After the Cannes Festival, the rest of the European film festivals begin to show their cards. The first has been the San Sebastián Film Festival, which has announced that Laurent Cantet, Terence Davies, Lucile Hadzihalilovic and Claire Simon will compete for the Golden Shell at the 69th edition of the festival, which will be held from September 17 to 25.
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These names are added to those of the Peruvian Claudia Llosa and the Argentine Inés Barrionuevo, who are also part of the first preview of the films in the Official Section. A roster of filmmakers and filmmakers completed by newcomers Alina Grigore, Zhang Ji and Tea Lindeburg.
The announcement corroborates a line of programmatic work that shows the festival’s concern for equality and representativeness in its competitive sections: six of the nine announced films are directed by women, whether they were established directors or first-time filmmakers.
Frenchman Laurent Cantet is already a regular suspect in the Zinemaldia. With his debut, Human Resources, won the New Directors award. In 2012 he presented in the Official Section Foxfire (Silver Shell for best actress for Katie Coseni) and several of her works have been screened at Perlak, including Class, Palme d’Or in Cannes. Now come back with Arthur Rambo, in which Rabah Naït Oufella plays a successful writer who will have to deal with the hateful messages he posted on social media in the past.
Terence Davies, to whom the Festival dedicated a retrospective in 2008, will try his luck hunting the Golden Shell for the third time, having done so with The Deep Blue Sea in 2011 and Sunset song in 2015. In this edition, the British director will compete with “Benediction”, a biopic in which Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi play Siegfried Sassoon, an antiwar soldier and poet who survived World War I, at different times in their lives.
More women and more debutantes
Another well-known and award-winning competitor is the French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic, who already has two awards in Donostia. In 2004 he won the New Directors Award with his debut Innocence, and in 2015 he won the Special Jury Prize with his film Evolution. In this edition it will present Earwig, adaptation of a novel of the same name by Brian Catling, a success in his country.
Claudia Llosa, winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival in 2009 with The scared tit, premieres in the Official Section with Rescue distance. The scared tit It was the first Peruvian film to be nominated for an Oscar in the non-English-speaking category, an award known today with the Best International Film nomenclature. Rescue Distance is “a dizzying and hypnotic tale of fears and the power of maternal love,” according to the festival. A film that he has co-written with Samanta Schweblin, author of the novel on which the film is based, published in our country by Random House Literature.
Inés Barrionuevo also participates for the first time in the Official Selection with her fourth feature film, Camila will be out tonight, whose young protagonist faces the changes caused by a move to Buenos Aires and by entering a traditional private school.
Another debut that may be eligible for the Golden Shell will be that of the French Claire Simon, who presents Vous ne désirez que moi / I Want to Talk about Duras, an approach to the interview that the journalist Michèle Manceaux conducted with Yann Andrea, Marguerite Duras’s lover in her later years.
In addition to the well-known names, in this first preview of the Zinemaldia there are three newcomers, including the Romanian actress and screenwriter Alina Grigore, who will compete in con Crai nou / Blue Moon, drama about a young woman who lives in the oppressive environment of a dysfunctional family.
Also noteworthy is the debut of Zhang Ji, who until now has worked as a cinematographer, Ping Yuan Shang De Mo Xi / Fire on the Plain, a thriller set in the Chinese city of Fentun, where a young police officer reopens an investigation into mysterious crimes that occurred years ago.
The Danish Tea Lindeburg closes the list with Du som er i himlen / As in Heaven, film inspired by the Danish literary classic published in 1912 by Marie Bregendahl. The action takes place at the end of the 19th century on a farm where members of a large family await their ninth child while the older sister prepares to go to study.