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Señor Lobo: Horror movie hero Paul Naschy, the ‘Spanish Lon Chaney’
10:47 am


horror films
Wolf Man
Paul Naschy

Paul Naschy as ‘Father Adrian Dunning’ in the Spanish riff on ‘The Exorcist,’ 1974’s ‘Exorcismo.’
Hailing from Madrid, Spanish actor Paul Naschy (born Jacinto Molina Álvarez) had the distinguished honor to be affectionately nicknamed “The Spanish Lon Chaney” as like the illustrious Chaney himself, Naschy has played nearly every single movie monster to ever grace the silver screen.

Naschy is a fascinating cat whose career spans the course of at least 60 years during which he not only held the role of actor, but also writer (including authoring many bawdy Spanish pulp novels under the name “Jack Mills”) and illustrator for various Spanish music albums. Naschy’s behind-the-scenes life was full of interesting gigs including holding the title of champion lightweight weightlifter of Spain in 1958. Looking at the build of the beefy-looking Naschy, this is perhaps not all that surprising.

According to other Naschy folklore, the aspiring actor once met another famous horror icon, Boris Karloff, back in the mid-60s while he was working as an extra on the television showI Spy which was shooting on location in Spain. Karloff was 79 at the time and was cast as a scientist in the episode though he was barely able to walk even with the assistance of leg braces. According to Naschy (a story that is reflected in the title of the posthumous 2010 documentary film on his life, The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry) he observed the elderly Karloff weeping while waiting in the bitter cold for a ride after finishing up his work on the set. Naschy would later say about the heartbreaking scene that he believed that he was one of the only people (perhaps the only person) who ever saw Frankenstein’s monster cry.

Launching his horror film acting career in the late 1960s, Naschy ended up playing the role of “Waldermar Daninsky” (one that Naschy would reprise a dozen times in the “El Hombre Lobo” series of films) the wayward Spanish Wolf Man after Lon Chaney Jr. turned the role down (or according to some sources was passed over due to the fact that he was “too old” as Chaney Jr. was in his 60s at the time). Spain’s own “king of horror” would earn both that title and the loving homage to Chaney Jr.‘s famous father by portraying the following villains and monsters in various films—Dracula; Frankenstein’s monster; the Mummy; Fu Manchu; the Devil; Mr. Hyde; Quasimodo; the Phantom of the Opera; and of course a werewolf (which Naschy played a whopping sixteen times). So popular was Naschy’s role as the Wolf Man that there is even an action figure based on his “El Hombre Lobo” character made by the Spanish branch of the MAGE toy company.

A fantastic movie poster for ‘The Werewolf VS. Vampire Woman’ (aka: ‘La Noche de Walpurgis’), 1971. 
Naschy acted in more than 100 films many of which have been remastered much to the delight of Naschy’s fans (like yours truly) who appreciate the combination of half-dressed female victims (many of Naschy’s films included a fair amount of nudity) as well as tons of blood and good-old B-movie vibes. Plenty of them are worth watching if you dig vintage Euro schlock horror cinema, such as 1974’s Exorcismo, a Spanish riff on director William Friedkin’s 1973 film The Exorcist in which Naschy not only starred as the tormented character of “Father Adrian Dunning” but also penned the screenplay along with some help from the film’s director Juan Bosch. Others such as Naschy’s 1977 “comeback” Curse of the Devil, his early portrayals of werewolf “Waldemar Daninsky” (especially 1971’s La Noche Del Walpurgis), and the gory 1973 film Hunchback of the Morgue also rank as a few of Naschy’s best when it comes to his massive body of work.

If any or all of this has piqued your interest there is also a fantastic 1200 page book from 2012 that details Naschy’s long career Muchas Gracias Señor Lobo: Paul Naschy Memorabilia by author Thorsten Benzel. Eighteen years in the making, the publication contains a dizzying array of memorabilia some of which had never seen the light of day until the book’s release. And if that is not enough to convince you to check out Mr. Naschy’s films then perhaps consider the fact that other admirers of the multi-talented Spaniard include luminaries such as Quentin Tarantino, fellow actor and forever vampire Christopher Lee, and director John Landis. I’ve included some fantastic Naschy artifacts in this post from publicity stills and far-out posters, as well as a few trailers for Naschy’s movies which would make for perfect viewing on Halloween

Naschy in chains as the Wolf Man ‘Waldemar Daninsky.’

