Viva Espana, viva bad taste

Choice: One to see in the next seven days
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The Independent Culture
Even the man from Del Monte might raise an eyebrow at some of the juicy offerings on show at the second Spanish Film Festival. What would the shadowy arbiter of taste make of The Tit and the Moon for instance, or The Day of the Beast? Viva!, which runs for a week at Manchester's Cornerhouse cinema, begins on a characteristically tasteless note today with a gala screening of Justino: Senior Citizen Serial Killer. A jaunty tale of OAP bloodlust, Cudrilla's film will be introduced by Carlos Lucas, septagenarian sidekick to the eponymous Justino. The director Bigas Lunas will also be travelling to Manchester to present a special screening of The Tit and the Moon (23 Mar), the final part of his Iberian trilogy. Audiences who missed his gloriously hammy Jamn, Jamn (21 Mar) or the testicular romance of Golden Balls (22, 23 Mar) will be able to catch up on these and other Lunas lunacy (including a horror flick called Poodle, 16, 17 Mar) in a full retrospective of his work.

The raw, drug-fuelled Antrtida (21 Mar) and Jump into the Void (17 Mar) ensure the fest has its fair share of dirty realism, and Uribe's much praised thriller Running out of Time (above right, 19, 20 Mar) returns for a second year with its tale of a disillusioned ETA hitman. But today's Spanish cinema is perhaps best known for its robustly mordant humour, which surfaces again in the movie chosen to close the festival. A "satanic action comedy" starring a parapsychologist, death metal fan and virginal telly addict, The Day of the Beast (24 Mar) has already achieved a cult following in Spain, with its very own 666 fanzine. The film describes a priest who becomes convinced that the Antichrist is about to be reborn - what form he will take is unknown, but given the film's general level of plausibility, it's just possible the Evil One will be revealed as a mysterious, white-suited fruit connoisseur.


Cornerhouse Cinema, 70 Oxford St, Manchester M1 (0161-228 2463) to 24 Mar