Three European filmmakers, two Asians and two Latin Americans direct the films in the first preview of the Official Section of the San Sebastián Festival. The latest films by Claire Denis, Simon Jaquemet, Kim Jee-woon, Naomi Kawase, Benjamín Naishtat, Valeria Sarmiento and Markus Schleinzer will be competing for the Golden Shell at the 66th Festival.
Claire Denis (Paris, 1946), the director of Beau travail or White Material, will be competing for the first time for the Golden Shell with High Life. In this science-fiction film, Denis is working once again with Juliette Binoche, after Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sun Shine In) – which won the SACD Award in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes last year with Philippe Garrel – and Robert Pattinson.
For Naomi Kawase (Nara, Japan, 1969) this will be her second time in the Official Section, after she presented Genpin, which won the Fipresci Award, in 2010. Now, after taking part in Un Certain Regard and in the Official Competition at Cannes with her last two films, An / Sweet Bean and Hikari / Radiance, respectively, she will be coming to San Sebastián with Vision, shot in her native province. The film also stars the French actress Juliette Binoche and the Japanese actor, Masatoshi Nagase (An, Hikari, Paterson).
Kim Jee-woon (Seúl, 1964) will also be competing for the Golden Shell for the second time. After presenting Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da / I Saw the Devil in San Sebastián in 2010, the South Korean director will be taking part with Illang: The Wolf Brigade, the Korean remake of Jin-Roh, the anime written by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) about the Keberos Panzer Cops, a violent police force.
This is also the second time that Valeria Sarmiento (Valparaíso, Chile, 1948) will be competing as a director in the Official Section, after presenting Elle more than two decades ago, in 1995. But Sarmiento’s links to the Festival go back to a previous decade, at the beginning of her career, when she won the Grand Prix Donostia for Best New Director in 1984 with Notre mariage, her first fictional feature film. The last time that she took part in the Festival was in Zabaltegi, where her film As Linhas de Torres / Lines of Wellington was programmed in 2012. The French/Portuguese co-production Le Cahier Noir / The Black Book is inspired by the novel Livro Negro de Padre Dinis, by Camilo Castelo Branco, who also wrote Mistérios de Lisboa, which was edited by Sarmiento and which won Raúl Ruiz the Silver Shell for best director in San Sebastián (2010). El Livro Negro de Padre Dinis can be considered to be a prequel of the character that also appears in Mistérios de Lisboa.
Rojo is the third feature by Benjamín Naishtat (Buenos Aires, 1986), whose debut film, Historia del miedo (History of Fear), was one of the films chosen in Films in Progress 24, competed in Berlin in 2014 and was also screened in Horizontes Latinos. With his second film, El movimiento (The Movement, 2015), he formed part of the official section in Locarno. Rojo, with a cast including Darío Grandinetti, Andrea Frigerio and Alfredo Castro, is set in Argentina in the 1970s.
Markus Schleinzer (Vienna, 1971), who competed in the official section at Cannes with his debut film, Michael, will be presenting his second feature film, Angelo, in San Sebastián. Schleinzer, who wrote together with the director, Michael Sturminger, the screenplay for Casanova Variations, which competed for the Golden Shell in 2014, now focuses on the story of an African who is Europeanised by force in a story starring Makita Samba, Alba Rohrwacher and Larisa Faber.
In 2014 Simon Jaquemet (Zurich, 1978) premiered his award-winning first film, Chrieg / War, in the New Directors section at the Festival. With his second film, Der unschuldige / The Innocent, he is back in San Sebastián in the Official Section, with the portrait of a woman trapped by her past in a religious community.
The other films that make up the Official Section will be announced in the next few weeks.
The San Sebastián Festival runs from 21-29 September.