ISMAEL
2013, 106 min, Spain, Dir: Marcelo Piñeyro

With a return address on an envelope his only guide, 8-year-old Ismael (Larsson do Amaral) runs away to Barcelona in search of his estranged father (Mario Casas) but finds instead a grandmother (Belén Rueda) who hadn’t known of Ismael’s existence. As in his earlier KAMCHATKA, Piñeyro displays a sure hand with young actors and serious subjects, and this tale of family reconciliation is both touching and frequently funny. In Spanish with English subtitles.


WITCHING AND BITCHING
LAS BRUJAS DE ZUGARRAMURDI
2013, IFC Midnight, 112 min, Spain, Dir: Álex de la Iglesia

On the run after a botched robbery, three hapless crooks (Hugo Silva, Mario Casas and Jaime Ordóñez) take refuge in a Basque village run by a family of witches. Like de la Iglesia’s earlier THE DAY OF THE BEAST, this kinetic horror-comedy bursts with energy, wild imagery and a couple of jaw-dropping action sequences. In Spanish with English subtitles.


I WANT YOU
TENGO GANAS DE TI
2012, 124 min, Spain, Dir: Fernando González Molina

In this sequel to THREE STEPS ABOVE HEAVEN, Hache (Mario Casas) is back in his native Spain following two years in London. After his best friend Pollo (Alvaro Cervantes) dies and his girlfriend Babi (Maria Valverde) leaves, the young man struggles with loss until he meets Gin (Clara Lago), a photographer, singer, dancer and all-around wild-child with whom he falls in love. Adapted from a Moccia novel like its predecessor, this teen melodrama employs striking visuals, epic music and great editing as it juggles sex, violence and motorcycles, with Casas’ engrossing performance as the rebel Hache tying it all together. A major box office hit in Spain. In Spanish with English subtitles.


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