This film series showcases masterpieces directed by four of Spain’s most internationally acclaimed filmmakers. The films won top awards in prestigious film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, San Sebastián) and have become classics.
With a yearly output of around 200 features, Spain today is one of the top ten film-producing countries in the world. But from the 1950s to 1975 (the year of Franco’s death), cinema suffered from the repressive political and social conditions that prevailed in Spain. Defying and circumventing censorship, Spanish filmmakers of the period managed to create work of astonishing quality. Their work planted the seeds for the creative explosion in Spanish film from the late 1970s until now.
Screenings are free and open to the public. Each includes a brief introduction and discussion with a prominent scholar.
- Friday, March 2
Death of a Cyclist (La muerte de un ciclista) (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955)
Introduction and Q&A with Isolina Ballesteros, associate professor, Baruch College, CUNY
Death of a Cyclist is a groundbreaking movie that won the prestigious Critics Award at the Cannes Film Festival, a first for Spain. Depicting the aftermath of a traffic accident, the film offers a scathing depiction of intellectual repression and corruption.
Future screenings include:
- Friday, March 9
The Executioner (Luis García Berlanga, 1963)
Introduction and Q&A with David Rodríguez-Solás, visiting assistant professor, Bard College
The Executioner is a hilarious black comedy depicting the tribulations of a retiring executioner and his family. It won the prestigious Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival, was voted the second-best Spanish movie (after Buñuel’s Viridiana) and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
- Friday, March 30
The Hunt (La caza) (Carlos Saura, 1966)
Introduction and Q&A with Paul Julian Smith, FBA, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, CUNY
Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival, The Hunt explores class relations, generational conflicts, war, brutality, and power through the metaphor of the hunt.
- Friday, April 6
The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena) (Víctor Erice, 1973)
Introduction and Q&A with Linda Ehrlich, associate professor, Case Western Reserve University
The Spirit of the Beehive addresses internal exile, intellectual sterility, emotional isolation, and family relationships through the eyes of a child. It is a poetic movie of spellbinding power that established Erice as one of the most sensitive filmmakers in Europe.
This series is organized and curated by film scholar Helio San Miguel.