Golden couple of Spanish cinema return to open Cannes festival

It was where Javier Bardem memorably declared his love for Penelope Cruz in 2010 -- now the golden couple of Spanish cinema will open this year's Cannes film festival together on Tuesday.

Golden couple of Spanish cinema return to open Cannes festival
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will return to Cannes this week. Photo:AFP

The Oscar-winning actors both star in Iranian master Asghar Farhadi's Spanish psychological thriller “Everybody Knows”, which will kick off the festival and is up for the top Palme d'Or prize.

Watch the official trailer:

The fiercely private couple's glowing return to the spotlight in Cannes comes after Bardem emotionally proclaimed his feelings for Cruz there eight years ago as he accepted the best actor award for “Biutiful”.

“I share this joy with my friend, my companion, my love, Penelope. I owe you a lot and I love you so much,” he said as Cruz blew kisses to him from her seat and her eyes welled with tears.

Cruz has also won at Cannes, sharing the 2006 best actress prize with five other women for their work in acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar's drama “Volver”.

READ ALSO: Discovering Madrid through the movies of Pedro Almodóvar 

First Spanish Oscar-winners

Bardem, 49, and Cruz, 44, have two children together and married in 2010 on an island in the Bahamas owned by their friend, US actor Johnny Depp.   

They also share a notable distinction — they are respectively the first Spanish man and woman to win an acting Oscar.    

Bardem won his best supporting actor Academy Award in 2008 for his role as a determined murderer in the Coen brothers' “No Country for Old Men”.   

The following year Cruz took home the best actress Oscar for playing a fiery artist in Woody Allen's “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.   

But the couple live discreetly in a Madrid suburb, where they try to keep the spotlight away from their son Leo, seven, and daughter Luna, four.   

They have starred in nine films together, including last year's “Loving Pablo”, by Spanish director Fernando Leon de Aranoa, in which Bardem plays Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and Cruz a journalist who falls in love with the infamous narco.

After filming a particularly difficult scene, Bardem joked that Cruz “did not want to see me anymore”.

“She told me: 'Get rid of the moustache. Shave and go sleep in the living room',” he recalled in an interview in March.

'Passion for everything'

Bardem was born in 1969 on Spain's Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. His mother, actress Pilar Bardem, raised him after she separated from his father.

Bardem dedicated his Oscar to his mother and her line of the family, which includes many actors.

Cruz was born in 1974 to a modest family in a working class suburb of Madrid.   

Her father owned a store and her mother ran a beauty salon, where Cruz said she learnt to act by observing how clients behaved. 

Both stars often say that they owe everything to the late Spanish director Bigas Luna, who brought them together for the first time in his 1991 movie “Jamon, Jamon”. 

Cruz was just 17 at the time, and Bardem 22.

In the film, their characters have a famous sexual encounter on top of a pinball machine, one of the most torrid scenes in Spanish cinema.   

The two then crossed paths in several other movies, but only began dating after shooting “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” in 2007 in Barcelona.   

While Cruz usually avoids mentioning her husband in interviews, Bardem has spoke of his wife's passion to the media.   

“She feels passion for everything. It's what I find attractive in her. You have to have beauty and know how to be sexy. Penelope has both,” Bardem told GQ magazine last year.

Both declare themselves leftwing and were criticised in Hollywood in 2014 for their fierce condemnations of Israeli bombings in Gaza.   

This year they took part in a campaign by a Spanish NGO which rescues migrants at sea. 

   By AFP's Laurence Boutreux


French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.