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Everything I learned at the 2015 Spanish Film Festival… with 2016’s ABOUT TO START!

The 2016 Spanish Film Festival starts in Perth on Thursday at Cinema Paradiso.

Spanish Film Festival me and poster

Here’s everything I learnt in 2015:

Love conquers the age barrier, if you have a shiny new car and a house with a panoramic view of Barcelona.

(From the Spanish movie Sorry If I Call You Love)

Be nice to older women on long haul buses, because you’ll always have a place to stay when you’re mistaken for a Basque terrorist.

(From the Spanish movie Spanish Affair)

If a woman claims to be your long lost sister don’t push her away since she might be a rich Bollywood star who can give you money so you can stop working as a research scientist and marry the cute video store assistant boyfriend who can’t afford a flat in the heart of Barcelona.

(From the Spanish-Indian movie Traces of Sandalwood)

It’s okay to get lost in the Mexican jungle because a handsome Argentine doctor will rescue you.

(From the Mexican movie Get Married if you Can)

Costa Rica is a good destination for Russian drug dealers under house arrest in England who want to escape with their Japanese girlfriends.

(From the Chilean movie I Am From Chile, set in London)

If you jump out of a building to save a baby from drowning, it’s good if a Hollywood director is watching.

(From the Mexican movie Instructions Not Included, set largely in the United States)

A mannequin with a dress on it might be the dead body of the ex-fiancée of the guy the dressmaker is holding prisoner.

(From the Spanish movie Shrew’s Nest)

Spanish Film Festival 2015 guides

If you get engaged to a woman, destroy the evidence that you fancied her sister.

(From the Mexican movie Get Married if you Can)

If you get caught stealing a rich woman’s money, start crying and she’ll take you on holiday to a fancy house with a big swimming pool.

(From the Colombian-French movie Gente de Bien)

If your employer hasn’t paid you in three months, it might be time to look for another job.

(From the Spanish movie Aces)

If you’re a policeman on the take, it might sound suspicious if your daughter’s school fees are more than your entire salary.

(From the Spanish movie El Niño)

If your grandad seems like a nasty control freak, he probably is, but it won’t be long before he gets murdered.

(From the Colombian movie Dust on the Tongue)

The going rate to hide out with your son in a Buenos Aires love hotel is 500 pesos a night.

(From the Argentine movie Refugee)

Argentina’s inflation rate could make this one out of date, though it’s hard to say what that rate actually is.

In December 2013 it was said to be 11 per cent, according to the official government figures, but in reality, it was more like 28 per cent.

When I was in Argentina that year, it became the first nation that the International Monetary Fund censured, for not sharing accurate information on inflation and economic growth. The nation’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was not amused.

cristina - foto from 2011
Cristina in a photo exhibition of the Kirchner family outside the Casa Rosada.

I was surprised it took so long. On one of my earlier trips, in 2007, the Buenos Aires Herald newspaper reported: “Inflation ‘double’ official stats”. The government said it was 8.6 per cent, but a private poll of Argentine business leaders had the figure as an average of 16.5 per cent. Private investors had the rate as high as 20. It said that two-fifths of the country’s debt was inflation-indexed.

In other words, the lower the inflation rate, the less Argentina would have to pay its creditors.

In 2015, Reuters discussed the situation in an article, beginning with the words: ‘Don’t Lie to Me Argentina’.

If you want to poison your husband, wait until he gets his work bonus, though if it’s rat poison, check the expiry date first.

(From the Spanish movie Carmina and Amen and the Argentine-Spanish movie Wild Tales)

If your son has committed a serious criminal offence, and you bribe your servant to take the rap for it, make sure you offer the servant more money than you offer your lawyer.

(From the Argentine-Spanish movie Wild Tales)

If you win a plane ticket as a prize, it’s probably part of an elaborate scheme by an awful musician to get revenge on everyone who did something bad to him.

(From the Argentine-Spanish movie Wild Tales)

It’s more comfortable to smuggle yourself into France on a goods train than underneath a truck.

