quarantined apartment building as the world enters a deadly phase of an undetermined virus. Young married couple, Coco and Pipi, find themselves pitted against their neighbours as the quarantine continues and the constricting apartment life, with dwindling supplies and unreliable information, slowly stars to get to them.

While it would seem this approach to a virus of apocalyptic proportions is the easier route to take, the other option being to show the chaos on the streets – enter expensive sets, make-up, special effects and so on, the choice to set this film in the apartment building means Goldbart must work harder to maintain his audience’s attention. At first the film borrows lightly from the comedy Shaun of the Dead, placing unenthused Gen Xers in a pandemic situation while they casually go about their grocery shopping and bickering. Soon, however the film begins to stand on its own legs as a piece of intriguing, modern Argentinian cinema with a black comedic heart.

With a middling pace Phase 7 ultimately aims to parody the absurdness of the majority of zombie and post apocalyptic films with its casual tone, and it pays off in a dry, offbeat way. A fun, ingenious film to close the La Mirada Film Festival and one which promises great things to come from its director.

Phase 7 plays the closing night of the festival – April 25, 2011. Please see the La Mirada Film Festival website for details.


La Mirada Film Festival Review: Jamón, Jamón (1992)

14 Apr

By Michael De Martino

(Bigas Luna, 1992, Spain, in Spanish, Drama/comedy, 95 minutes)

Set in a small, arid town in southern Spain, Jamón Jamón tells the age-old story of forbidden love where the connection between food and sex is taken to a whole new extreme. Silvia (Penelope Cruz) and Jose Luis (Armando Del Rio) plan to marry despite his mother’s disapproval. In an attempt to sabotage the relationship his mother hires Raul (Javier Bardem) to woo Silvia away from Jose Luis. Of course such plans never do run smoothly and soon spirals out of control. Continue reading

La Mirada Film Festival: April 14-26 2011

12 Apr

Looking for something that is all things Spanish: language, culture and cuisine? Well, you’re in luck.

April 14-26 is the fourth annual La Mirada Film Festival at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Over the course of nearly two weeks, over twenty films wil be screened, Spanish tapas and wine will be served at the Festival Lounge (Beer DeLuxe at Fed Square for those not in the know), a short film competition will be run, and numerous international guests will be in attendance for a scheduled – and perhaps the odd unscheduled – appearance.

With numerous programs featuring selections by Ang Lee, celebrated auteur Pedro Almodóvar, Guillermo Del Toro, Ken Loach, and actor Antonio Banderas, La Mirada brings the best of Hispanic cinema, past and present, to Melbourne.

Among some of this year’s festival highlights;

  • Opening night debut screening of festival guest Gustavo Taretto’s Medianeras, followed by opening night party.
  • Guest- curator Guillermo Del Toro’s (Hell Boy, Pans Labyrinth) program of ‘Mexico Bizarro’; a look into Mexican cult cinema.
  • The chance to meet and eat tapas with actor Unax Ugalde, star of Bon Apetit.
  • A Q&A session with director of Phase 7, Nicolas Goldbart. Followed by the closing night party.

Have a look at our reviews over the next week. Here’s one for Even the Rain.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Full $16 Concession/ACMI Members $12
5 Film Pass (excludes special events): Full $72 Concession/ACMI Members $52
Opening Night Gala: Full $49 Concession/ACMI Members $42
Closing Night Gala: Full $32 Concession/ACMI Members $25
Spanish Cuisine and Film: Full $26 Concession/ACMI Members $22
Mexican Fiesta and Film: Full $26 Concession/ACMI Members $22

For more information on La Mirada please visit:

La Mirada Film Festival Review: También la lluvia (Even the Rain) (2010)

4 Apr

By Mia Robinson

Spanish with subtitles

103 minutes

Written by Paul Laverty, directed by Icíar Bollaín, Even the Rain is set in Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the “Water Wars” of 2000.  It tells the story of Spanish film director, Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and film producer Costa (Luis Tosar), who travel to Cochabamba to shoot a film about Christopher Columbus’ exploitation and genocide of the native peoples. Whilst shooting the film, the town of Cochabamba becomes involved in dangerous protests against the privatization of water, with one of the leading actor’s also helping lead the protests, causing problems for Sebastián’s production. Continue reading