Cell 211 - Alberto Ammann as Juan Oliver and Luis Tosar as Malamadre in Daniel Monzón’s gripping prison drama

Hola chicos y chicas!

The 6th London Spanish Film Festival gets underway at the Ciné Lumière tonight with the UK premiere of Daniel Monzón’s gripping prison drama Cell 211 (Celda 211). The story of a young guard who poses as an inmate in a desperate bid to survive a prison riot, the film cleaned up at this year’s Goya Awards (Spanish cinema’s Oscars), winning eight gongs, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor.

Chico & Rita - an epic animated love story set against the vibrant backdrop of late 1940s/early 1950s Havana, New York, Las Vegas and Hollywood

The festival packs a host of other premieres into its line-up, including Carlos Saura’s lush biopic I, Don Giovanni – the racy tale of Lorenzo Da Ponte, ex-priest, philanderer and Mozart’s favourite librettist; and Chico & Rita – an epic animated love story which sets the tale of a young songwriter and a beautiful singer against the vibrant backdrop of late 1940s/early 1950s Havana, New York, Las Vegas and Hollywood.

Y Tu Mamá También - Maribel Verdú Pan’s Labyrinth - Maribel Verdú & Ivana Baquero

The festival also includes strands celebrating Catalan and Basque Cinema, a special feature on actress Maribel Verdú, including retrospective screenings of her films Y Tu Mamá También and Pan’s Labyrinth. One of Spain’s most versatile actresses, Verdú will be “In Conversation” after the 25th September screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s bittersweet mystery drama Tetro.

The festival runs for a fortnight, but it reaches its climax on 7th October with a film about a one-night stand – Room in Rome, Julio Medem’s emotionally charged film about two young women, the Spanish Alba (Elena Anaya) and Russian Natasha (Natasha Yarovenko), who meet in the Italian capital and take time out from their normal lives to spend a passionate night together.

Room in Rome -  Alba (Elena Anaya) and Natasha (Natasha Yarovenko) spend a passionate night together in Rome

The Spanish Film Festival runs at the Ciné Lumière from 24th September until 7th October. Visit the festival site for full details.
Tetro is released on Blu-ray & DVD by Soda Pictures on 27th September.
Room in Rome is released on Blu-ray & DVD by Optimum on 18th October.
Chico & Rita opens in UK cinemas on 19th November.
Cell 211 is released in the UK in Spring 2011.