(From the Spanish movie Hidden Away) 

If a man keeps sending you flowers, he’s probably going to die soon, so don’t make any effort.

(From the Spanish movie Flowers)

A room in a Colombian love hotel is brighter than a room in a Buenos Aires love hotel.

(From the Argentine-Colombian-French-Polish-German movie Refugee and Colombian-Spanish movie Ciudad Delirio)

If a girl says she’s your long-lost daughter, don’t worry about child support, just give her a weather vane and she’ll go away happy.

(From the Argentine movie Natural Sciences)

Don’t be rude to a fellow motorist on the road between Salta and Cafayate, or you might both get incinerated next to a bridge.

(From the Argentine-Spanish movie Wild Tales)

The movie suggested you’d be lucky to get more than two cars on this road in an hour, but it’s actually much busier than that. Here’s one reason why:

el anfiteatro - la quebrada de las conchas - argentina

A 21-year-old man with piercing blue eyes, chiselled face, smooth olive skin, tight rippled stomach and deep Latino accent tends to smuggle commercial quantities of cocaine if he’s not involved in a murder conspiracy.

(From the Spanish movies El Niño and Marshland)

Click here to see who I’m talking about.

Jesús Castro.

At the 2015 Spanish Film Festival, I spent a Saturday seeing five movies. Jesús Castro was arrested for drug smuggling in the afternoon and murder in the evening. (Or at least, the characters he was playing were!)

Movies can manipulate you into liking the most awful things. At the end of The Silence of the Lambs, we laugh when a cannibal serial killer says he’s ‘having an old friend for dinner’. We don’t like the intended victim because he used his position at work to make a sleazy comment to the story’s heroine and ask her out on a date. Inappropriate workplace behaviour for sure, but not too many industrial relations systems around the world would include being murdered and eaten as appropriate sanctions for this sort of thing!

In El Niño, the ‘hero’ originally smuggles hash, and only later moves to cocaine. He’s handsome and daring. When the police are in a helicopter chasing him, he defies them in a speed boat. He’s charming, in love with a beautiful woman and has a good friend. His dealers mess him around and there’s corruption in the police force.

The movie could have cut back and forward between him having a laugh and cocaine addicts suffering and dying, but it doesn’t. We want him to get away with committing serious criminal offences that seriously hurt other people. Clever. Powerful.

f you walk out of your own wedding, you might get with a waiter or murder a cop.

(From the Argentine movie Death in Buenos Aires and the Argentine-Spanish movie Wild Tales)


Death in Buenos Aires is a whodunit, and it’s obvious from the beginning who caused the death, but I was carefully manipulated into thinking otherwise. I knew that one of the suspects was left-handed because I’m left handed and I always notice when someone else is. So I knew that a policeman wasn’t telling the truth when he said that this suspect was right-handed. And yet I ignored his lie because he did something genuinely noble and heroic. And was young and cute.

If a woman seduces you, things can get awkward if you accept money from her boyfriend.

(From the Chilean movie I Am From Chile, set in London)

If you can’t pay for breakfast, dance the hula instead.

(From the Spanish-Brazilian-Italian-Argentine-United States movie Blue Lips)

A lesbian kiss is a good way of dealing with the summer heat.

(From the Argentine movie Atlántida)

An eight-year-old boy can travel the 400 miles from Madrid to Barcelona on his own without anyone noticing.

(From the Spanish movie Ismael)

Don’t let my bitchiness put you off Ismael. It’s a beautiful movie about love and family, with a warm script and winning performances.

It might not be the best idea to move in with your mother-in-law if your marriage if breaking up.

(From the Argentine-Uruguayan movie Open Air)

If your father sends you overseas to work in a law firm, train as a chef instead.

(From the Peruvian movie Finding Gaston)

It’s good to make friends with a geeky guy because you can pash his hot mother on your birthday.

(From the Spanish movie They Are All Dead)

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Michael from Perth

A unique view of the strange and spectacular world through the eyes of Michael from Perth