The National Hispanic Cultural Center’s ongoing Spanish film series takes an entertaining diversion this month with Vampires, Demons and the Goth. This mini-retrospective leapfrogs from 1929 to 2005 to examine the history of the Spanish horror genre. The series begins on Thursday, Feb. 5, with 1959’s El Cebo, about a seemingly timid man who hides a second pathological personality guilty of kidnapping and murdering little girls. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the series continues with 1988’s Amanece, Que No Es Poco, a surrealist comedy in which an engineering professor returns to his native Spain to discover that his mother has been murdered. On Feb. 19, it’s Jess Franco’s delirious 1998 flick Vampire Blues and on Feb. 26, it’s Guillem Morales’ 2005 thriller El Habitante Incierto. All films are presented in Spanish with English subtitles. All films begin at 7 p.m. in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater. Entrance is free, but seating is limited. For more info on Vampires, Demons and the Goth, log on to albuquerque.cervantes.es.
Also at the National Hispanic Cultural Center this month, the “100 percent independent, New Mexican film” Descansos will receive its world premiere. On Friday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. the Bank of America Theater will show the film and host a 30-minute question and answer session with the film’s director and producers. Descansos consists of eight vignettes about love, loss and death and the many steps we take in between. The story spans all the way across northern New Mexico--from Albuquerque to Taos to the tiny village of Chimayo--and concentrates on why people make the Lenten pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo every year. Special attention is paid, of course, to the many roadside shrines known as descansos. The film was written, directed and edited by Chris Roybal of Arroyo Seco, N.M. Admission to this special screening is free. The NHCC is located at 1701 Fourth Street SW. For more information on Descansos, log on to theincrediblefilms.com.
This Sunday, Feb. 8, the 2009 Italian Film Festival gets underway in lavish style with a concert by the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra playing classic Italian movie music at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1 p.m.) and a pranzo degli spuntini dinner catered by 18 popular local restaurants (3 p.m.). At 5:30 p.m., it’s Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 classic The Bicycle Thief screening at Nob Hill’s Lobo Theater. Screenings continue at the Lobo and nearby Guild Cinema through the following Sunday. It’s a familiar collection of titles, including Divorce Italian Style, Cinema Paradiso, Amarcord, The Monster and The Godfather Parts I-III. Ticket sales help benefit UNM’s Children’s Hospital. You can snag them by visiting Borders Books and Music and Ecco Gelato or by logging on to italianfilmfest.org.