HOME’s ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival returns for its 28th outing this Spring, promising a cinematic voyage across countries, continents and genre. The festival has always been about discovery and adventure, allowing intrepid cinemagoers first look at some of the finest films in the Spanish language. Back in a fully in-person format, this year’s edition brings with it 19 new feature films, including a plethora of UK cinema premieres, alongside two classic comedies from Spanish maestro Luis García Berlanga.
As per tradtion, ¡Viva!’s opening night is a feelgood crowdpleaser — this time in the form of Nacho Álvarez’s musical romcom Explota explota (My Heart Goes Boom!), which features the greatest hits of 1970s Italian superstar Raffaella Carrà. The director will introduce the opening night screening on Friday 18 March, and participate in an audience Q&A following a second screening on 19 March.
There are more guests too. On 23 March Icíar Bollaín will present her award-winning, based-on-true-events new film Maixabel. Clara Roquet’s coming of age film Libertad will be accompanied by a Q&A with lead actress Maria Monero on 31 March, while the 29 March screening of Manu Gómez’s semi-autobiographical Basque Country drama Érase una vez en Euskadi (Once Upon a Time in Euskadi), will have the director in attendance.
there are plenty of brand new features showing across the festival, including seven UK premieres
As mentioned, there are plenty of brand new features showing across the festival, including seven UK premieres. Amongst these are two new films from Columbia: Joan Gómez Endara’s road movie El Árbol rojo (The Red Tree) charts a spectacular journey from the Caribbean coast through the lush mountains up to Bogotá; while Henry Rincón’s La Ciudad de las fieras (The City of Wild Beasts) is a coming-of-age tale set in the violent barrio of Medellín.
From Peru comes Contactado (Contactee), which is billed as an intriguing dive into the weird and wonderful world of cults and conspiracies surrounding the city of Lima. Then there’s Gabriel Matías Lichtmann’s Estrella roja (The Red Star). This new mockumentary depicts an alleged Jewish spy operating in 1930s Argentina.
Of course, with 21 films included in the programme, there’s likely something to suit all tastes. From Mexican actress turned writer/director Ángeles Cruz, comes Nudo mixteco, which interweaves three stories of indigenous women from the Oaxaca region. Or how about Félix Juan Pablo’s Karnawal, a Carnival-set drama following a rebellious teenager with a talent for dancing the malambo?
In addition to the films, regular ¡Viva! events such as free Café Cervantes Spanish-language get-together, and bespoke study session, the Language Lab, help broaden the scope of the festival and emphasise the real social side of this mammoth celebration of Spanish and Latin American cultures.