Focus on Spain: four films to catch at EIFF

Focus on Spain: four films to catch at EIFF

The Hidden City

Edinburgh International Film Festival places a focus on Spanish cinema for its 73rd edition

The Edinburgh International Film Festival returns this year with a wide range of choices for film enthusiasts. Running from Wed 19–Sun 30 Jun around the culturally-vibrant capital city, the festival promises to offer great sights along the way of cinema's exciting journey.

With a vision to inspire innovation, integrity and inclusivity, the EIFF annually chooses a country focus, with the spotlight this year being on Spain. The festival not only showcases recent films, but travels back in time to applaud contributions made to Spanish cult cinema, as well as the significant work of director Icíar Bollaín.

The selection of films below is by no means exhaustive, but is a passage through the labyrinths of the underground world. It then emerges into the light, revealing the perplexities of human relationships fantastically mapped on journeys for the survival of art and the self.

The Hidden City (La ciudad oculta)

The absence of light is not emptiness; it is a richly textured darkness. This is what director Victor Morena seeks to impart on his audience as he guides them through the labyrinth of the underground world. Piquing the interest of the senses through an exploration of darkness, rather than a exultation of light, Morena navigates through the network of passages, tunnels, galleries, rivers, transportation lines and machinery breathing beneath Madrid. From this, the audience is given an experience of a parallel reality without actually leaving the parameters of the built world as we know it.
Filmhouse 3, Fri 28 Jun, 8.10pm; Odeon 3, Sat 29 Jun, 3.50pm.

Notes for a Heist Film (Apuntes para una película de atracos)

As director León Siminiani weaves between fiction and documentary, he chronicles his unlikely friendship with heist mastermind Flako, 'The Robin Hood of Vallecas'. This story emerges from Siminiani's ambition to make a heist film, and so he contacts the masked and imprisoned leader of the sewer gang that navigated Madrid's sewers and underground passages to access banks. The relationship of the watcher and the watched sets the foundation for a film that draws on the sub-genre of heist thrillers, and the personal lives of both the director and the incarcerated.
Filmhouse, Mon 24 Jun, 5.45pm; Vue Omni, Wed 26 Jun, 8.45pm.

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of The Turtles (Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas)

In Paris, 1930, surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel and his friend and benefactor Ramón Acín, find themselves on a journey to create Buñuel's second film, Las Hurdes, following a stroke of financial luck. Director Salvador Simó designedly uses the medium of animation, playing with Buñuel's own footage, to enter the creative reality and imagination of the master surrealist as he creates his documentary on an impoverished human existence. Winner of a Special Jury Prize at Los Angeles' Animation Is Film Festival.
Odeon 2, Sat 29 Jun, 6.10pm; Vue Omni, Sun 30 Jun, 11.10am.

Cages (Jaulas)

Cages (Jaulas) tells the story of the harsh reality of a mother (Estefanía de los Santos) and daughter (Marta Gavilán) escaping their life of abuse by travelling through Andalusia, meeting a vibrant tapestry of characters along the way. Nicolás Pacheco chooses this traumatic narrative to drive a strong message of fatalism and power, but balances this with his use of fantasy and realism, together with cheeky comedy, to sustain the hope of love and second chances.
Odeon 3, Thu 27 Jun, 6.20pm; Odeon 2, Sun 30 Jun, 1.40pm.

Edinburgh International Film Festival, various venues, Edinburgh, Wed 19–Sun 30 Jun. Full programme available at

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The oldest continually running film festival in the world, the EIFF draws on its prestige to consistently present abundant programmes of new features, documentaries, retrospectives, shorts, panel discussions and educational workshops, with a few high profile premieres thrown in for good measure.