Spain celebrated its first ever Spanish Cinema Day on October 6 to recognize the important role of filmmakers in the country’s cultural and social life.

Activities from special film screenings at cinemas across Spain to marathon film streaming on national TV will mark the occasion on what will become an annual event.

Look out for special commemoration packages of some of Spain’s most celebrated movies of all time from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Movistar+.

But to kick off the annual event, the Olive Press gives a run down, in chronological order of ten of the films that are considered the most influential in Spanish cinema.

1.Un Perro Andaluz (An Andalusian Dog), 1929. Written, directed and performed by Luis Buñel with the collaboration of Salvador Dali. Considered the most significant film of surrealist cinema, this French-Spanish short film could be defined as a succession of dreamlike sequences.

Complete short film of El Perro Andaluz

2. Esa Pareja Feliz (That Happy Couple), 1953. This comedy film tells the story of a day in the life of Juan and Carmen, a humble married couple from Madrid, when she wins a radio contest the day her husband is fired and cheated out of the business he was setting up. 

3. Bienvenido, Mr Marshall (Welcome Mr Marshall), 1953. A small town prepares to welcome American diplomats on an official visit, so they prepare the whole town in the most extravagant way possible but when the day arrives, the visitors rush through without stopping. 

4. Muerte de un ciclista (Death of a Cyclist), 1955.  Directed by Juan Antonio Bardem, (uncle of Oscar winning Javier Bardem) this film tells the story of an adulterous couple who run over a cyclist while on a romantic tryst. They decide to flee and deal with ever-rising tension, borne from their fear that their deeds will be exposed.

5. Los Santos Inocentes (The Holy Innocents), 1984. The film was the highest-grossing Spanish film in Spain at the time of its release and won the Palme D’Or in Cannes. The drama set in rural Extremadura tells the story of a peasant family who suffer daily humiliations working on the farm. 

6. Todo sobre mi madre (Everything about my mother), 1999. This comedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar follows Manuela on her journey in search of the father of her son after a traumatic event, who doesn’t know she was pregnant,  and tries to rebuild her life on the journey. 

7. La comunidad (The Community), 2000. A black comedy directed by Álex de la Iglesia follows a real estate agent who has to take on an unhinged community of neighbours in order to get her hands on a large fortune hidden in one of the flats.

8. Mar adentro (The sea inside) 2004. This film written, produced, directed, scored and edited by Alejandro Amenábar, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Based on the true story of Galician fisherman Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), who was left quadriplegic after a diving accident, and his 28-year campaign in support of euthanasia and the right to end his life.

9. Volver 2006. The second by Almodovar on the list, this film starring Penelope Cruz tells the story of women who try to survive the sufferings of life by helping each other. Raimunda is a young mother who lives on the outskirts of Madrid with her daughter Paula and her husband Paco, who is unemployed and always drunk.

10. Campeones (Champions), 2018. The film is inspired by the story of the Aderes Burjassot basketball team, made up of people with learning disabilities, which won twelve Spanish championships between 1999 and 2014.

What films would you add to the list? Drop us an email and tell us or comment below.


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