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CORRECTED: New Woody Allen film to open Spanish film festival

Woody Allen’s new romantic comedy “Rifkin’s Festival”, is to open Spain’s San Sebastian film festival in September, which will also be its international premiere, organisers said Thursday.

Shot last summer in and around the northern seaside resort itself, the story centres on an American couple who come to its international film festival and are swept up by the fantasy of cinema and the charm and beauty of Spain.

Characteristic romantic entanglements ensure when she has an affair with a brilliant French film director and he falls in love with a beautiful Spaniard who lives in the Basque city.

The film, which features Austrian actor Christoph Waltz and US actress Gina Gershon, is the latest project in the 84-year-old American director’s cinematic love affair with major European cities.

Produced by Mediapro, it also features French actor Louis Garrel and Spanish actors Elena Anaya and Sergi Lopez.

Despite the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus pandemic, the film festival — the biggest such event in the Spanish-speaking world — is set to go ahead as planned, running from September 18-25.

It will be the second time that a Woody Allen film has opened the festival after his “Melinda and Melinda” did the honours in 2004 when the festival gave him a lifetime achievement award.

The screening will be a significant moment for Allen who’s seen his career stalled as a result of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, which revived decades-old allegations he sexually abused his adopted seven-year-old daughter in the early 1990s.

He has consistently denied the claims which were first levelled by his then-partner Mia Farrow and was cleared of the charges following two separate investigations.

But the sexual harassment firestorm has fuelled a growing backlash against him and last year his most recent romantic comedy “A Rainy Day in New York” ended up being released in various European and Latin American countries rather than in the US.