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I met a Spanish girl once. She took me to the front of the bar where the band was playing and danced like only a beautiful, carefree Spanish girl could. She ticked all the boxes of my imagination of the Spanish female. The 13th Spanish Film Festival, however, is not that easy to stereotype. The 40 films on the list are as eclectic as a tapas feast but they all retain a certain alluring Spanish flavour.

Opening night film Pagafantas (Friend Zone) is a hilarious rom-com with an unexpected McLovin-esque protagonist. But unlike a Hollywood rom-com that follows a tight script of clichés, Pagafantas is a refreshing take on the tired genre. The much anticipated Habitación en Roma (Room in Rome) by Julio Medem, to put it crassly, sounds like Brokeback Mountain with hot Spanish chicks. Of course, if you’ve seen Medem’s Sex and Lucia or Chaotic Anna, you’d know he’s anything but crass. He’s a master at choreographing pure poetry in motion.

And then there is the Mexican gem Chinco dias sin Nora (Nora’s Will) – this is a winner, a nuanced love story from beyond the grave with a sense of humour. I didn’t dance with the Spanish girl at the bar that day because let’s be honest, not everyone does it like the Spaniards do.

5 – 16 May. Palace Academy Cinema. 3a Oxford St, Paddington. Palace Norton Street Cinema, 99 Norton Street, Leichhardt. $12-$50. 1300 306 776, boxoffice.mca-tix.com.au and spanishfilmfestival.com

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