Miami International Film Festival Hosts Recent Cinema From Spain Fest

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This year marks the inaugural Recent Cinema From Spain Festival, and with Spain's Goya Awards (the Spanish version of the Oscars, except without any grating Billy Crystal musical numbers) celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Miami International Film Festival and the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts are about to help you get your independent film awesomeness on, Spanish-style.

Tonight through Sunday, the Gusman Center's Olympia Theater will host red-carpet events, hold question-and-answer sessions with the actors and filmmakers, and screen seven new flicks from Spain. Among them are the Goya Award-winning Black Bread and the Western "sequel" Blackthorn.

Black Bread (Pa Negre):
Things kick off opening night with Agustí

Villaronga's Goya Award winner and Spain's official submission to the

2012 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Set in a Catalan

countryside in 1944, the action unfolds when a mysterious hooded

stranger murders a man and his son and then throws their horse-drawn

carriage over a cliff with the horse still attached (our hooded friend

is nothing if not thorough). Ten-year-old Andreu stumbles upon the

bodies in the woods. His father, a supporter of Generalissimo Francisco

Franco, is unjustly fingered as the culprit.

While his father is on the

lam, Andreu is sent to live with relatives, when he befriends Nuria, a

girl who lost her hand in a grenade explosion, and a boy he meets in the

woods who believes he has angel's wings. Andreu finds escape with his

new friends while discovering some dark family secrets along the way.

With tinges of the supernatural intertwined with the tried-and-true

wartime-movie formula of a kid coming of age during armed conflict

(think Pan's Labyrinth meets Empire of the Sun), Black Bread is a

gripping film told with rich acting and textured cinematography.

See it 7:30 p.m. Thursday;in Catalan with English subtitles. Tickets

include a gift bag, a welcome cocktail, and a Q&A session with

producer Isona Passola.

Blackthorn (Sin Destino):
If you've ever found yourself saying, "Hmm, I

wonder if Butch survived that," after the iconic climax of the 1969 Paul

Newman/Robert Redford Western classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance

Kid, this is the film for you. Director Mateo Gil's highly anticipated

Blackthorn supposes that Butch survived the Bolivian army ambush, has

grown old living in exile, and is looking to return home after all these

years. Sam Shepard puts on an understated and beguiling performance

stepping into some insanely huge boots as Newman's aged Butch Cassidy.

Traversing through the Bolivian wilderness on his way back home, Butch

(who now goes by the name James Blackthorn) is inadvertently thrust into

one last go-round when he encounters a young Sundance Kid-like robber

named Eduardo, who happens to be on the run from a posse. Those posses --

always getting in the way of Butch's plans! All the while, a man who

chased Butch into Bolivia 20 years ago has discovered that the old

gunslinger is still alive.

See it 6:45 p.m. Saturday; English and Spanish. Tickets include a Q&A with the director.

The festival will also feature the following films:

  • Cousinhood (Primos) is a story about one man's harrowing journey to

    rekindle the relationship with the woman who left him at the altar, only

    to discover a little surprise that complicates matters. 9:45 p.m.

    Friday, October 21; Spanish with English subtitles.

  • Pedro Armendáriz's heartbreaking Don't Be Afraid (No Tengas Miedo)

    examines the long-term psychological effects on abused children. 6:45

    Friday, October 21; Spanish with English subtitles.

  • In Pau Freixas's Stand by Me-like Forever Young (Héroes), a man

    reminisces about his childhood in the '80s. 4 p.m. Saturday, October 22.

  • Three Meters Above the Sky (Tres Metros Sobre el Cielo) is a charming

    Romeo and Juliet-inspired romantic comedy about an upper-middle-class

    girl who falls for a rebellious, motorcycle-riding boy. 9:45 p.m.

    Saturday, October 22; Spanish with English subtitles.

  • The festival will close with the revenge thriller Five Square Meters

    (Cinco Metros Cuadrados). 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 23; Spanish with

    English subtitles.

Brought to you by the Miami International Film Festival.

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