The Catalan film Pa Negre (Black Bread) has been nominated for 14 awards at this year's Goyas, the Spanish film industry's main prizes (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The film, which has been seen by almost 150,000 Spanish spectators despite it being entirely in the Catalan language, was shown at last year's Sant Sebastian film festival and has also been nominated for 15 Gaudis, the Catalan film industry's awards, but its surprise and overwhelming inclusion on the lists for the Goyas announced yesterday, are an important boost for local movie-makers. It will compete with Balada triste de trompete, Alex de la Iglesia's latest film, which has garnered 15 nominations, as well as Tambien la lluvia (13 nominations) and Buried (10). Director Agustí Villaronga said he was surprised as anyone by the number of nominations Pa Negre had received; "the film has got a lot of factors that aren't in its favour, because it's about a well-worn topic that is the Spanish Civil War. But I think people liked that this conflict was used as a backdrop to the main story."
Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has opened the way for new commercial timetables in an effort to kickstart the local retail industry (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). He spoke yesterday of seeking better coordination between the Spanish autonomous communities as a means to overcome current restrictions that are holding back the national economy on its way to growth and recovery from the financial crisis that has seen unemployment grow to 20 percent. "We will suggest to the communities joint action regarding commercial opening hours, a reduction of the number of activities that require a municipal licence and the incorporation of new instruments of coordination between them," Zapatero said during his presentation of the Prime Minister's Financial Report for 2010. Such coordination is something that has been actively sought by the Spanish business community and was brought up in a meeting between business leaders and the government at the end of November last year to seek solutions to ease the financial difficulties now being faced in Spain. It is hoped that changing shops' timetables would give them greater freedom on when to open.
The Sant Jordi festa will not be extended this year, despite it falling on the Saturday of the Easter weekend, which has led many in the book industry to worry that sales will not be as good as other years (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The Catalan associations of editors and booksellers met yesterday to discuss the possibility of selling books and roses on more days than just April 23rd, the day of Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalunya, when lovers traditionally exchange these gifts. However, in the end, the editors (who first suggested the idea) were faced with the refusal of booksellers to extend the sales period. "We are convinced that Sant Jordi is unchangeable and that any attempt to move it wouldn't go well," said Antoni Daura, the president of the booksellers' association. He pointed to past initiatives to make changes to the day when the streets of Catalunya are filled with crowds perusing the many stalls of books and roses, and said that they had been unsuccessful and hadn't led to increased sales. Daura added that any extra sales on these days wouldn't compensate the additional effort and resources needed to have the stalls operational for longer.