Viva makes a triumphant return to Manchester this month for its 19th year. Showcasing highlights from Spanish and Latin American cinema, the acclaimed international festival embraces the best new films and directors for 16 plentiful days of premieres and viewings. Commencing with the welcome return of Café Cervantes (led by Iñaki Abad and Kepa González), Cornerhouse is the place to be for your fix of the finest Hispanic dramas, comedies and documentaries, as well as special guest Q&As. Here are our picks of the bunch…

Lobos De Arga (pictured)
From the festival that premiered REC comes a Spanish parody of the horror genre. With ‘subtle nods to The Shining and An American Werewolf In London,’ Lobos De Arga sees an unsuccessful writer return to his hometown for the first time in 15 years to supposedly receive an award, only to find himself entangled in a deadly hundred-year-old curse. With blood, gore and monsters intact, it’s a thrilling fusion of horror and comedy, for fans of both genres. Showing Tuesday 12 and Friday 22 March. Or to ease your way into it, try the one-hour introduction of Spanish werewolves on Tuesday 12; looking at the role the mythological creature has played within the horror genre.

La Chispa de la vida / As Luck Would Have It
Cult director Álex de la Iglesia brings the big names to Viva in this dark comedy drama with performances from screen siren Salma Hayek and Spanish TV star José Mota. After a freak car accident places him in the eye of a media storm, the film follows out-of-work publicist Roberto, as he attempts to save his family’s financial situation by selling exclusive interview rights to the highest bidder. Showing Friday 15 March.

Violeta se fue a los cielos
Winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance 2012, Violeta se fue los cielos tells the story of Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist and visual artist, Violeta Parra. Based on a biography written by her son Ángel Parra and directed by Andrés Wood, the moving biopic traces Parra’s compelling rise to becoming one of Chile’s greatest cultural icons. Showing Wednesday 13 and Saturday 16 March.

Fri 8 Mar – Sun 24 Mar, Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, M1 5NH, Tel: 0161 200 1500, times and prices vary,

Fri 8 Mar - Sun 24 Mar
Hannah Phillips
Published on:
Fri 8 Mar 2013