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      Spanish films take flight at Traverse City Film Festival

      Each year at the Traverse City Film Festival, it seems as if one country emerges as a powerhouse for unique and interesting films.

      Often it's France. Sometimes it's Norway.

      But this year, it's Spain.

      The Film Festival, which is in it's ninth year, is featuring three Spanish films that Founder, President and Oscar-winning director Michael Moore is particularly proud of.

      The first film, a science-fiction piece called "The Last Days" that Moore calls "brilliant."

      In the apocalyptic thriller, something has happened to the environment where if you were to leave your home, you would die.

      The film centers around the question of what people would do in that situation and how society would continue to live on.

      "The Last Days" or "Los Ultimos Dias" is scheduled to be shown at the Lars Hockstad Auditorium on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. and at the Old Town Playhouse Saturday at 6 p.m.

      The next film, a funny, romantic comedy called "Bypass" is about a woman who is terminally ill with a congenital heart defect. Her college friends return home to say goodbye, and confide in one of the young men that the woman, Maria, has been secretly in love with him for years.

      Feeling badly, the man, Xabi, pretends to be in love with her to make her last days better.

      Things take a comical twist when Xabi's affection causes Maria to miraculously recover. He is now forced to juggle his real-life girlfriend, who happens to be pregnant, and his friend who he is trying to help survive.

      This film is being shown at the Volunteer Screening on Monday at the Lars Hockstad Auditorium at 6 p.m. It will also be shown at the Lars Hockstad Auditorium Thursday at 6 p.m. and at the State Theatre Sunday at noon.

      The last Spanish movie, a comedy called "The World is Ours," takes place in an economic downturn not too different from the one our country, and parts of Europe, are currently facing.

      Two men who have lost everything decide to rob a bank - but they don't know how.

      While robbing the bank at gun point, a man comes in with a bomb strapped to his chest.

      "It's truly a cross between the great Al Pacino film 'Dog Day Afternoon' and 'Dumb and Dumber,'" Moore said.

      The Film Festival website calls this one a "great look at the collapse of Spanish society, this is a comedy not to miss."

      You can catch this one on Saturday at the Lars Hockstead Auditorium at 3 p.m. and again in the same place at 9 p.m.

      For a full list of films and ticket information, visit the Traverse City Film Festival website. For all coverage of the Film Festival, visit our special festival webpage where you'll find stories, videos and a full schedule of events.