• Penélope Cruz in 'Broken Embraces' (2009) (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Celebrate the return of the Spanish Film Festival with this muy excelente movie selection available at SBS On Demand.
SBS Movies

21 Apr 2017 - 4:35 PM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2017 - 4:35 PM


Ireland, Cuba, 2015
Genre: Drama
Language: Spanish
Director: Paddy Breathnach
Starring: Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, Luis Alberto García
What's it about?
A young Cuban hairdresser works in Havana's vibrant drag clubs, helping the ladies transform. Just when it looks like he might make the jump on stage himself, his estranged father Angel is released from prison, and the two soon clash as they struggle to understand each other. One of the highlights of the Sydney Film Festival last year, Viva is a special one; a heartwarming story of performance and survival.


Bombón: El Perro

Argentina, Spain, 2004
Genre: Drama
Language: Spanish
Director: Carlos Sorin
Starring: Juan Villegas, Walter Donado, Rosa Valsecchi
What's it about?
Coco is a broke craftsman living in a cramped apartment with his daughter and her children, but his life is turned around when he comes to the aid of a stranded woman, and her family repays his kindness with a pure bred Argentinian dog. When an enthusiastic dog trainer encourages him to look to dog shows and breeding programs as a path to good fortune, Coco thinks he may finally get a chance at a better life. A simple, touching road movie with endearing characters (played by non-professional actors), which should also delight dog lovers.

Bombón: El Perro: A quiet and understated masterpiece


Tony Manero

Chile, 2008
Genre: Drama, Crime
Director: Pablo Larrain
Starring: Alfredo Castro, Amparo Noguera, Héctor Morales
What's it about?
Set Santiago in 1978, against a backdrop of fear, repression and persecution under the nefarious rule of military dictator Augusto Pinochet, a John Travolta-obsessed sociopath goes to extreme lengths to mimic his Saturday Night Fever hero. The at times brutally black humour of Pablo Larrain’s offbeat psycho-thriller character study makes for an uncomfortably engaging, retro-themed oddity; you’ll laugh, perhaps in spite of yourself, and you’ll cringe at Castro’s masterful grasp of Machiavellian self-interest.



Spain, Mexico, 2010
Genre: Drama
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Javier Bardem, Eduard Fernández, Ruben Ochandiano
What's it about?
A showcase for its star, Spanish actor Javier Bardem. This drama from director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Babel, The Revenant) sees Uxbal, a petty criminal in Barcelona, attempt to make amends for his life, after being told by his doctor that he is suffering from a terminal disease. Acutely observed, and unsparing in its depiction of immigrant life in western Europe, this bleak story is given real emotional weight by Bardem’s remarkable performance, which earned him a Best Actor award in Cannes and an Oscar nomination.

Bardem plays Biutiful on- and off-screen
Biutiful Review
SBS On Demand: Javier Bardem double bill



Chile, 2012
Genre: Drama
Language: Spanish
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Starring: Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernández, Hugo Moraga
What's it about?
Actress Paulina García throws her all into playing Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcée and empty nester who is determined to defy old age and loneliness by hitting the singles scene and living life to the fullest. When she meets Rodolfo, an ex-naval officer seven years her senior, she starts believing it might lead to something more. This gorgeous Chilean drama offers a convincing and original account of the older dating scene, and though not a comedy, ensures plenty of laughs.

Gloria: Sebastián Lelio interview
Why You Should Watch: Gloria
Gloria Review
Gloria: Pauline Garcia interview 



Spain, 2014
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Language: Spanish, Turkish
Director: Alberto Rodríguez
Starring: Raul Arevalo, Javier Gutierrez, Antonio de la Torre
What's it about?
This award-winning neo-noir, set in 1980's Spain's deep South, evokes Cary Fukanaga's True Detectives in its moody gothic atmosphere, its stylish cinematography, and its mismatched pair of cops. Indeed, detectives Juan and Pedro couldn't have more different visions of the world, but when they are assigned to solve a series of brutal murders of adolescent girls, they must put aside their differences and hunt down the killer before more young women lose their lives. The investigation sends them to the backwaters of Andalusia, where fascism still looms five years after Franco's death.



Peru, 2009
Genre: Drama
Director: Javier Fuentes-León
Starring: Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo, Manolo Cardona
What's it about?
Taking place on the picture postcard beach of a tiny Peruvian village, writer/director Javier Fuentes-León’s achingly beautiful Undertow is a haunting queer love story of secret desire and repression. Miguel (Cristian Mercado), a young fisherman, is expecting his first child with his wife, while secretly mourning the drowning death of his lover, painter Santiago (Manolo Cardona). As Miguel struggles to keep it together, he is repeatedly visited by Santiago’s spirit as he hunts for the missing body. Prepare yourself to shed a tear or two.

SBS On Demand: Top 10 Weepies


The Secret in Their Eyes

Argentina, 2009
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Juan José Campanella
Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
What's it about?
A retired federal agent Benjamín Espósito (played by Argentina's biggest star Ricardo Darín, The Aura) decides to write a novel based on an unresolved homicide case he investigated 25 years earlier. He hopes to find closure for his failure in the investigation and for the unrequited love of his old boss - both of which still haunt him. This fascinating movie, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, was recently remade in the USA with Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman.

The Secret in Their Eyes Review
Top 5 Spanish Films of All Time


Broken Embraces

Spain, 2009
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Romance
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar, Blanca Portillo
What's it about?
The Spanish auteur lays bare his love of cinema in this visually stunning and engrossing noir melodrama, which on the surface tells the story of Mateo Blanco, a blind filmmaker, who upon learning of the death of one of his former financiers, stars recalling the past when, fourteen years ago, he lost his sight and the love of his life in a terrible car accident. Almodovar's muse Penelope Cruz gives here one of her finest performances as aspiring actress Lena.


The Orphanage

Spain, 2007
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring: Belen Rueda, Mabel Rivera, Roger Princep
What's it about?
In this refreshing take on the "haunted house" genre, a troubled woman, Laura (Belén Rueda, The Sea Inside), opens an an orphanage for handicapped children in the childhood home she's just returned to with her family. Before long, an eerie sense of fear begins to set in, as things are revealed to be not quite as they seem. This gothic, atmospheric movie will haunt you long after you finished watching it.

Watch trailer & Read review
Watch original The Movie Show review


Watch more Spanish-language movies at SBS On Demand

SBS On Demand: Javier Bardem double bill
Watch two fine examples of the powerfully soulful Spanish actor at work now at SBS on Demand.
Why You Should Watch: Gloria
In the mood for love? So's Gloria. Do not miss your chance to watch this gorgeous Chilean comedy drama, which is available at SBS On Demand.