Part of the thinking that lies behind the classic retrospective that is organised each year at the Festival is that it should be devoted to filmmakers whose work especially deserves to be highlighted, or whose films for one reason or another have ended up being forgotten. This year however, the retrospective goes beyond this, as it rescues from oblivion a director and scriptwriter like Muriel Box, whose film output is practically unknown.
At the presentation of the book that accompanies the retrospective each year, copublished once again by the San Sebastián Festival and the Spanish Film Archive, its authors Quim Casa and Ana Cristiana Iriarte stressed how important this “bold gamble” was. As Casas explained, it’s not the same remembering the complete work of a director like Joseph Losey, who the Festival devoted a retrospective to last year, and who after all enjoys a certain degree of critical acclaim and has some well-known films to their credit, as putting forward a name that most people, even film buffs, will only have heard of thanks to this retrospective.
Casas and Iriarte both highlighted that Box was a convinced feminist who was one of the very rare British female directors in the 1950s which meant she had to swim against the tide of the system. She was also a director who dealt with a series of themes that were taboos in British society at that time such as bigamy, abortion, prostitution and teenage delinquency.