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65th San Sebastian Film Festival
22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2018. 66th Edition  > Related News > Crossroads
Friday, September 7th, 2018

Every film festival is a crossroads at which different ways of understanding the art of film come together, a meeting point where safe and recognisable paths branch off onto unexpected tracks, or cross others which, despite having a rather uncertain destiny, may precisely be even more tempting. There is a risk of getting lost at all crossroads, but that week during which filmmakers from all over the world establish an enriching dialogue with their spectators should be, above all, an exponent of getting lost, of the pleasure of wandering off the usual routes to discover new landscapes and experiences.

Some of the titles competing this year for the Golden Shell at this 66th edition of the San Sebastian Festival and which invite us to take these suggestive deviations are original re-writings of the conventions of genre cinema brought to us by filmmakers of marked style and character: Peter Strickland with his ironic approach to fantasy movies in In Fabric, or Kim Jee-woon's striking narrative on showing us a dystopic future in Illang; the sharp revision of romantic comedy expressed by Juan Vera in El amor menos pensado, and the farce sieved through the filter of José Luis Cuerda's unclassifiable humour in Tiempo después; Claire Denis treading the terrains of science fiction with High Life and Valeria Sarmiento revisiting the romantic saga in Le cahier noir, the biopic allied with the docudrama of Icíar Bollaín's Yuli, and drama seen from Carlos Vermut's surprising angle in Quién te cantará, through the peculiar sensitivity of Naomi Kawase in Vision or filtered through Louis Garrel's sense of humour in L'homme fidèle; the critical take on traditional 'period' films launched by Markus Schleinzer with Angelo; the marked realist and social accent impressed on the thriller by Enrique Urbizu, Jorge Dorado and Rodrigo Sorogoyen in Gigantes and El reino (The Realm), or the unexpected intricacies travelled by intrigue in Benjamín Naishtat's film Rojo; the fascination and the beauty with which Telmo Esnal approaches traditional dance in Dantza... Other directors including Brillante Mendoza (Alpha, The Right to Kill), Liu Jie (Baby), Isaki Lacuesta (Entre dos aguas), Felix Van Groeningen (Beautiful Boy), Simon Jaquemet (The Innocent) and Tuva Novotny in her directorial debut, Blind Spot, opt for a familiar style, direct and uncomplacent, when depicting all kinds of social problems. In one way or another, all develop ways of relating with a world and film tradition which shun common places.

There are two possible ways of escaping from the well-trodden paths that no longer hold surprises for us. One is to follow the steps of the new female and male directors who have no fear of setting out along paths never previously taken, like all of the names selected this year for the New Directors section and many of those present in Horizontes Latinos or Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, filmmakers from Europe, Asia and Latin America who reflect widely differing experiences, but whose common denominator is a virgin perspective, far removed from prejudices and conventions. Another possibility of escape, on the other hand, consists of having faith in experienced walkers who, precisely thanks to their perfect knowledge of the terrain, introduce us to uncharted corners: Jean-Luc Godard, Carlos Reygadas, Ana Katz, Bi Gan, Julio Hernández Cordón, Albertina Carri, Bruno Dumont, Lola Arias, Lucile Hadzihalilovic or Jean-Gabriel Périot will be, among many others, some of those guides who will lead us far from all cinematic orthodoxy. Furthermore, the retrospective dedicated to the British director Muriel Box launches a shrewd feminine perspective of classic genres including comedy, drama or film noir.

Places without paths and still to be explored also open before us at a time when the audiovisual world is living one of the most turbulent and fascinating moments of its history. And all film festivals are obliged to draw these new paths, to back those brave enough to take them. The new Elías Querejeta Film School becomes a reality this year and the San Sebastian Festival actively collaborates in the training of what will be its first students, just as it embraces talented audiovisual artists through Ikusmira Berriak in order that they may develop their future projects in San Sebastian, or presents by means of the Nest Film Students meeting the short films by new promises. The Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum maintains its commitment to the production of future films and this year turns its light towards the promising film industries of the Baltic States, while the backing of other titles in post-production remains the objective of initiatives such as Films in Progress (for Latin American cinema) or Glocal in Progress (for European films shot in non-hegemonic languages). A film festival, at the end of the day, which can also act as a compass for this joyful and always beneficial journey it offers to all of its spectators.


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