This just in! The programme has been revealed for this year’s Spanish Film Festival. In added news, Salma Hayek will be opening the festival this year to celebrate it’s 15th anniversary. Opening the festival is AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT – starring Hayek – with SLEEP TIGHT closing the event. Films from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Perú will also be screened.
Head over to spanishfilmfestival.com for more info!
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT (La chispa de la vida, Spain 2011)
CAPTAIN THUNDER AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Capitan Trueno y el Santo Grial, Spain 2011)
CHINESE TAKE AWAY (Un cuento chino, Argentina/Spain 2011)
COUSINHOOD (Primos, Spain 2010)
DARK IMPULSE (Lo major de Eva, Spain 2011)
EXPIRATION DATE (Fecha de Caducidad, Mexico 2011)
FISHERMAN (Pescador, Ecuador/Colombia 2011)
MADRID, 1987 (Spain, 2011)
MY FIRST WEDDING (Mi Primera Boda, Argentina 2011)
NO REST FOR THE WICKED (No habra paz para los malvados, Spain 2011)
SAVING PRIVATE PEREZ (Salvando al Soldado Perez, Mexico 2011)
SIX POINTS ABOUT EMMA (Seis puntos sobre Emma, Spain 2012)
SLEEP TIGHT (Mientras duermes, Spain 2011)
SNOWFLAKE, THE WHITE GORILLA (Copito de Nieve, Spain 2011)
STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT (Extraños en la noche, Argentina 2012)
THE BAD INTENTIONS (Las malas intenciones, Perú/Arg./Ger. 2011)
THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE (Lo contrario al amor, Spain 2011)
TORRENTE 4 (Spain 2011)
UNIT 7 (Grupo 7, Spain 2012)
WIDOWS (Viudas, Argentina, 2011)
WINNING STREAK (The Pelayos, Spain 2012)
WRINKLES (Arrugas, Spain 2011)
Sydney 4 – 15 July Palace Norton Street & The Chauvel
Melbourne 5 – 15 July Palace Cinema Como & Kino Cinemas
Brisbane 11 – 22 July Palace Centro
Adelaide 12 – 22 July Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
Perth 19 – 26 July Cinema Paradiso
“Chinese Take Away” (“Un cuento chino”) by Ivette Fred-Rivera
“Chinese Take Away” (“Un cuento chino” in Spanish) is a comedy written and directed by Sebastián Borensztein, and winner of the international awards of Best Film by the public at the Festival in Rome and Best Latin American Film at the Goya Awards, both in 2011. It is the third time that excellent Argentinian actor Ricardo Darín stars in a film of Borensztein, the other two, Oscar winning “The secret in their eyes” and Oscar nominated “The Son of the Bride”.
The title in Spanish is curious because a Chinese story means a story improbable, incredible, I think because it’s a place so far away, that we cannot believe, how do we know if China exist?
The film opens in Fucheng, China, in Hebei province —we can enjoy the already well-known beauty of the Chinese landscape— when a Chinese man, Jun (Ignacio Huang), takes his girlfriend on a boat trip on a picturesque lake surrounded by mountains to propose to her when a cow falls from the sky, killing Jun’s girlfriend. Ironically, what falls from the sky is usually a sign of good luck in Latin America.
A reverse shot makes the transition to hardware “De Cesare” in Buenos Aires, Argentina because it is going around the world. In the beginning, Roberto (Ricardo Darín) shows that theft is a string, a trader sells him fewer screws per box and he sells his client less per pound. But as Mari (Muriel Santa Ana) explains, Roberto, although suffered, is noble. A chance encounter in the street prompts Roberto to help Jun. Roberto sees Jun being expelled from a taxi after being robbed while he was watching the landing of airplanes in the airport. The toy plane flying inside of Roberto’s car takes him to China.
It is the story of Roberto and Jun brought together in Buenos Aires where Jun goes in search of his only living relative. For the Chinese, even in the diaspora, the family is sacred, as it is stipulated by Confucianism ancient texts. Jun insists on finding his uncle to start a new life after his tragedy. Both Jun and Roberto are orphans, but Jun has insisted that his tapo (uncle) is his family.
Though Roberto’s life is totally dominated by repetition, he is fascinated with coincidence. Roberto collects quirky news from around the world and permutes the characters with the people he knows in his imagination, taking revenge on their enemies as Dante did in the “Divine Comedy”.
Through the stylish Chinese food delivery guy – looking like the Chinese youth dressed in the cities in China, very modern —who serves as a translator, Roberto explains to Jun that life is absurd, does not have any sense, and shows the news he had collected, including one about some men stealing cows in China with a plane and how a group of peasants follows and shoots the plane in flight, the plane’s back door is opened, and two cows are dropped, one of them killing a girlfriend in a boat, who happens to be Jun’s, as the translator then explains to Roberto. On the other hand, for Jun, everything in life has meaning. It all makes sense. The absurd is for those who can’t understand meaning.
Very touching the drawing Jun makes for Roberto before he departs to meet his tapo with a frontal cow head on the wall that he had repaired and cleaned. He is an artist who worked painting toys in China. Jun draw it with what was left of a pencil that Roberto discarded. The Chinese are very resourceful people, indeed. No waste, the most hardworking people in the world.
I liked the film very much because it is a proof of the universality of body language. In China itself, being so vast, there are several languages in the different regions, that’s why Jun is not understood by the Chinese he met in Chinatown. However, when he talks on the phone with his uncle in Chinese, we understand perfectly what he is saying because of the depiction of emotion. Language is really a matter of our genuine interest to understand each Other. I have just returned from China, I can assure you that.