Rafael Azcona - News Poster


San Sebastián: ‘Spanish Shame’ Directors Discuss the Movistar + Series

San Sebastián: ‘Spanish Shame’ Directors Discuss the Movistar + Series
San Sebastian — “Spanish Shame” is the first whole TV series to be screened at San Sebastian Film Festival. It’s also the first full series from Movistar +, the pay TV arm of Telefonica, No other European telecom has driven so much or so fast into high-end original series. As such “Spanish Shame” is a pioneer. It may also prove a milestone.

Competinfg at San Sebastian’s Zabaltegi-Tabakalera showcase, which has been srnthened this year to include a panopl,yof edgier fare, mostly movies, “Spanish Shame” stars Javier Gutiérrez (“Marshland, “The Motive”) and Malena Alterio (“Five Square Meters”). The 10-part half-hour offer a black humored romantic comedy tapping into Spanish classic movie tradition of dark comedies of frustration (think Rafael Azcona) black humor as well as, in a refreshing turn, echoing U.S. references such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or “Louie,” – something singular in contemporary Spanish TV production.

In “Spanish Shame” an aspiring art photographer with a monumental
See full article at Variety - Film News »

September 12th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include The Mummy (2017), Phenomena, The Resurrected

  • DailyDead
This week’s list of horror-themed home entertainment releases is almost exhausting, as we have well over 30 titles coming our way on September 12th. For those who may have missed them in theaters earlier this year, you can now finally catch up with both The Mummy (2017) and It Comes At Night, as they’re both headed home on multiple formats.

Cult film fans should keep an eye out for an array of releases this Tuesday, including The Fox With A Velvet Tail, The Resurrected, the standard two-disc Blu-ray for Dario Argento’s Phenomena, The Creep Behind the Camera, Spider, and Don Coscarelli’s entire Phantasm series comes home in a five-disc DVD set from Well Go USA.

Other notable releases for September 12th include The Ghoul, Dead Again in Tombstone, The Hatred, Ruby, Tobor the Great, and Night Gallery: The Complete Series.

The Fox With A Velvet Tail (Mondo Macabro,
See full article at DailyDead »

The Executioner (El Verdugo)

Now for something truly remarkable from the neglected Spanish cinema. Luis García Berlanga's wicked satire is a humanistic black comedy, free of cynicism. The borderline Kafkaesque situation of an everyman forced into a profession that horrifies him is funny and warm hearted - but with a ruthless logic that points to universal issues beyond Franco Fascism. The Executioner Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 840 1963 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 92 min. / El Verdugo / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date October 25, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, José Isbert . Cinematography Tonino Delli Colli Film Editor Afonso Santacana Original Music Miguel Asins Arbó Written by Luis García Berlanga, Rafael Azcona, Ennio Flaiano Produced by Nazario Belmar Directed by Luis García Berlanga

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Criterion brings us 1963's The Executioner (El Verdugo), a major discovery for film fans that thought Spanish cinema began and ended with Luis Buñuel. I've seen politically-charged Spanish films from
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Joshua Reviews Luis Garcia Berlanga’s The Executioner [Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review]

We here at The CriterionCast wear our admiration for The Criterion Collection squarely on our sleeves. Not only is it in the very title of this website and the podcast from which it spawned, but it is in the very DNA of what we strive to do through both ventures. At their very best, The Criterion Collection doesn’t so much bring to light gloriously dense home video releases of beloved, crystal clear classics from the history of film, but instead highlights lesser known masterpieces from throughout the world and spanning the entirety of film’s history as an artform. Be it esoteric experimental works like that of director Jean Painleve to baroque world cinema classics like La Cienaga, Criterion’s greatest achievement is giving the world a new glimpse at world history through the lens of those directors commenting on it through their films.

And few films quite hit
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Paybox Movistar Plus to Produce Eight TV Series a Year in Spain

Madrid — In a watershed move for Spain’s TV production sector, giant telco Telefonica’s Movistar Plus, Spanish leading paybox, unveiled Friday part of its long-anticipated TV production plans, that will include eight-to-ten original TV series productions a year, starting from 2017.

The commitment situates Telefonica-Movistar on a production level with Europe’s pay big TV players, such as Sky and Canal Plus. Currently, Movistar is developing 20 original TV fiction series project.

An early flagship title at Movistar’s TV drama slate, Alberto Rodriguez’s period thriller “La peste,” made in partnership with Jose Antonio Felez’s Madrid-based Atipica, entered production this month.

Telefionica-Movistar Plus revelation of the scale of TV production plans comes four days after Bloomberg unveiled HBO plans to launch a standalone streaming service in Spain, where Netflix operates from October.

The timing may just be coincidence, Telefonica’s production strategy is not.