Naschy as ‘Dracula.’
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The alluring vivisected mechanical pin-ups of Fernando Vincente
01:39 pm


Fernando Vincente

A painting of a pin-up mashedup with mechanical parts from a Mercedes Benz by Fernando Vicente.
Self-taught Spanish painter, artist and illustrator Fernando Vicente has been working at his craft since the early 80s in Madrid and his work has been featured in publications all around the world such as Playboy, Vogue and various European magazines and book covers. In the case of Vicente’s series Anatomies the artist has united two of his favorite things—his love of mechanics and anatom—to rather strangely stellar results.

According to Vicente the bionic pin-ups featured in Anatomies came to be after the artist purchased a large collection of posters from an actual mechanic which he then incorporated into his paintings creating a kind of sexy “cyberpunk” woman with her inner “mechanical anatomy” exposed. During his career Vicente has collected hordes of materials such as maps, atlases, medical books, and vintage advertising posters during his frequent visits to flea markets held in and around Madrid, all of which end up being incorporated into his compelling creations. As you will see in this post Vicente is fairly enamoured with what’s going on inside the human body. Here’s more from Vicente on that:

Inside the human body is a tremendous beauty, I am captured by it. For a long time the inside of the human body was for exclusive use for medical and scientific purposes. Now it’s time to claim it for our own contemplation.

If you dig what you see Vicente’s artwork has been the subject of a few books such as the self-titled 2014 tome Fernando Vicente, and The Pin-Ups of Fernando Vicente among others. You can also purchase prints of Vicente’s vast catalog as well over at the artist’s website. Images of the hiss revved-up anatomical women follow.


More after the jump…

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Anarchism, Activism and El Movimiento: Dangerous Minds Goes Inside the Second Spanish Revolution

“Are you not ashamed to kick people out of their homes?”

Barcelona, it occurs to me, as our plane descends towards the unfortunately named El Prat, must have some strange and singular relationship to concrete. Due to the national tendency to live stacked up, from above the city undulates in a wild concrete wave—coming to a dead, teetering halt at the brink of the Mediterranean, which meets it with almost parodic calm. Yet, elegant Barcelona somehow manages to make the best out of concrete. Hell, even La Sagrada Familia is moulded from stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in a public housing high rise.

And, ironically enough, it is concrete Barcelona finds its feet encased in, as along with the rest of Spain it sinks to the bottom of the economic ocean…

Of all the houses built in Spain between 2001 and 2007 (and there were a lot: this was the property boom that engendered the economic collapse that has left the country with around 26% unemployment, and around 55% youth unemployment) over a quarter stand empty. But despite being dotted with veritable ghost towns, there were over 75,000 evictions in Spain last year, a figure that looks ready to rise in 2013.

Now, in Spain, if a bank kicks you out of your home, seizing your assets, their value is only deducted from your debt. And since the value of Spanish property, post-crash, is a slither of what it was when most evictees bought their properties, and since there were a lot of forty and fifty year mortgages going around, this means many are still expected to pay hundreds of thousands of Euros for an abruptly worthless cube of concrete that will henceforth stand empty, redundant as a sprung trap.

Odd that this should happen in Spain, with its historical antipathy (among a significant portion of its population, anyway) to the very notion of “private property”. “ALL PROPERTY IS THEFT!” declared the anarchist philosopher Proudhon. Well, Spain, you might say, was bound to balk at such daylight robbery. And balk it did, in the spontaneous 15M nationwide protests that marked the proper beginning of what everyone there refers to as the movimiento in the spring of 2011.

Exactly two years later, I am visiting Barcelona to see where the second Spanish revolution is at.

I have, however, a vicious summer cold, and am unsure if my skittish temperature and face full of snot is infecting my view of the city. I’ve heard a lot about how inconspicuous the economic crisis is to the naked eye, but for me, sweating a fever out beneath the first sustained sunshine to touch Catalonia all year, Barcelona seems everywhere composed of two distinct layers.

Along the surreally telegenic beach, for example, there is the expected abundance of tourists, bathers, bars. But there is also, there by the outdoor showers, two apparently underage girls in the early stages of a porn shoot, listlessly palming water at one another’s bikini tops while a photographer snaps and a crowd gawp on.

A random sight, perhaps, but it feels like a symbol.

Further up the promenade we see some anarchist graffiti: “Tourist! Save the planet. Kill Yourself.” Beneath this it reads “Guirifobia Power.” Guiri (sounds like “giddy”), explains Sara Marquez, our friend, hostess and guide to the movimiento, is the derogatory slang for tourist. “There is increasing hostility against visitors—that is, rich foreigners—among some,” she elaborates, for the benefit of this slightly affronted guiri. “As the crisis deepens the only economic sector that really works is tourism. Many feel that the city council is ruling the city thinking in terms only of tourists rather than citizens.”

We stop at a bar for some food—washing it down with cheap beer and tobacco that do my virus few favors. Sara tells us some typical examples of people she knows in the city: University Lecturers earning a couple of hundred Euros a month, and even some doctors and lawyers either unable to get work or earning relatively negligible amounts. Presently in vogue, she says, is the notion of a mileurista—somebody lucky enough earn over a thousand Euros a month. No wonder there is a steady seeping abroad of Barcelona’s young, an exodus massaged by the government, who don’t even bother pretending their homeland has a future for them.

We get up to pay. “Why are you with these foreigners,” the waiter hisses at Sara, “why are you speaking English?” (Earlier today, some respectable-looking old crone had spun on her heel to shout abuse up the street at Sara for the same reason.)

While she tells the geezer where to go, I stand there sniffing and squinting at the street. Rich-looking American girls saunter by in designer shades, swaying honeyed limbs, and platoons of British lads march between bars. But there is also, I note, a continuous quiet traffic of disheveled elderly Catalans and gypsies, all pushing warped trolleys piled with scrap metal. “There seems to be more of this all the time,” says Sara. There is something ominous about the trade, as if they are picking the bones of an economic corpse.

That evening I interview Marc Pradel, an activist and academic. Marc has that air of slightly weary integrity that proliferates whenever a political class manages to entirely monopolise corruption. We begin by discussing the development of the movimiento.

“Two years ago it was as if no one was protesting anything, and then there was this small thing,  ¡Democracia Real YA! [Real Democracy Now!], and then this demonstration, and suddenly, surprisingly, everybody came and it was huge. And the last two years, more or less, have highlighted the difficulty in organizing a coherent, conventional political response. There are many things happening at a local level and neighborhood level, a lot of new ideas and discussions, but the movement is in danger of losing momentum unless it can organize.”

I ask to what extent this generation of activists identify with the Spanish libertarian socialist tradition.

“Some parts of the movement are not that conscious of continuing this political tradition, while others are very aware of it, and are openly inspired by Cooperatism and decentralization. Sometimes the movement acknowledges this heritage in a very symbolic way—for instance they tend to organize in columns when they demonstrate, just as the anarchists did in the civil war. But there is also a general awareness they’re not going to solve anything in a classical fashion.”

Yet, on its second birthday, the crossroads the movimiento finds itself at would be readily recognizable to any Spanish anarchist of the 1930s…

Pau Faus, Barcelona PAH
“In Barcelona especially there is a real hostility towards political centralization, a fear of being co-opted, a fear of becoming part of the problem. This is very typical of the social movements here, and I think you can see the continuity from the old anarchism to now, a commitment to decentralization, which can become problematic. Many people say that this movement needs leadership. We do need some kind of organisation, because otherwise you cannot expect major changes. The only time anarchism has been effective is when there was a trade union or something behind it.”

For now, the onus remains entirely on the grass roots.

“There are, in Barcelona and everywhere in Spain, lots of things emerging. For instance we have the community banks: Coop57 is a credit cooperative that gives credit to social projects and gives people the chance to invest in social causes… Som Energia is a renewable energy cooperative… La Fageda is a more traditional cooperative but is very significant in Catalonia. Their workers are handicapped and the company adapts its production accordingly. There are lots of examples of businesses trying to overcome the logic of capitalism.”

He describes the network of community centers, cooperative allotments and squats across Barcelona, created to provide food, shelter, work and support for people. I ask about the state’s response to such initiatives.

“They expect this kind of thing. As long as they’re not attacking some basic things, like the financial system of whatever, they know it can help them, relieve their responsibilities. For instance, if there’s some empty land being cultivated which belongs to the banks, it has no value anyway and if somebody’s growing food it’s helping to solve some social problems. But when there’s a more political approach, or organised protesting, then you find opposition—and often very violent opposition. The level of violence is high. Just to scare citizens—normal citizens—from joining the movement. Because the movement was initially very apolitical, a citizen’s movement with nothing to do with the traditional party politics or allegiances, and they tried to scare people away. And they succeeded, in part.”

