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Best of Spanish and Estonian films

SPAIN'S rich cinema unfolds in a panorama from October 21 to 24, and fascinating but little-known Estonian films will be screened from October 17 to 23. Xu Wei reports.

The best cinema offerings from Spain and Estonia - with distinctly different flavors - will be presented in two film screenings from October 17 to 24.

The Spanish Film Panorama will screen eight films representing the best of the past decade.

During the four days, the Shanghai Film Art Center, Cathay Theater, Broadband International Cineplex and Stellar Cinema City will screen "Me Too," "Flamenco, Flamenco," "The Sea Inside," "Seven Billiard Tables," "The Blind Sunflowers," "My Life without Me," "Obaba" and "Mataharis."

The Spanish film maker Carlos Saura, who directed "Carmen," "Tango" and "Goya in Bordeaux," will attend the Shanghai premiere - also the world premiere - of his new emotional dance film, "Flamenco, Flamenco."

Also in Shanghai will be Spanish actress Maribel Verdu, known for hits such as "Pan's Labyrinth" and "And Your Mother Too." She plays a widow during the Spanish Civil War in the film "Blind Sunflowers," which will be presented in the panorama.

Another film with star power will be "The Sea Inside," starring Spanish actor Javier Bardem; it was awarded the 2004 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as the 2004 Grand Jury Prize of the Venice International Film Festival, among other prizes.

"Me Too," codirected by Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro, tells a story of an impossible love. Star Lola Duenas was awarded the Best Actress prize in the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Goya Awards (Spanish equivalents to the Academy Awards).

"My Life Without Me" narrates a woman's fading life as she struggles with cancer, while another tale, "Seven Billiard Tables" is about a woman who rediscovers her life after her father dies and her husband disappears.

The Spanish Film Panorama presents very different genres, including "Obaba," a mystery thriller in a remote northern township, and "Mataharis," a comedy about three detectives who cannot manage their private lives.

"The panorama is a rare chance for Chinese film goers to learn about Spanish cinema," said Tang Lijun, an organizer of the event. Chinese cinemas are filled with domestic productions and Hollywood blockbusters, but lacking a diverse menu, he said.

Estonian film

Although Estonia doesn't produce a lot of movies, many productions are compelling stories, artistically filmed.

From October 17 to 23, Estonian Film Week will feature five recent productions at four downtown cinemas, the Shanghai Film Art Center, Cathay Theater, Yonghua Cinema and Studio City Cinema.

The films: Andrus Tuisk's crime film "Bank Robbery," Asko Kase's war epic "December Heat," Marko Raat's "The Snow Queen," a winter fairy-tale for adults, Grigori Kromanov's drama "The Last Relic" and Rasmus Merivoo's fantasy kids movie "Buratino, Son of Pinocchio."

At the opening on October 17, director Merivoo will talk to film goers. His latest film, an Estonian-Russian collaboration, is loosely based on Alexei Tolstoy's renowned children's book "The Golden Key."

Tickets for the Spanish Film Panorama and Estonian Film Week are available directly from the screening cinemas or by logging on to and


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