Spain has its own Welcome to the Sticks
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- Ocho apellidos vascos, which explores the cultural differences between an Andalusian man and a Basque woman, with romantic comedy undertones, made €2.75 million in its opening weekend
Jokes on regional differences within the borders of a country always work well. And when it comes to cinema, this is truer than ever, as was shown in French Welcome to the Sticks [+see also:
film profile] (2008) by Dany Boon and its Italian remake Benvenuti al Sud [+see also:
film profile] (2010) by Luca Miniero. A new release is proving this is also true in Spain with Ocho apellidos vascos [+see also:
film profile] (read the news story) by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro, which made €2.75 million in its first weekend in cinemas, becoming this year’s most successful release.
The revenue from this weekend, accompanied by relatively good reviews and a great welcome from the public (word of mouth has been its greatest ally), could push the production by Lazona and Kowalski Films with Telecinco Cinema to become this year’s most watched film.
Numbers following its release in 299 cinemas (a high distribution number without being excessive), for an average of over €9,000 per screen are of especial note because of the hardship Spanish cinema is currently going through. Even if Ocho apellidos vascos clearly had a commercial appeal, as well as an artistic and media one, Spanish productions often struggle to translate this potential into connecting with audiences.
Ocho apellidos vascos’ screenplay was written by Borja Cobeaga and Diego San Juan, two specialists of regional satire, and even more so when it comes to the Basque region. The main character is Rafa, an Andalusian gentleman whose life turns upside down when he meets a woman who is the first to have ever been able to resist his charm. Her name is Amaia and she is Basque. After he decides to win her over, he travels to the Basque region and pretends to be a local in order to be noticed.
(Translated from Spanish)
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