It is not foreseeable that either Netflix,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

‘La Grande Bouffe’ Blu-ray Review

Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Ugo Tognazzi, Andréa Ferréol, Solange Blondeau, Florence Giorgetti, Michèle Alexandre, Monique Chaumette, Henri Piccoli | Written by Marco Ferreri, Rafael Azcona | Directed by Marco Ferreri

La Grande Bouffe is a film about food, about decadence and about over indulgence. Not knowing much about the film before watching it, little did I know that I’d feel I’d been the one eating too much, just by watching the movie. Typical of an Arrow Academy release, Marco Ferreri’s film is an education, and one you won’t easily forget…

When four friends Marcello (Marcello Mastroianna), Michel (Michel Piccoli), Philippe (Phillippe Noiret) and Ugo (Ugo Tognazzi) meet for a weekend at Philippe’s villa they plan to eat themselves to death. Indulging in sex with prostitutes, and most importantly never-ending eating the villa around them decays as their over indulgence takes over.

In many ways
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Trueba Sets ‘Que Fue de Jorge Sanz?’ as ‘Boyhood’-style Spanish Premium Pay TV Franchise (Exclusive)

Trueba Sets ‘Que Fue de Jorge Sanz?’ as ‘Boyhood’-style Spanish Premium Pay TV Franchise (Exclusive)
Spain’s David Trueba, whose latest feature is the 6 Sales-sold “Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed,” an Outsider Pictures U.S. pick-up and Foreign-Language Oscar entry, is prepping a now rare addition to Spanish premium pay TV fiction: an ongoing once-every-five-years franchise development of “¿Que Fue de Jorge Sanz? (lit. “Whatever Happened to Jorge Sanz?).

Bowing Sept. 2010 on Canal Plus España, Spain’s biggest feevee service, “Que Fue,” a large critical hit, has been to date one of the very few original series financed and aired on a paybox in Spain by a pay TV operator, though Telefonica’s purchase of Canal Plus, now awaiting anti-trust clearance, may change that.

As on “Eyes Closed” – which also won the 2014 Palm Springs Fest Cine Latino award, beating out higher-profile foreign-language Academy Award contenders, and took best actor and the Tonino best screenplay prize at Italy’s San Marino Fest – Trueba is set to write and direct.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

José Luis López Vázquez obituary

Spanish everyman actor who flourished in the country's post-Franco renaissance

The Spanish actor José Luis López Vázquez, who has died aged 87, was so much a part of Spanish cinema for six decades, appearing in almost 250 films between 1948 and 2007, that it seems inconceivable without him. Short and bald, with a little moustache, bearing a certain resemblance to Groucho Marx, he often embodied the average Spaniard. "I was an insignificant person, and I stayed that way," López explained.

As most of López's career was synchronous with Francisco Franco's 36-year repressive regime, when it was almost impossible for Spain to create a vibrant film industry and for talented film-makers to express themselves freely, the majority of his films were conveyor-belt comedies and melodramas, strictly for home consumption. Nevertheless, in the 1950s and 60s, despite restrictions, a distinctive Spanish art cinema managed to emerge, led primarily by the directors Juan Antonio Bardem, Luis García Berlanga and Carlos Saura,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

[DVD Review] Don't Touch the White Woman

Marco Ferreri’s Don’t Touch The White Woman boasts a unique premise: a satirical and often absurdist historical reenactment of Custer’s famed Battle at Little Big Horn, more famously known as Custer’s Last Stand. The absurdist elements are increasingly accentuated by the fact that all proceedings take place on the streets of 1970s (then modern-day) Paris, with military engagements playing out on a vast construction site. The characters are adorned with historically correct uniforms and sport a variety of beards and sabers, galloping on stallions through Parisian suburbs while onlookers in T-shirts and jeans look on. A plump anthropologist adorned in sweaters bearing the insignia of American colleges lurks throughout, often feasting on a bag of chips. This is Ferreri’s vision of American corruption, the poisonous effects of the American myth and the mistreatment of American Indians. Unfortunately, Don’t Touch The White Woman is labored and slow to develop,
See full article at JustPressPlay »

Complete List of 23rd Goya Awards' Winners

Winners of the 23rd Annual Goya Awards, Spain's equivalent of the Academy Awards, have been announced on Sunday, February 1 and "Camino" has come up as the big winner. The Javier Fesser's film about a young girl's death, her mother's staunch Catholic beliefs and the Church's effort to canonize the girl collected six awards, including the coveted prize, Best Film.

Apart from the Best Film prize, the movie also brought home kudos for director and writer Javier Fesser as the fimmaker was awarded with Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Additionally, its actresses, Carmen Elias and Nerea Camacho, and actor Jordi Dauder have been hailed Best Actress, Breakthrough Actress and Best Supporting Actor in respective order.

