While separated by continents, the two cinemas are interlinked by a shared language, history and culture, while collaborations such as between Chilean director Alejandro Amenabár and Spanish stars Eduardo Noriega and Penelope Cruz have cemented this bond.
The cinemas share a sense of the grittiness of the so called ‘Third Cinema’, but both service this truth with a beauty and melodrama which seems to be as much a part of their day to day life as it is their art. And not to be forgotten is the superlative horror which has emerged from both sides of the Pacific, which while sharing all of the traits of its more realistic siblings, adds a layer of Catholic complexity which, again, is interwoven into the fabric of Spanish and Latin life.
The below list is just a taste of what Spanish language cinema has to offer, and ranges from the justifiably well known to films that have inspired others, and those that stand out as pure examples of their craft. While focusing on the more recent, Almodovar-inspired wave of filmmakers, it would be a disservice to ignore the decades of local film tradition from the many countries which contribute to this most vital of world cinemas.
The list also, unfortunately, ignores the embarrassment of riches that is Brazilian cinema. After all, it’s a whole other language in that country…!
10. The Orphanage/El Orfanato
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona