Spanish film

1970-2000: the ten Spanish films you need to watch

Spanish cinema didn’t have the blockbuster names of Hollywood in the final three decades of the 20th century, but it did produce some classic films. Before the likes of Volver and Pan’s Labyrinth threw the international spotlight on Spanish cinema, a clutch of talented directors kickstarted the nation’s taste for liberal escapism.

  • Jamon Jamon (Bigas Luna 1992)
    Penelope Cruz stars in Luna’s dark comedy about a bizarre love triangle and death by salted pork products.
  • El Espíritu de la Colmena (Victor Erice 1973)
    ‘The Spirit of the Beehive’, Erice’s powerful comment of the futility and destruction of the Spanish Civil War, is perhaps most notable because of the performance of six-year-old Ana Torrent.
  • Los Santos Inocentes (Mario Camus 1984)
    Peasant abuse in 1960s Spain from a master of social realism.
  • Amantes (Vicente Aranda 1991)
    The Barcelona School old boy scored a huge hit with a titillating love triangle flick.
  • Belle Epoque (Fernando Trueba 1992)
    A period love story that alerted the world to the new potential of Spanish cinema.
  • La Ardilla roja (Julio Medem 1993)
    Amnesia-related brilliance from the premier Basque film-maker.
  • Flamenco (Carlos Saura 1995)
    Revealing flamenco documentary from the old fox of Spanish cinema.
  • El Día de la bestia (Álex de la Iglesia 1996)
    Highbrow it ain’t, but the Spanish go mad for Iglesia’s mix of humour and horror.

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