THIRD SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL IN MANCHESTER

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If you just can't get enough of the scabrous sexual satires of Pedro Almodovar - and wish he hadn't gotten all sentimental in 1995's The Flower of My Secret - and you've gorged on enough Jamon, Jamon to know by the title alone that The Tit and the Moon was a Bigas Luna film, Viva!, Manchester's Third Spanish Film Festival, may be essential rehabilitative therapy. If, however, you can't stomach the oeuvre of either of the most gleeful exponents of Spanish cinematic excess, a (pleasantly) seductive surprise awaits you at the Cornerhouse from Friday.

Organised in conjunction with Manchester's Instituto Cervantes, the festival offers 12 new feature films over the course of a week and showcases some of the most exciting contemporary talent from around the country. The opening gala - followed by a San Miguel-sponsored fiesta for ticket-holders - features Fernando Colomo's The Butterfly Effect (Fri 7.30pm). A romantic comedy set among London's Spanish community, its central narrative - a naive young Spaniard arrives in the city and is initially shocked by the behaviour of his bohemian aunt - echoes Colomo's charming early feature, Skyline, about a Spanish photographer dodging social faux-pas in New York. The festival closes with the darker signature of the award-winning Julio Medem (The Red Squirrel, Vacas) whose new film, Tierra (20 Mar 8.15pm), is a metaphysical parable about a gentle, schizophrenic man forced to choose between a demure beauty and a dangerous sexpot while fumigating a vineyard. These things happen. In Spain. Members of the casts are promised at both galas, while Roberto Romeo will introduce Hope and Sardines (15 Mar 6.15pm), and Eva Lesmes will explain how to Pon un hombre en tu vida (Put a Man in your Life) on 16 Mar (2pm & 8.30pm).

With Catalan thrillers, screwball comedies, a Spanish road movie, an urban dance film (Chus Gutierrez's Gypsy Soul), and a chance to see Vicente Aranda's major Spanish box-office hit, Libertarias, about the experiences of women in the Spanish Civil War, Almodovar-obsessives may well emerge asking What Have I Done to Deserve This?

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