San Sebastian film festival opens

19th September 2008, Comments 0 comments

Star-studded event highlights new movies from Spain, US and Britain.

19 September 2008

SAN SEBASTIAN -- The San Sebastian film festival opened Thursday in the northern Spanish coastal city, with The Other Man by British director Richard Eyre launching the nine-day event.

The movie starring Liam Neeson tells the story of a man who discovers his wife's infidelity after her death.

The wife's lover is played by Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who was among the first stars to arrive in San Sebastian with his wife Melanie Griffith.

Banderas, who lives in the US, told reporters he had just been to a dinner attended by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"I am not American, but my daughter is, and I do not want to leave her future in the hands of (Republican candidate) John McCain", said Banderas, who is due to receive a lifetime achievement award at the festival.

The award, known as the Donostia Prize, will also be presented to US actress Meryl Streep.

Other top names at the festival included US director Woody Allen, who arrived with his wife Soon-Yi to present Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a story about love without prejudice shot in the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Oviedo.

The US-Spanish co-production stars Spanish actor Javier Bardem, who was also present at the festival.

Eighteen movies will compete for the festival's top prize, the Golden Shell.

They include Genova by Michael Winterbottom on a family seeking new lives after their mother’s death, the family drama Still Walking by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda, and Two-Legged Horse, a story about a poor and disabled boy by Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf.

Others include Laila's Birthday by Palestinian Rashid Masharawi, Fear Me Not by Denmark's Kristian Levring, the love story Dream by South Korean Kim Ki-duk and Frozen River by US director Courtney Hunt, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Festival.

Regarded as one of Europe's top cinema events, the San Sebastian film festival seeks to combine quality with glamour and innovation with more conventional cinema, organizers said.

An evening gala presented by Spanish actress Belen Rueda and journalist Edurne Ormazabal was scheduled to officially inaugurate the 56th annual festival.

[dpa / Expatica]

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