The most powerful part of the movimiento remains the PAH—the Platforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Platform for those Affected by the Mortgage).     

“The numbers affected by evictions are huge, incredibly huge. The PAH movement actually started before the crisis, defending the rights of people who were unable to afford a mortgage—then in 2008 the speculative housing bubble burst, and it transformed itself into something that defended the rights of people facing eviction because of the crash, going to places where people were being evicted, blocking evictions. Many, many people started to participate in it, and it became quickly linked with the indignados movement and the local assemblies. But because the PAH were working for a very specific thing, they were very successful in terms of receiving support, because everybody saw that this was a very precise thing that could be aimed for, changing a specific law on housing—and keeping people from becoming homeless. Because of that we have the support of eighty percent of Spanish society.”

Banker Emilo Botin and his “juicy booty”

This specific change in the law, Marc explains, was to “approve the dation in payment”—in other words, your debt would be cancelled when you lost your dwelling. The PAH gathered 1.4 million signatures to petition for this change, which was rejected by the government in April.

“This was denied because it generates a problem for the banks, who receive a property without value and don’t have any other way to recover the money they have lent. This is not important for the Spanish banks themselves, but for the European banks—German ones mainly—who were behind their capacity to give credit.”

On Friday Sara and I visit the working class district Encants to see the PAH in action. This requires a strange early evening journey, through somnolent shopping centers and amnesiac underpasses, until Barcelona finally cuts the shit and we find ourselves in breezeblock central: vacant balconies jut out from the dull high apartment blocks, like the handles of empty filing cabinets.     

We approach what might be a club or a bar—a large crowd mills about on the pavement outside smoking and talking. It is the local PAH center, though, and we enter a large, swelteringly hot space, with raw concrete walls plastered in printouts, schedules and slogans. It is packed. Over three hundred people are sitting close together, fanning out around a small panel of middle-aged, robust, blonde women, who are passing a microphone to and fro and filling the space with echoing bursts of musical, exhortative Spanish.

Clearly this entire audience is facing eviction—eviction and a lifetime of debt. It’s no small burden. Just a few months ago a forty-seven-year-old woman walked into her local bank in Valencia and set herself on fire. (She survived, just about.)

Here, though, there is something in the atmosphere besides tension, something like relief. Eviction, penury—these are definitively lonely ordeals, and through the PAH people can find emotional, practical and political support and solidarity. 

My assumption, as I watch the panel move through the endless succession of questions—everyone here has at least one—is that it consists of pro bono professionals. Apparently not. “They are not qualified,” whispers Sara, “they are just normal, working class women, but they sound like property lawyers.”

These panelists, it transpires, know every twist in the labyrinth because they were lost in it themselves, and so by necessity became expert at frustrating and thwarting the banks. In the week the PAH holds separate surgeries for the victims of the separate banks, organize sit-ins to stop evictions, and protest at the banks. They have been awarded a European Citizen of the Year award from the European Parliament, and enjoy—it warrants repetition—over 80% support from the public.

Pau Faus, Barcelona PAH
The Spanish government, meanwhile, has compared the PAH to ETA, to terrorists, to Nazis, and wants to see them stripped of their award…

This hysterical reaction was in response to escrache, a PAH approach that brought protest to these politicians’ literal doorsteps. However, it ain’t hard to see why the PAH might make the Spanish establishment generally nervous. In reality, there is nothing “apolitical,” say, about their guiding asservation that “having a home is a basic right,” or about their effort to remove the unjust financial yoke so cynically fastened upon the necks of hundreds of thousands of Spaniards. On the contrary, such ideas and actions are potentially revolutionary.

A hesitant African woman stands up. Her bank, she explains, are offering her a so-called “social rent” (whereby you lose your home but can go on living there). This is a very rare concession, so rare that it inspires one of the panelists to stand on her toes and flamboyantly flap her “Si Se Puede!” t-shirt high enough to flash the audience a glimpse of her bra.

Laughter flows through the crowd and out onto the pavement. The noise level instantly rises, interfering with the discussion and sparking a collective shhhhhh. It carries a hint of the Spanish lisp, this shhhhhh, making it sound more like a hiss than a hush, and this crowd of debtors, activists and volunteers a very large, very angry snake.

