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TIFF Cinematheque Presents - Alex de la Iglesia

30 Jan 2015

TIFF Cinematheque Presents - Alex de la Iglesia

Alex de la Iglesia is one of the foremost most entertaining horror comedy action directors today. He occasionally slips away from horror to pure comedy but his ingenuity for black humour is unmatched. More outrageous than Pedro Almodovar and Dario Argento, his films are often just as camp as well.

As luck would have it (which is the title too, of one of his films), most of his films never get a release in Canada. So, this is the chance to get to see this immense talent at work.

The best of his films that are a must-see include:





See these and you know what crazy is.

For complete schedule of his films, venue, ticket pricing and showtimes, please check the tiff website at:



Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


As luck would have it, this satire on social media is one of the more serious and less enjoyable of the Iglesia films. A loving husband has an accident with a iron rod jammed into the back of his head while visiting an ancient ruined theatre. He becomes an instant celebrity and he with his agent, attempt to milk out as much men for this mishap by giving an interview and product placements. Meanwhile the wife (Selma Hayek) just wants her husband intact. The funny parts involve the major and museum director who will stop at nothing to preserve their careers. But the humour is few and far in between. The satire goes nowhere. But the good part is that despite the film’s letdown, Iglesia keeps his film a compelling watch forms start to end.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov7PpY-I7Ko

EL CRIMEN FERPECTO (THE FERPECT CRIME) (Spain/Italy 2004) ***** Top 10

Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


The brilliant starting credits used with cut up letters indicate the film’s title as Crimen Perfecto before re-arranging to CRIMEN FERPECTO. As inventive and funny as this start, Iglesia’s non horror flick is his best and funniest work- a film I would dare say is impossible to dislike. Rafael (Guillermo Toledo) is a store salesman, delivered in the Yeyo’s Departmental store where he lives at night and beds the most beautiful girls. He has a pact with Security and gets away with it. His philosophy is to take what he can get as he does not believe in mediocrity. But when the departmental stores ugliest employee Lourdes (Monica Cervera) blackmails him after she witnesses him accidentally killing his new supervisor, Rafael has to devise a perfect crime of murder. The film gets blacker and blacker and the number of laugh-out loud segments are countless - the funniest being the dinner scene where Lourdes invites Rafael to meet her crazed family. The ferpect comedy! I have seen in thrice and will see it again.

Trailer: http://www.metacritic.com/movie/el-crimen-perfecto-the-perfect-crime/trailers/1084395

DAY OF THE BEAST (EL DIA DE LA BESTIA) (Spain/Italy 1995) ****

Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


DAY OF THE BEAST is a black horror action horror comedy and displays the best of Iglesia. A professor of theology, Father Angel Berriartua (Alex Angulo) enters a church to confess to the priest there that he has deciphered the exact time of the birth of the antiChrist - which happens to be Christmas Day. The outrageous and hilarious plot involves him committing multiple sins, so as to sell his soul, so that he can be at the birth of the Antichrist and kill it before it can destroy the world. The priest and a death metal (the music) salesman (Santiago Segura) kidnap the host of a occult TV show (Armanda De Razza), so he can help them in summoning the devil. The ritual requires the blood of a virgin (very difficult to find one these days) and while on his quest to get it, the priest accidentally kills the salesmen's mother and close friend. During the ritual, in which the main characters go on an "acid trip", the devil manifests and, not being fooled by the priests actions, he does not reveal the location of the Antichrist.  The film reaches its madcap ed and eve me, the film does not disappoint. here is an excellent climatic scene in which the heroes are stuck at the top of a coke sign at the famous Plaza de la Sol Madrid.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA2FjEOyl9I

Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


The film is THE SUNSHINE BOYS to the extreme, Iglesia style. The story sees comedy duo Nino (Santiago Segura) and Bruno (El Gran Wyoming) shooting themselves on stage as the audience applauds in laughter. The film flashes back to the events that led to this disaster. It is a love hate, but mostly hate relationship of the two that brings the audience to their knees laughing whenever Nino gets slapped by Bruno during their routines. So, Nino is slapped thousands of times while Bruno gets known as the asshole slapper. It takes a while for the comedy to get on its feet but once there, the humour is fast and furious. The hilarious situations include a drill bit driving into Bruno’s foot, drug smuggling and stealing of girlfriends. Iglesia who co-wrote the script proves once again, he is never short of ideas. 

THE LAST CIRCUS (Spain 2011) ****
Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


THE LAST CIRCUS is Iglesia at his most madcap, but also him at his best - the story of 4 clowns and a gorgeous acrobat, set in the brutal Spanish War. It all starts with the reasoning that everyone will be afraid of a clown in a dress wielding a machete, so the clown massacres an entire platoon. Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime. Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father's career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life - he's simply not funny and is only equipped to play the role of the Sad Clown. He finds work in a circus where he befriends an outlandish cast of characters, but as the Sad Clown he must take the abuse of the brutish Happy Clown Sergio, who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment.  There are lots of laughs in this surreal horror action comedy, but beware as the film also contains lots of graphic violence sex, killings and blood! And among this is a romantic love story. Iglesia is the only director who can make a hilarious film about a sad clown that is not funny. Iglesia’s most ambitious film!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8sEZAB13_o

Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


To me, the most outrageous and violent of all the Iglesia films. Not for the faint of heart, the film is a bit too much to take that the film was cut direct to video under the new title DANCE WITH THE DEVIL. I originally viewed the film on TV but TIFF provides the original uncut version, so be fully prepared for a wild ride. The film also benefits from two of the wildest actors alive today - Rosie Perez (as Perdita Durango) and Oscar Winner Javier Bardem (as Romeo) who play lovers that go on a killing spree while attempting to kill two young American youths for a religious sacrifice. A super zealous DEA agent played by James Gandolfini goes after them all the way to Mexico. Watch for classic segments like the one in which Romeo picks up Perdita or the rousing couple fight scene which begins with Perdita burning Romeo’s hand with her cigarette butt.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtBNKQK8MtE

Directed by Alex de la Iglesia


Iglesia’s latest horror action comedy sees sees hero Jose (Hugo Silva) and his gang of misfits robbing a gold store around the Plaza de la Sol in Madrid. They highjack a cab, making off with a bag of wedding rings and escape to the impenetrable forest inhabited by a group of cannibalistic Basque witches in the Navarrese town of Zugarramurdi. The head witch is Graciana (played with zealous glee by Carmen Maura) who uses Jose’s son, Sergio (Gabriel Delgado) as sacrifice to bring to life a goddess to rule the world. Jose took the son on the robbery because it was his week to have the boy and he needed the robbery money to pay alimony to his ex-wife, Silvia (Macarena Gomez). It takes a third of the movie before the witches are encountered. A bit overlong, but Iglesia ensues that the mayhem never stops and that there is a surprise, if not shock around every corner. There are plenty of original jokes as well as gruesome scenes that include pulling out teeth with a plier, chopping off digits and force feeding of frogs’ blood. The action scenes are extremely well shot especially the robbery segment in the Plaza de la Sol, Madrid’s busiest square and the flying fight between mother and daughter at the film’s climax. And in the midst of all the action, all the characters are continually bitching about something or other. Priceless entertainment - Iglesia style!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivHEza4t0wY

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