The two best films so far this year are Spanish (according to viewers)

Half a year has already passed. Six months of cinema in which you can already make a small assessment of the titles that have passed through theaters... or, directly, through platforms in an increasingly changing landscape. One of the conclusions of this first half of 2021 is that Spanish independent cinema, the production that feels threatened by the new Audiovisual Lawand directed by women, is the one that has conquered the spectators. Neither Batman neither top gun neither Elvis nor a Viking embodied by Alexander Skarsgård have been able to come up with two intimate titles, with an infinitely smaller budget and with a much less powerful promotional machinery than those great Hollywood blockbusters.

A family of Catalan farmers and another from a Basque town have beaten all of them. They are the protagonists of Alcarràs and Cinco lobitos, the two wonderful Spanish films that have been released this year and that have generated an unusual consensus. It is difficult for viewers not to go out surrendered to the works of Carla Simón and Alauda Ruiz de Azúa. The first won the Berlin Golden Bear, a historic award that a Spanish filmmaker had never achieved. The second also passed through Berlin, but it was at the Malaga festival where it swept away almost all the awards, including the Biznaga de Oro for Best Film, and the awards for Best Screenplay and Best Actress ex aequo for Susi Sánchez and Laia Coast.

Both also point to the next Goya and can say that, at the moment, they are the best films of the year, at least for the public of the Filmaffinity website, in which viewers vote, from 1 to 10, for the films they see. The page makes an average note that even many viewers use as a reference to decide what they see or do not see. In addition, the portal constantly performs rankings with the films with the best scores. They can be seen for years, decades, centuries... In 2022 the ranking is led by these two Spanish films, Cinco lobitos and Alcarràs. Both have the same note: 7.7. A remarkable high. A rating that not only places them in this ranking, but also currently in the 11th and 12th position of the best films in the history of all Spanish cinema with the same note as Thesis, Cell 211 and Elvoyage to Nowhere. Above them, there are all films prior to 1984 in a list led by The Executioner with 8.2.

The films by Simón and Ruiz de Azúa have achieved a critical and public consensus that has not been seen for a long time. Alcarràs is also the highest-grossing Spanish film in national cinema this year, with more than two million euros, a spectacular figure for an auteur film and cinephile. Five little wolves exceeds 500,000 euros. It is to be assumed that both will be in the prize race (Goya, Feroz and Forqué) and their commercial career will be extended. This 2022, according to the Filmaffinity notes, behind them are Top Gun: Maverick, with 7.5; Elvis, with 7.4 and Everything at the same time everywhere with 7.4.

We will have to see what happens with the rest of the 2022 releases, but last year the film with the best classification was The worst person in the world with 7.4. In 2020 it was El padre, with Anthony Hopkins, the most valued with the same note as the Spanish titles, 7.7. A year earlier, only Joker and Parasites exceeded that note, both with an 8. In 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 they would have achieved silver and bronze by just a few tenths.

It is rare for Spanish cinema to lead the Filmaffinity lists. Never in the last ten years has he succeeded. Never, in those same years, had a Spanish film had such a high rating. The one that came closest was Klaus, the animated film by Sergio Pablos, which in 2019 achieved an average score of 7.6 and fourth place. That same year, The Infinite Trench was ranked 8th with a 7.3. The Filmaffinity rankings exclude documentaries, but if they were on the list, it should be noted that in 2020, The Year of the Discovery and Antonio Machado, the Blue Days would have achieved a great position with 7.7, the same score as Alcarrás and Cinco wolves.

Last year, two Spanish films entered the top ten of the best of 2021, according to the rating given by Filmaffinity users. Maixabel and El Buen Patron were in seventh and ninth positions with a score of 7.2. It was much worse for our fiction cinema in 2020, the year of the pandemic in which the first fiction film that appears is in position 33, Life was that. In 2018 Rodrigo Sorogoyen closed the top ten with The Kingdom (which obtained an average of 7.3), and a year earlier, the first Spanish film went to a then debutant Carla Simón. Her first film, Verano 1993, did not have as much consensus as Alcarràs, but its 6.8 served it to be the first Spanish film with a 6.8 and to be ranked 20.

There is half a year ahead for Alcarràs and Cinco lobitos to hold out above the users' vote. In Spanish cinema they will have to fight against the new films by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Alberto Rodríguez, Pilar Palomero, Carlos Vermut and Jaime Rosales. Among those from outside, names like Steven Spielberg or Damien Chazelle. What is clear is that national directors have achieved something very complicated: bringing people to theaters at a time when intimate and small films have it more complex than ever.

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