I remember what Marc said yesterday about the movimiento needing leadership, and wonder what on earth could happen if it finds it.

Masses of thanks to Sara, Moritz, Marc & Rebecca


Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Derek Jarman: Interviewed on Spanish TV from 1989

When asked how he felt about the fact he’d received £400,000 to make Caravaggio in 1986, and the director of Chariots of Fire, Hugh Hudson had received 4 million to make his film, Derek Jarman replied, ‘Fortunately, I’m one hundred times more intelligent than Hugh Hudson, so it doesn’t matter.’

It certainly didn’t matter as Jarman’s output, during his 20-year career, pisses from a great height on Hudson’s work. What Jarman would have made of this year’s London Olympics, with its recurring reference to Chariots of Fire, would certainly have been interesting. Yet, Jarman was never fooled by his position as an outsider, he was well aware that there ‘is a complicity between the avant-garde and the establishment, it’s symbiotic, they need each other,’ as he explained to Peter Culshaw in the NME, April, 1986.

‘..all avant-garde gestures have been appropriated by just those people they sought to undermine. Dada was conceived as a full-scale assault and now Dada sells for millions. But what people never point out about me is that I’m probably the most conservative film-maker in the country. I’m not talking about Thatcherite-radical conservatives, who are anti-traditional and destructive, and who see progress as heaven, I mean more like the conservatism of groups like the Green Party.’

The artist Caravaggio fascinated Jarman, because ‘he was the most inspired religious painter of the Middle Ages and was also a murderer.’

‘Imagine if Shakespeare had been a murderer - it would completely alter the way we see his plays. [Caravaggio] was particularly taken to heart by the Romans because he painted real people. The girl next door was Mary Magdalen. Or in Death of a Virgin he painted a well-known prostitute as a virgin. It was the equivalent of Christine Keeler being put up over the high altar at Westminster Abbey.’

Jarman felt a tremendous parallel between Caravaggio and his own life, and he believed that ‘the cinema of the product precludes individual voices…’

‘...and I think unless one can put one’s own voice into a film, then there’s an element of dishonesty in it.’

In this short interview Derek Jarman talks about his life and films, Caravaggio, The Last of England and War Requiem,  taken from Spanish TV’s Metropolis from 1989.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Glitterbug’: Derek Jarman’s final film

Photo-spread of Derek Jarman’s ‘Jubilee’, from 1978

Bonus interview of Jarman talking about ‘Caravaggio’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Extraordinary Scenes: Striking Miners arrive to heroes’ welcome in Madrid

Incredible images are coming in from Madrid tonight, showing the crowds of over 150,000 people who came out onto the streets to support the striking miners on their Black March.

Tuesday night, the marching miners triumphantly entered the city, having walked halfway across Spain in protest against the government’s austerity cuts and plans to remove subsidies from the coal mining industry.

The miners’ strike has been seen as the People’s Strike, born out of last year’s Indignados demonstrations, and has gained country-wide support as the miners marched form town-to-town, city-to-city.

Tonight’s arrival in Madrid will be the start of larger demonstrations tomorrow against the government’s policies.

While Spain’s mainstream media has ignored tonight’s events, the people of Spain have been sharing photographs and footage on line, of which these are but a small selection.

More can be found here and here. Read more on the story here.

Video by Juan Luis Sánchez for El Diario, via Socialist Worker.
More pictures, after the jump…
With thanks to Maria Salavessa Hormigo Guimil, Isabel Mar Almadan and Teresa Carrington

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘La cabina’: A short film on the terror at the end of the line, from 1972

Made during the last year’s of General Franco’s right-wing dictatorship in Spain, La cabina (The Telephone Box or Phone Booth) is a disturbing little movie, which critiques the insidious potential of technology, and the mass indifference of the public to the plight of the individual.

Originally produced for Spanish television, La cabina was a highly regarded film on its release and deservedly won an Emmy in 1973 for Best Fiction. Directed by Antonio Mercero, who also made the award-winning films Planta 4ª (The 4th Floor) and La hora de los valientes (A Time for Defiance), La cabina contains a superb central performance by José Luis López Vázquez (star of Travels With My Aunt with Maggie Smith), as the hapless victim of a series of increasingly sinister misfortunes.

