In a year when four Spanish titles made the shortlist for the Academy Award best live action short and illustrious short filmmakers have or are making the transition from to feature – think Estibaliz Urresola with “Cuerdas,· now Berlin winner “20,000 Species of Bees” and now Pedro Martín-Calero with “The Wailing,” starring Ester Expósito – Malaga’s Mafiz-Spanish Screenings has launched a Short Film Corner.
Following, five standout shorts from a dizzying selection of 58 titles, which are accompanied by round tables and presentations at an immediately fully-fledged major new section at the Malaga Festival and Spanish Screenings.
“Mourn,” (Marc Borràs)
Inspired by Johnna Adams’ play “Gideon’s Knot,” “Mourn” (“Duelo”) revolves around a classroom meeting between a troubled teacher (Àngels López) and an angry and mourning mother (Sandra Molins) who blames her for a seemingly avoidable tragedy. Molins and López’s intense and emotional performances result in a powerful and agonizing confrontation. From Barcelona-based Borràs, a must video and shoots director (“Neon Moths”).
“Mussol,” (Juanjo Giménez)
In Giménez’s “Mussol”– “owl” in Catalan – a hapless and seemingly disturbed real estate agent struggles with his career and possibly his own mental health while trying to care for his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother in a darkly funny, highly accomplished and polished work that keeps viewers enthralled but clueless about what exactly is happening. The latest from Jiménez whose Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Timecode,” nominated for a 2017 Academy Award, is still regarded as one of the best of recent Spanish shorts.
“Nivel Dios,” (César Tormo)
A zeal for the Lord and a devastating crush, both adolescent and unrequited, rip through the scenes as young outcast Laura comes to terms with her lust for the school’s religion professor in actor-director César Tormo’s eighth short film “Nivel Dios.” The blissful and bizarre commentary on divine intervention utilizes high-camp and a retro aesthetic to add alluring texture and context to the unconventional, mischievous dark comedy.
“Nivel Dios” Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival
“O,” (Maria Monreal Otano)
Even in her Jaén village Maria de la O stands out like a piece of antique furniture in a modern room. Her life, even sexuality, still revolves around preserving the legacy of her deceased husband, patriarch Paco, embodied in his olive tree grove, even if it kills her. The ending may seem forced, even comic, but is very much to thematic point. Directed and written (Maria Gómez-Juárez) by women and mark of a female-led cinema increasingly sweeping Spain.
“O” Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival
“Pisanka” (Jorge Yúdice, Spain)
When old friends Erica and Anna reunite for a mid-day coffee, Erika reveals her commune with unseen apparitions and as the conversation unfolds a menacing and lingering figure will lead to the reveal of a profound secret. With sustained tension, intimate framing and a haunting score, multi-faceted screenwriter and director Jorge Yúdice both stuns and ignites a deep, uninterrupted curiosity with Fescora award-winner, “Pisanka.”
“Pisanka” Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival