Rafael Azcona - News Poster


Beta Film Acquires Movistar + Original ‘Arde Madrid’ (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Miami — Jan Motjo’s Beta Film has acquired worldwide sales rights to one of the most singular of Spanish comedy series released last year, Paco Leon’s “Arde Madrid,” a Movistar Original.

Beta Film made the announcement just after “Arde Madrid” was confirmed as one of the series at the 2019 Berlinale Drama Series Days Market Screenings.

Movistar’s most binged series ever, Telefonica’s pay TV unit announced after the six-part series’ commercial release in November, “Arde Madrid” is written by León and Anna R. Costa. It turns on Ana Mari, a right-wing governess sourpuss who begins the series instructing a class of young wives. “If your husband beats you,” she tells a packed hall, “it’s because you’re doing something wrong.”

Ana Mari is dispatched to the household of Ava Gardner to spy on her. The clash and gradual confluence of Gardner, Ana Mari and the other domestic staff,
See full article at Variety »

Movistar Plus’ Drive Into Fiction Is Centered on Women

  • Variety
Cutting-edge international drama used to be deadly serious: Think Nordic Noir.

“Arde Madrid,” represents a departure.

An eight-part half-hour created by Paco Leon and Anna R. Costa, the comedy-thriller yokes Spain’s grand movie comic tradition of caustic neorealism — think Rafael Azcona and Luis Berlanga — with suspense and romance, B&W cinematography of, in set pieces, the highest order; and a period of 1961 Madrid’s little known Dolce Vita, energized with Romani clans, flamenco dives, whiskey and sex, and real-life figures, led by the extraordinary Ava Gardner.

But it is its thoroughly modern feminist filter that really gives “Arde Madrid” its contempo edge and broader attraction while suggesting one way Movistar + is going as a company.

Gardner came to Madrid in 1957 to mourn her failed marriage to Frank Sinatra and find respect and freedom far away from the censorious eye of Hollywood, which deemed her white trash. Four years later,
See full article at Variety »

‘Arde Madrid,’ Ava Gardner, Flamenco and Feminism under Franco

  • Variety
Once again, Telefonica’s pay TV unit Movistar+ is offering a completely different and new experience to its viewers, while demonstrating a core principle that plays through its original series: High-end scripted content derives from high-quality scripts and creative freedom.

Arde Madrid” (Madrid on Fire) takes the audience back to a 1961 Spanish capital and the often mundane but sometime vibrant adventures of Ana Mari, a governess dispatched by Franco’s neo-fascist regime to become a spy, working as a servant in the house of one of the most incredible female figures of her time: Ava Gardner.

Channeling Spain’s grand movie comic tradition – think Rafael Azcona and Luis Berlanga – this black and white comedy manages to mix suspense and romance while profiling real life figures such as Gardner, Argentina’s General Perón and Charlton Heston, endowing them with large humanity. While playing the male lead, Spanish actor-director Paco León also directs,
See full article at Variety »

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
See full article at CriterionCast »

‘La Grande Bouffe’ Blu-ray Review

  • Nerdly
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
See full article at Nerdly »

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 »

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.

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