With thanks to Neil McDonald

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ana Lola Roman: Even Assassins Have Lovers and Romances

A is for Ana

Ah wanna tell ya ‘bout a girl…

Ana Lola Roman is a singer, a musician, a dancer, a choreographer, a curator, a writer. She’s talented and beautiful, funny and smart. Has the looks of a silent movie star, a Louise Brooks in a Pabst film, with a hint of Audrey Hepburn, via Maria Callas and and Frida Kahlo. 

An only child born in the early 1980s into a large Spanish family, that had emigrated to America, “during the whole Iranian Revolution Post-Oil Boom Era” in the late 1970s. The first 5 years were spent in a ghetto of Del City, on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. The family worked hard, worked harder, until they settled into a middle class suburb of OKC.

Her home life was European by nature, American by inclination. A heady mix of European sophistication and American pop, which informed her musical influences.

‘I’d have to say my first influences were a heaping helping of various flamenco singers listened to while in the back of my Grandmother’s Cadillac. It was a weird mix of environments and influences. Gracia Montes and Lola Flores…well, these women had soul, heartache, moxie, and power.

‘Mixed with that and the impending sensations of early MTV. I fell in love with David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” video when I was only 5 years old, developed a keen fascination with Numan’s “Cars”, and felt delightfully inappropriate when I witnessed Billy Idol’s curved lip.

‘I was only 5 years old when these things happened to me. And I knew right then that I wasn’t going to last long where I was. I was going to be restless for the rest of my life and end up somewhere as crazy as New York or Berlin.’

‘Then of course being 10 years old and seeing Siouxsie….that’s when everything fell apart and got worse, then I felt bitten by the vampire when Joy Division came along. That was the end of the road for my Oklahoma Journey.’

More from Ana Lola Roman, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pulp: A lost interview with Jarvis Cocker and Russell Senior, from 1995

The sound quality is a bit rough and the picture rather watery, but there are still plenty of interesting things going on in this ‘lost’ interview with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Russell Senior from 1995.

Recorded during Pulp’s first tour of Spain, the interview was conducted by writer and poet, Bruno Galindo, who asked Jarvis & Senior about the band, their career, their lives, the success of the album Different Class, and easy-listening music.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

This is Hardcore: Jarvis Cocker talks Pulp at Glastonbury 1995


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Last Circus: ‘Saving Private Ryan’ meets ‘Santa Sangre’

“I’m making this film to exorcise a pain in my soul that just won’t go away, like oil stains. I wash my clothes with movies.” — Alex de la Iglesia

Friday at Cinefamily in Los Angeles, there is a special FREE midnight screening of Alex de la Iglesia’s new film, The Last Circus. This looks amazing:

From the hyperdrive mind of one of Europe’s most ruthless cinematic satirists comes The Last Circus: a wicked tragicomic deconstruction of the terribly bloody Spanish Civil War as seen through the eyes of a benevolent-turned-psychotic Sad Clown vs. an evil alcoholic wifebeating Happy Clown! Alex de la Iglesia uses his nation’s greatest historical horror as the backdrop for an uncompromising tale of two equally damaged circus performers manically vying for the heart and soul of their joint obsession: their circus’s alluring female acrobat. Hysterically funny without watering down even a fraction of its harrowing message, the film matches its operatic, wildly unpredictable twists with the equally chaotic reality of life under Franco’s dictatorial rule of Spain in the 1970s. Equal parts Saving Private Ryan and Santa Sangre, The Last Circus is one helluva unique and thrilling time. 35mm, 107 min.

Register for the free Cinefamily screening of The Last Circus here. And make sure you get there on time. Seriously.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Brutal police crackdown on protesters in Spain
01:38 pm

Class War
Current Events


The civil unrest in Spain is taking a distinctly uncivil turn as the police get nasty before the big football match (or at least that is the excuse) and try to forcibly remove the up to 25,000 people who have camped out in Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya. Is it just me or is it only the “business media” in America who seem to be reporting on what’s going on in Spain? As if there is no other box it can be fit into?

Nevertheless, this just in via Business Insider:

Police in Barcelona have attacked protesters that have been camped out since May 15 in the city’s Plaza Catalunya. The protesters originally were trying to apply pressure to the public to not vote in last weekend’s local Spanish elections. Those elections resulted in sharp losses for the country’s Socialist Party government.

Protesters have remained in squares across Spain since the election, demanding government reforms and renewed attention to the country’s unemployment crisis.

The forceful move against the protesters today in Barcelona was staged to clear the square out ahead of FC Barcelona’s Champions League final match against Manchester United tomorrow evening. But to many, it may just appear the beginning of a government crackdown on the country’s protesters.

Videos are now surfacing of the police assault. The video includes violence on unarmed protesters


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rebellion in Spain
02:36 pm

Current Events


Forget the Rapture, Spain is where the action is, as tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the street for a sixth day. In Madrid, some 25,000 protesters occupied the Puerta del Sol Square, while others gathered in Barcelona, Valencia and Seville.

The protests, which started last Sunday, are against the the austerity measures implemented by the current government, the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE), in May 2010. The government’s policies have been blamed for the steep rise in the country’s unemployment to 21.3%, and for the calamitous state of the economy.

The demonstrations come ahead of the May 22 Municipal and Regional Elections, when it is expected the ruling Socialist Party will take a “drubbing”. Political rallies are banned under Spanish law on the day before elections, in order to allow a “day of reflection”. Though a police crackdown was feared by some protesters, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the police were “not going to resolve one problem by creating another”.

The main issue with the protesters is a desire for change:

One of the protesters, Carlos Gomez told the BBC:

This is an historic moment. Thousands of people have been camping in Sol since last Sunday with no flags or affiliation to any party.

Young people, old people, families, it does not matter. Everything is organised. There are tents to place your suggestions to the movement.
There are tents with food, where people are giving to the campers, tents with political debates, even one for childcare. We are not just asking for jobs. We are asking for a change in the political system.

We have no option but to vote for the two biggest parties in Spain, who are more or less the same. They are unable to solve any problem, it is just a nest of corruption.We are tired. In short, we want a working democracy. We want a change..

Paco, Valencia:

The protests are not really anti-government, but rather anti-big political parties, both the one in power and the main ones in opposition.

It’s an anti-capitalism, anti-market ruled society, anti-banks, anti-political corruption, anti-failed democracy, anti-degraded democracy and pro-real democracy protest.

It’s a protest that wants a better, real future, not the future that the government or parties in opposition seem to be able to provide.

The manifestos and proposals are quite left-leaning ideologically, but not linked to any political party, because right now, most of us don’t feel represented by them.

Paula, Vigo, Spain:

The protests began against Spanish electoral law, as we want that to change.

Then other movements started joining in and many political parties tried to make the protests their own.

But this movement is affiliated to no political party whatsoever.

There are young people, old people, unemployed, civil servants, pensioners, immigrants, campaigners for local languages, freelancers, right-wingers and left-wingers all taking part.

It is a beautiful movement.

The protests have brought comparisons with the recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia. However, there is a major difference - Spain’s economy is tied into the Eurozone, which means if the country is bailed out, they will be “owned” by the EU. Where previously Spain could have devalued their currency, this is no longer possible as the Eurozone, which is made up of 17 member states including Spain, has one shared currency - the Euro. Deputy Prime Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcalba has said Spain won’t be another domino (like Greece, Ireland and Portugal) but a “dam protecting the eurozone.”  It may all be just wishful thinking on the government’s behalf, but whatever happens next, tomorrow’s Municipal and Regional Elections will be the first small step towards change; and while demonstrations may be nothing new in Spain, it will be interesting to see where this one goes over the coming days.

More pictures from the protest in Madrid here.

Live stream from Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid, here

Vlog from inside Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Square, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Aliens, bleeding walls and too many cops: The amazing public light art of Madrid’s luzinterrup

The global metropolis is seeing a golden age of street art nowadays, as seen in the evolution from spraycan through stencil/wheatpaste and on to other outdoor installations. The Luzinterruptus crew from Madrid has been doing some amazing light-work lately with some compelling underlying themes.
Their latest, Ejército de platillos volantes desechables (above), saw them land an army of disposable flying saucers in Parque del Oeste, the home of the rebuilt ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod.
Before that, the Luz’ers’ Publicidad herida de muerte (Mortally Wounded Advertising) commented on the thick layer of posters that cover the city’s walls by making them bleed fire.

Some months ago, curator Sebastian Buck in Good Magazine surfaced Luz’s Tanta Policía, para tan Poca Gente… (Lots of Cops for So Few People), in which the crew protested the increased police presence in their East Villagesque Malasana neighborhood by decorating 50 random cars with homemade replicas of the city’s official blue siren.


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment