John Hopewell writes for Variety.com–At a Berlin festival boasting a record-high 60-plus Latin American features in different sections,Telefonica Studios, the Spanish telco giant’s film/TV production arm, and Film Factory, a preeminent Spanish sales company, have boarded one of the highest-profile productions from the Spanish-speaking world: “My Big Night,” the next big comedy from Alex de la Iglesia (“Witching & Bitching”). Telefonica Studios has taken substantial minority equity on “My Big Night”; Vicente Canales’ Film Factory introduces the title, produced by Enrique Cerezo, at Berlin.
Pic stars Spanish crooner Raphael, and goes into production on Feb. 23, aiming for a fall fest berth. Co-written with Jorge Guerricaechevarria, De la Iglesia’s career-long co-scribe, “My Big Night” unspools at a lavish New Year’s Eve TV show, where the frenzied fake bonhomie contrasts with the shoot date – a sweltering mid-August – the participants’ actions and sentiments, and the solitude of the studio’s setting. Raphael plays a sadistic, ratings-chasing diva. Beyond Raphael, “My Big Night” stars Spain’s hot young thesps Mario Casas (“Witching & Bitching”), Hugo Silva (“I’m So Excited”) and Blanca Suarez (“The Skin I Live In”) and “Torrente” director-star Santiago Segura.
Latin Post.com–Mexico is the top performing Spanish-speaking country at the Academy awards, but right behind the nation is Spain. The European country has been nominated 59 times at the biggest awards show in the film industry and has come away with 14 victories. The European giants are going to go home empty in 2015 with no victories, but the country’s performance is so strong at the Oscars that it is worth looking at how well the nation has done.
Spain has seen nominations in all four acting categories, but the big shocker is that all six have come from two actors. Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz have each managed three nominations apiece and both have managed one victory in the supporting categories. Bardem’s first nomination for lead actor came in 2000 for his turn in “Before Night Falls,” making him the first Spanish actor nominated in the category. He would become the first and only Spaniard nominated in the category when he managed a second nomination 10 years later for his turn in “Biutiful.”
Alberto Garcia Alix.com–Each boxing match is a story: a drama without words. Alberto García-Alix´s photographs are also condensed stories, silent but eloquent stories. These are images imbued with a lyricism and stripped of artifice, poetry that always finds a place to settle within the framework: the tension in the foreshortening of a face, the tip of a shoe, a skewered vagina, the body of a bird, fuzzy profiles of a building … Direct poetry that explodes before our eyes with the radiance of a whiplash. A vocational fighter, when García Alix concludes one of his joyful battles with images, there is only one winner standing on the canvas: his glance. A frontal view. A look of fighter. Pure epic.
García-Alix´s technique has evolved toward a meticulous use of black and white. His visual speech is composed in accordance with the maps that his life’s itinerary has sketched out, maps onto which the photographer sketches his mysterious, emotional and compelling artistic cartography. A broad map on which objects and landscapes appear, photographs in which Alberto García-Alix captures the scenes of his own biography: houses, streets, roads and trails open up to infinity. Walls, facades and windows bounded by the camera lens. Open spaces on which his gaze jumps around and becomes introspective until enclosing itself in the four walls of a bare room.
Taking a Spanish art house film comedy and converting it into a West End musical may seem like an act of madness but it is very much in the spirit of the work itself.
Express.co.uk–Although the first try on Broadway tanked, the writers have given it a total overhaul for its London debut and made a pretty good job of it. The stage version detaches itself from Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 film but it retains the comic delirium and the title’s premise. Four women all in various stages of meltdown congregate in the apartment of Pepa, an ageing actress and voiceover artist whose married lover has just left her for a younger model.
Tamsin Greig is wonderfully cast as Pepa, combining the split–second timing of a professional comic with the intelligence of an actress on the verge of a major breakthrough. Her singing voice is powerful with a strident edge that may not get chairs spinning around on The Voice but is entirely appropriate for the role. Haydn Gwynne as the philanderer’s wife Lucia is every bit her equal, albeit with a better singing voice and a wonderful series of costumes which range from an ocelot coat and hat to a pink number and white patent boots.
Lorena Muñoz Alonso writes for Artnet.com–Next summer, the Spanish city of Marbella will offer more than its usual sunny beaches, yacht parties, and luxury shopping opportunities. An art fair is about to hit town. The inaugural edition of Art Marbella will kick-off on July 30—and it’s already calling itself “the most important event of contemporary art in South Europe.”