Benicio del Toro and Penelope Cruz have also scored an award each. del Toro won the Best Actor title for his performance in "The Argentine", while Cruz was hailed Best Supporting Actress for her
See full article at Aceshowbiz »

'Camino' leads Goya Awards with six nods

'Camino' leads Goya Awards with six nods
Madrid -- Javier Fesser's mystical "Camino" walked away as the big winner Sunday at the 23rd Goya Awards, taking home nods for best film, director, actress, new actress, supporting actor and original screenplay.

"Camino," which tells the true story of a young girl's death, her mother's staunch Catholic beliefs and the Church's effort to canonize the girl, saw young Nerea Camacho win the new actress award and Carme Elias, who played her mother, take the lead actress honor.

" 'Camino' is a love story and vindication of the right to be happy. In these times, it's important to hope," said producer Jaume Roures, head of Mediapro, which also produced Woody Allen's Spanish film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

Penelope Cruz seemed to sum up the international vibe of the evening when she picked up her Goya for supporting actress in "Barcelona," the same role that earned her an Oscar nomination.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Scriptwriter Azcona Dies

  • WENN
Spanish screenwriter Rafael Azcona has died at the age of 81.

Azcona lost his fight against lung cancer on Monday after battling the disease for many years, according to local reports.

The late star is widely credited for his role in reviving Spanish cinema after the country's civil war, which ended in 1939.

He worked with the biggest Spanish filmmakers of his time and enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years.

During that time, he wrote nearly 100 screenplays - including the Oscar-winning film Belle Epoque starring Penelope Cruz. The comedy/drama was awarded the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1993 and scooped nine Goya awards.

Azcona is survived by his wife Susi.

New nods at Malaga

New nods at Malaga
MADRID -- Categories for best actor and best actress will be added to the Ninth Annual Malaga Film Festival to be held March 17-25 in the Mediterranean seaside city, organizers said Thursday. In addition, veteran Spanish screenwriter Rafael Azcona will be honored for his life's work. Festival director Solomon Castiel said that Azcona, 79, will receive the Ricardo France award, praising him as "a legend in Spanish cinema" who has received six Goya awards (Spain's equivalent of the Oscar) during his career. Along with the new acting award in the feature film category, the festival is adding prizes for best made-for-television movie and best Latin American film entered in competition.

Film review: 'In Praise of Older Women' Lacking Praise for 'Older Women'

Film review: 'In Praise of Older Women'  Lacking Praise for 'Older Women'
Two decades after its first wan movie adaptation (starring Tom Berenger), Stephen Vizinczey's novel "In Praise of Older Women" has been transformed into another movie that doesn't quite work. Although the setting has been changed from World War II-era Hungary to the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, this version is equally unsuccessful in its depiction of a teenager's erotic coming of age.

The Spanish feature, which received its U.S. premiere at the 15th Miami Film Festival, has some names in its cast (Faye Dunaway, Joanna Pacula) and can certainly exploit its sexual content, but theatrical prospects are limited.

"Women" chronicles the amorous adventures of 15-year-old Andres, who is abandoned by his mother. He falls in with a group of anti-fascist rebels near the front, where he has his first romantic experience with a beautiful but slightly seedy countess (Dunaway) who is not above providing sexual favors to assure safe passage for her and her husband.

Andres is then sent to stay at his sergeant's house in Barcelona, where he quickly falls under the spell of the sergeant's beautiful daughter Julia (Ingrid Rubio). Unfortunately, Julia's not-so-understanding mother catches the two in the act and kicks Andres out. Making his living as a black marketeer, Andres enjoys a dissolute but dissatisfying lifestyle until the war ends, when he reunites with his mother, now married to a prominent fascist. His next experience comes with a married neighbor, Marta (Pacula), who starts out educating Andres about books but continues with lessons of a far different kind.

The political aspects of the film are interesting but far from compelling, and screenwriter Rafael Azcona and director Manuel Lombardero fail to render Andres' romantic adventures with sufficient poignance or depth. Even worse, most of the story is not particularly erotic.

The film drifts from one listless episode to another, and many of the characterizations are too broadly drawn to be credible, but not broad enough to be truly entertaining. It does have an evocative re-creation of the period and gorgeous cinematography that makes ordinary objects glimmer with passion. But as with the story and characterizations, all the pleasure lies on the surface.


A Sogotel, S.A. Lolafilms presentation

with the participation of Canal Plus

and the collaboration of Sogepaq

Credits: Director: Manuel Lombardero; Screenplay: Rafael Azcona; Executive producer: Andres Vicente Gomez; Cinematographer: Jose Luis Alcaine; Editor: Ernest Blasi; Music: Jose Manuel Pagan. Cast: Andres: Juan Diego Botto; Andres (age 15): Miguel A. Garcia; Countess: Faye Dunaway; Irene: Carmen Elias; Marta: Joanna Pacula; Julia: Ingrid Rubio. No MPAA rating. Running time -- 101 minutes. Color/stereo.

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