Review by Peter Gray (18+)
From April 29th through to May 13th, Brisbane will play host to the Spanish Film Festival and one title likely to strike a chord with our audience is ‘Hidden Away’ (‘A escondidas’), a joyous yet heartbreaking tale detailing the love between two male teenagers, one Spanish, the other a Moroccan immigrant.
At 15 years of age Spaniard Rafa (German Alcarazu) is experiencing all the trials and tribulations of adolescence, and his friends are intent on chasing girls and setting Rafa up in the process. Unbeknownst to them, Rafa has his eyes set on Ibrahim (Adil Koukouh), and is more than content to spend his days travelling round the city, specifically to the hostel where Ibrahim resides. The film respectfully taps into that feeling of experiencing connection for the first time as we follow the boys and their attempt to conceal their true emotions for one another. It’s expectedly awkward, but that grounds the film in a reality we’ve all come to know so well, and never once does it feel like these two superb young actors are performing – you believe their love.
As the dictatorship of the schoolyard and the harsh realities of society cross paths, ‘Hidden Away’ comes alive when it forces Rafa and Ibrahim to the point of desperation, the emotional weight of the film never feeling more heavy than it does here. Superbly crafted on all accounts, the soundtrack is a real delight, ‘Hidden Away’ is a feature worth seeking out at this year’s festival for those who appreciate grand cinema and the ability to tell a story that doesn’t talk down to its receptive audience.
‘Hidden Away’ will be screening on May 6th at Palace Centro and May 11th at Palace Barracks as part of the 2015 Spanish Film Festival. For more information please visit www.spanishfilmfestival.com