The venture, set to gather 50 international galleries, is the brainchild of Alejandro Zaia, the Argentinian co-founder of the Latin American modern and contemporary art fairs PINTA New York (which relocated to Miami in its last edition), and PINTA London. Despite tapping the booming Latin American art market, PINTA London has tended to underperform, and there are rumors that it might be discontinued.
But Zaia has already found sunnier pastures, and has enlisted a curatorial committee—including Omar López-Chahoud, founder and director of the Miami art fair UNTITLED, and María Chiara Valacchi, director of Milan’s non-profit Spazio Cabinet—to help him with the fair’s first edition.
A portrait of the Spanish royal family which took two decades to complete has been officially unveiled at the Royal Palace in Madrid.
BBC.com–Artist Antonio Lopez, known for his meticulous approach to work, says the painting took so long because he’s used to working on several pieces at once. “I wouldn’t want you to think I’m lazy”, he jokes in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais. The life-size canvas shows former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia with their children, King Felipe VI and Princesses Elena and Christina.
The painter hasn’t quite caught up with the royal family’s most recent changes, so Queen Letizia doesn’t feature. Mr Lopez says he never felt any pressure from the royals while painting, and that they just asked to be “portrayed like a Spanish family. Nothing more”. But he admits that while the criteria and composition didn’t change much over the years, he did get “stuck for a while on the clothes”.
Renowned Spanish Surrealist Artist Was a Piece of Work
Alison Ribeiro de Menezes writes for The Conversation.com–Catalonia seems to have finally pardoned Salvador Dalí. Its gesture? To name a public square after the infamous surrealist. Spain has recently been paying considerable attention to the names of its streets and squares. The Spanish urbanscape tends to be littered with the names of the country’s heroes and (less frequently) heroines. And their fortunes of course rise and fall with the inevitable shifts of historical perspective and historical memory.
One such shift is occurring at present, with various civic groups and websites on the hunt for echoes of the Franco past, outing topographic names, monuments and public inscriptions and calling for their renaming. And various historical figures are being re-evaluated – as with Barcelona’s promise finally to honour Salvador Dalí. Spaniards, Catalans, Basques, and Galicians are very conscious of the ways in which their built environment records and memorialises history.
Specialists to debate authenticity of controversial painting at conference in Seville
Belen Palanco for The Art Newspaper.com–For more than a century, The Education of the Virgin was believed to be the work of an unknown 17th-century Spanish artist and was kept in storage. But in 2004, the painting owned by Yale University was examined by a young curator, John Marciari, now the head of drawings at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum, who attributed it to Velázquez.
He published his findings in 2010 and scholars have argued about the attribution ever since. The foremost dissenter is Jonathan Brown, a professor of art at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, who is considered the top authority on Velázquez in the US. Now the specialists will battle it out at a symposium in Seville (15-17 October) sponsored by the Spanish bank Santander, which has paid for the work to be restored.
It was donated to Yale in 1925 by two alumni, sons of a US merchant sailor whose ships often travelled to Spain. The work is due to be shown in Madrid (Sala de Arte de la Fundación Santander, until 8 October) and Seville (Espacio Santa Clara, 15 October-15 January), in an exhibition that includes loans from the Grand Palais in Paris, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Yale University Art Gallery.
This year is the 400th anniversary of El Greco’s death but his works can feel shockingly modern. Jason Farago examines how his works influenced Manet, Cézanne, Picasso and Pollock.
BBC.com–Few artists stick out from the standard tale of western painting more pointedly than El Greco, the great outlier of the late 16th Century. Deeply religious, passionately single-minded, he merged the art traditions of three different countries and found his own unsettling painterly language, one that took a very long time to find its most receptive audience.
Flip through the pages of a textbook or wander through the permanent collection of a major museum and you can sometimes fool yourself that art history is a clear and predictable progression, one style and one century inevitably giving way to the next. But art history, we know, isn’t nearly so simple, and El Greco, like few other painters, gives the great delight of seeing that story disrupted and contradicted.
La Prensa.com–Los Angeles, Oct 17 (EFE).- The movie “Vivir es facil con los ojos cerrados” (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, 2013) opened the 20th edition of the Recent Spanish Cinema festival in Los Angeles, a showcase of Spanish film and which marked the start of the Oscar race for the film by director David Trueba. It is among the 83 contenders for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards contest which officially kicked off Monday with winners announced on February 22 next year.
“It is always a mess. It’s better to be inside than outside, its like the World Cup final, its better to play it than watch it on TV,” Trueba told Efe Thursday on the red carpet outside Hollywood’s iconic Egyptian Theater just 500 meters (500 yards) from the Dolby theater where the golden statuettes are presented every year.