A weekend-long tribute to the internationally known filmmaker who simultaneously launched the film careers of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, curated by Bigas Luna’s daughter, Betty Bigas.
Bigas Luna was an iconoclastic film director who emerged after the Franco dictatorship to portray the new Spain as engagingly and perplexingly robust and later discovered the stars Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. He died at his home in Tarragona, Catalonia, in 2013.
Bigas Luna was part of a crop of filmmakers who blossomed after Franco’s death in 1975, reviving a long-dormant cinematic scene. His work, which was influenced by Surrealist artists, including his friend Salvador Dalí, drew attention for its broad social commentary, particularly its outlandishly inventive treatment of sexual relations in liberated Spain.
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, The Roxie exists to showcase the best and coolest movies of the past, present and future. Its 238-seat Big Roxie auditorium is said to be the second-oldest continually run cinema in the world.
March 6, 7:00pm
Jamón jamón (“Ham, Ham”)
A modern classic of Spanish cinema starring Javier Bardem, Jordi Mollà and, in her debut film, Penélope Cruz, Jamón Jamón is seared into cinema history as much for its image of Cruz taking shelter from a storm under a testicle she has ripped from a giant billboard bull, as for rival lovers Bardem and Mollà squaring off, each armed with legs cured ham. An allegory for Spain itself, Luna engages in intricate word play while rhapsodically juxtaposing the new and the old and food and erotic desire.
Staring: Penélope Cruz, Stefania Sandrelli, Anna Galiena, Javier Bardem.
Directed by Bigas Luna, 95min., Spain, 1992.
March 7, 7:00pm
Huevos de oro (“Golden Balls”)
Benito González works in construction in Melilla and dreams big – of building the tallest building in Benidorm, a great phallic symbol of power, González Towers. Over several years, we see Benito’s rise and fall, much like the construction of his tower. Through force of personality, he puts the financing together, taking advantage of women who love him – Claudia, a model who wants to be a star, and Marta, the US educated daughter of a banker whose loan Benito needs. Can his force of personality – his huevos de oro – compensate for shoddy building materials, no permits, and undercapitalization? Nature may have her own power and surprises in store for Benito.
Staring: Javier Bardem, Maria de Medeiros, Maribel Verdú, Benicio Del Toro.
Directed by Bigas Luna, 95mins, Spain, 1993.
March 7, 9:30pm
La teta y la luna (“The Tit and the Moon”)
Beautiful, playful, innocent, funny, endearing. Nine-year-old Tete (Duran) has a problem any older brother can relate to; the family’s new arrival has replaced him at his mother’s breast. He must invoke the moon for a new tit to call his own. Cue the entrance of Estrellita, an imposing Gallic cabaret performer. However, adolescent Miquel already has his eyes on Estrellita, while the lady herself seems sweet on her stage partner, Maurice, never mind his impotence. The director sets up symbolic oppositions between the relative youth and sexual experience of the various males, and even the French, Spanish and Catalan speaking participants in the drama – the whole affair being unified by the image of the breast suckling one and all. It is a paean to a Mediterranean culture.
Staring: Biel Duran, Mathilda May, Gérard Darmon, Javier Bardem.
Directed by Bigas Luna, 90 min, Spain, 1994.
March 8, 7:00pm
After being hypnotized by his bizarre mother, a man goes on a brutal killing spree complete with telepathic commands from mom to carve the eyeballs from his victims. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, comes the most shocking twist imaginable. Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist, Southland Tales) and Oscar nominee Michael Lerner (Barton Fink, Maniac Cop 2) star in one of the most acclaimed and unconventional horror films of the ‘80s. You won’t believe your eyes as controversial Spanish writer/director Bigas Luna, known primarily for his ‘art house films’ like Jamón, Jamón, creates an otherworldly twist of reality in the William Castle tradition.
Staring: Zelda Rubinstein, Michael Lerner, Talia Paul.
Directed by Bigas Luna, 89min., Spain, 1987.
Two years after his death
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