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September 14 – September 16

DOCUSPAIN: New Spanish Documentaries

While nonfiction film has always played a significant role in the history of American cinema, it has begun to play a much more prominent role in international film culture. The affordability of digital video production has democratized the process of documentary filmmaking, giving new directors the opportunity to explore more immediate representations of current events. Pragda presents a series of provocative and brilliantly conceived Spanish documentaries that have invigorated the genre with new forms of expression. Highlights of the series include My Grandmother's House, winner of the prestigious Joris Ivens Award at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam; Fernando Trueba's The Miracle of Candeal, a powerful document of a Brazilian favela that demonstrates how music can become a tool for social change, and The Basque Ball, directed by Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia), one of the most controversial films ever produced in Spain.

This program was curated by Marta Sanchez of Pragda with generous support from the Spanish Foreign Cultural Cooperation of the Embassy of Spain in Washington. Special thanks to the International Documentary Association (IDA) and Carlos Robles, Consul General of Spain in Boston.


Friday September 14 at 7 pm

The Basque Ball (La Pelota Vasca)

Directed by Julio Medem
Spain 2003, video, color, 110 min.
Spanish, Basque, English and French with English subtitles

In the wake of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the cause of the Basque people rose to national prominence as the Spanish government assumed the ETA (a militant Basque separatist group) was responsible. Completed before the attacks, this documentary examines the state of Basque culture in contemporary Spain as they continue to fight for independence.  Using extensive interview footage, Julio Medem offers a comprehensive portrait of this controversial movement.  


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Friday September 14 at 9 pm

Seville Southside (Polígono Sur)

Directed by Dominique Abel
Spain/France 2003, video, color, 105 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

Flamenco dancing is the lifeblood of the Gitanos, Spanish gypsies who have lived in exile for centuries. In looking for the roots of the so-called “New Flamenco,” director Dominique Abel journeys to Tres Mil Viviendas, a rundown housing project where the spirit of music and dance invigorates this multiracial community.

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Saturday September 15 at 7 pm

My Grandmother’s House (La Casa de mi Abuela)

Directed by Adán Aliaga
Spain 2005, video, color, 80 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

Adán Aliaga’s moving documentary chronicles the lives of suburban Spaniards living under threat of displacement. Six-year-old Marina plays to the camera, ignoring the chiding of her aged grandmother, Marita who reflects on the history of her crumbling house where she has lived for over fifty-three years. As her neighborhood is targeted for redevelopment, she is forced to come to terms with her past.

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Saturday September 15 at 9 pm

The Miracle of Candeal (El milagro de Candeal)

Directed by Fernando Trueba
Spain/Portugal 2005, video, color, 125 min.
Spanish and Portuguese with English subtitles

Grammy award winning Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown makes his home in Candeal, a marginal area in the heart of Salvador, Bahia. Directed by Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque, Calle 54), the film is a stunning parable of how this notorious slum transformed itself into a model community through the power of music, buoyed by Brown's commitment to local youth.

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Sunday September 16 at 3 pm

Memory Train (El tren de la memoria)

Directed by Marta Arribas and Ana Pérez
Spain 2006, video, b/w and color, 85 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

In the 1960s, some two million Spaniards left their homeland to go to work in European factories. Focusing on the journey of Josefina who left Spain at age eighteen to work in Nuremberg, Germany, this sensitive and thought-provoking documentary artfully weaves interviews and extraordinary historical footage to reveal a hidden part of European history.

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