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Film Notes – Acción Mutante

HOME Young Programmers were asked to choose a work by Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia to be screened at ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival 2019. Here, Young Programme Ellen Smith discusses their choice.

Álex de la Iglesia has featured regularly at ¡Viva! through the years, and his work certainly fits into the thematic thread running through this year’s 25th festival, which is ‘Serious Fun’. When we were given this theme to respond to, we thought it was best to look back at the director’s anarchic beginnings with his debut feature Acción Mutante.

This film can be easily described as fun, with its irreverence and provocative black humour that, along with its aesthetics, reminded me a lot of early Peter Jackson films. But crucially – and this is where the serious part comes in – the humour and the characters who deliver it take aim at the Establishment.

Álex de la Iglesia actively railed against the hegemony of popular Spanish cinema in the post-Franco era, which was dominated by the literary-political film. Instead of fixating on the past, he looks to a murky future to comment on the present, where a band of disabled men wage terror on affluent, beautiful socialites and all that they represent: celebrity, wealth and physical perfection.

Written by Ellen Smith, a HOME Young Programmer.

¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival 2019 runs from Fri 22 Mar 2019 – Sat 13 Apr 2019. Find out more and book tickets here.