“Spanish Masters of Cinema” at the Clark

For Immediate Release

June 03, 2010

June 3, 2010
For Immediate Release

“Spanish Masters of Cinema” is the Clark’s Summer Film Series

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – In a summer when the Clark is featuring the work of two great Spanish artists, its “Spanish Masters of Cinema” film series, June 18 through August 27, will look at the work of six acclaimed Spanish directors. In the long history of Spanish filmmaking, the great director Luis Buñuel was the first to achieve universal recognition, followed by Pedro Almodóvar in the 1980s. More recently Spanish cinema has achieved high marks from critics and filmgoers alike as a result of its creative and technical excellence, notably Guillermo del Toro’s Academy-Award-winning 2006 masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth, the final film in the six-part series. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles and will be shown free of charge on selected Fridays at 4 pm in the Clark auditorium.

The film series will open on June 18, with the Luis Buñuel classic Viridiana (1962, 91 minutes). During his university studies in Madrid, Buñuel befriended fellow student artists, surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and poet Federico García Lorca, and disturbing and surreal images became Buñuel’s cinematic trademark. He returned to Spain from Mexican exile and was immediately banned for this scathing cinematic satire, which won the top prize at Cannes and eventually was hailed as a sacrilegious masterpiece, with its parody of the Last Supper as portrayed by venal peasants and beggars.

Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, 98 minutes), July 2, is widely considered to be the best Spanish film of the 1970s. Director Erice takes a mesmerizing child’s eye view in this enigmatic, allegorical film that paints a critical portrait of rural Spain in the 1940s after Franco’s victory in the Civil War. Ana Torrent became a sensation as the little girl haunted by visions of Frankenstein’s monster after seeing Boris Karloff in the role.

Carlos Saura’s exhilarating Carmen (1983, 101 minutes), July 16, mixes magical choreography, rousing flamenco dancing and operatic flourishes that reference Bizet’s masterwork. He explores the tale by presenting a modern ensemble of musicians and dancers rehearsing a flamenco interpretation of the Carmen story with choreographer Antonio Gades. During the course of rehearsals, the plot of the production and reality become inextricably and tragically intertwined.

On July 30, Pedro Almodóvar’s Oscar-winning film, All About My Mother (1999, 106 minutes), follows Cecilia Roth as a mother who tries to cope with the death of her teenage son by seeking out the boy’s transvestite father. Along the way she reconnects with old friends who re-enfold her into a community of women that the director always celebrates. Almodóvar is one of the most internationally acclaimed Spanish film directors working today and is best known for his use of melodrama, improbable circumstances, and a sophisticated use of kitsch.

On August 13, the moving and thought-provoking Oscar-winning film The Sea Inside (2004, 126 minutes), by director Alejandro Amenábar, is based on the real-life story of Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), a Spanish ship mechanic left quadriplegic after a diving accident. Sampedro fought a 28-year campaign in support of euthanasia and his right to end his own life. He was not able to get the court to rule in his favor, but he did end his life.

The series will conclude on August 27 with Guillermo del Toro’s acclaimed film, Pan's Labyrinth (2006, 112 minutes). Del Toro reprises many of the themes of the “Spanish Masters of Cinema” series in this spellbinding story of a young girl who escapes from the realities of wartime Fascist Spain into a realm of fantasy. Taking nearly two years to make, this critically acclaimed "adult fairy tale" became the highest grossing Spanish film in U.S. box office history and won three Academy Awards for Best Makeup, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography.

The Clark’s “Spanish Masters of Cinema” will be shown in conjunction with the museum’s summer exhibitions, Picasso Looks at Degas, on view June 13 through September 12, and Juan Muñoz, on view June 13 through October 17.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

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