¡Viva! has been running for 26 years now and this year looks set to be a scorcher...
HOME’s ¡Viva! Festival returns this March for its 26th year, with a specially selected programme of the most exciting work from across the Spanish-speaking world.
Taking place between Friday 6th and Thursday 26th March, the programme comprises of 31 feature films and 10 short films from Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America, including 15 UK premieres.
Alongside six director Q&As there will also be talks and workshops, including a specialist Language Lab screening and an informal gathering with Café Cervantes – perfect for anyone who’s learning Spanish.
So what’s on then? Well here’s a rundown of our top 10 screenings. For the full list of what’s on – check out the full programme here.
La Hija de un ladrón (A Thief’s Daughter)
A powerful first feature from Catalan writer/director Belén Funes, starring Greta Fernández as a painfully lonely young woman navigating a toxic family situation, with her errant parent played by her real life father Eduard Fernández. This emotionally engaging story draws comparisons with the stark realism of the Dardenne brothers or Ken Loach, and lives up to all its accolades and awards.
Fri 6 Mar, 19:30 + introduction; Sat 7 Mar, 17:50 + Q&A; Tue 24 Mar, 15:50
La Odisea de los giles (Heroic Losers)
Set during the 2001 financial crash in Argentina, this funny, well-paced, sort-of-heist movie presents an appealing fantasy: ordinary folk taking revenge on the crooked establishment. Sebastián Borensztein’s ensemble cast includes the prolific Ricardo Darín and his son Chino.
Sat 7 Mar, 20:40; Sun 15 Mar, 15:15
In the early ’70s Inés and Justo are part of a violent, far-right, nationalist group that plots to destabilise President Allende’s Socialist government in Chile. When young man-ofaction Gerardo is recruited to their cause, a dangerous love triangle entangles the three with serious repercussions. Nominated for a Goya Award, Chilean director Andrés Wood’s tense and insightful drama peels back the veneer of respectability to reveal the dark side of a contemporary elite.
Mon 9 Mar, 20:40; Thu 19 Mar, 13:00
Intemperie (Out in the Open)
Shot in the Altiplano de Granada, a vast plateau famous for its cave dwellings, the action takes place in 1946, in a dictatorship-era, post-war Spain where the indentured rural poor are used and abused by the landowners, and the model of oppression comes all the way from the top. Benito Zambrano’s film was nominated for five Goya Awards in 2020, including Best Film.
Tue 10 Mar, 18:15 + introduction; Thu 12 Mar, 20:40
El Viaje extraordinario de Celeste García (The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García)
Celeste García, a 60-year-old former schoolteacher and current guide at the Havana Planetarium, is looking for a life change. When a group of aliens land in Cuba offering earthlings a chance to visit their planet, Celeste signs up for the journey hoping for a better and more fulfilling life. With a generous dose of Cuban political allegory, and a magical realist approach to alien landings, a new cult comedy has been born!
Fri 13 Mar, 18:15; Thu 19 Mar, 15:30
El Proyeccionista (The Projectionist)
Eliseo cuts a solitary figure, surrounded by ageing 35mm celluloid film, which he watches and re-watches obsessively. His particular infatuation is with an enticing and mysterious woman in a series of home movies. But when fire damages the precious reels, Eliseo plunges into a desperate search for the object of his desire. El Proyeccionista is director José Maria Cabral’s second film selected to represent the Dominican Republic at the Oscars.
Sat 14 Mar, 18:15; Mon 23 Mar, 20:30
In an isolated stone hut in the snow-capped Peruvian Andes, the elderly Phaxsi and her husband Willka eke out a living far from the modern world. The 96 perfectly framed scenes flow gently like still life paintings, depicting the couple, their animals, and their magnificent mountain homeland. Willka is played by director Óscar Catacora’s real life grandfather, and Phaxsi by a non-professional who had never seen a film before.
Sun 15 Mar, 13:00 + introduction
In Bolivia the indigenous people who blend Aymara and European cultures are known as cholos, or the affectionate feminine diminutive cholitas. After generations of discrimination, the cholitas have proudly reclaimed their name; their distinctive layers of colourful skirts and bowler hats are now seen everywhere from fashion shows to universities, and government ministries to wrestling matches. In this inspirational documentary they are also found climbing the highest peak outside of Asia, the 6962m high Aconcagua in the Argentinian Andes.
Sun 22 Mar, 15:50
Pablo, a 34-year-old blind man, lives in a remote location near the Uruguayan coast, brewing his craft spirits, recording his thoughts on an old cassette player, playing back old tapes, and hanging out with his blind friends Valeria and Óscar. This gentle film about friendship, connection and loss is an opportunity to perceive the world differently and a must-see for fans of alternative cinema!
Wed 25 Mar, 18:15
Nuestras madres (Our Mothers)
Sparked by corrupt military governance in the 1960s, the Guatemalan Civil War lasted over 30 years and claimed more than 200,000 lives, mostly from the indigenous Mayan population. Set in 2018, this powerful fiction feature debut by director César Díaz sees a trial grip the nation as a string of female survivors denounce the military’s atrocities, as a young anthropologist strives to identify the bodies of some of the 40,000 disappeared. Nuestras madres was winner of Golden Camera for Best First Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, and is representing Belgium at the 2020 Oscars.
Thu 26 Mar, 18:15