Hollywood by the sea: Spain’s top film festival

Hollywood by the sea: Spain’s top film festival

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Every year Tinsel Town comes to the San Sebastian Film Festival, a show case for some of the top films you will watch next year. Expatica reports.

A hundred teenage girls scream, mobile phone cameras flash in blinding unison s the limo draws up to the five-star hotel.

Someone famous gets out of the limo and walks into the hotel. No-one appears to know who The Star was, but no matter. Hey, it’s film festival time, so enjoy the Hollywood glamour while you can.

Welcome to San Sebastian International Film Festival, when the entire film industry comes to this beautiful city perched in north west Spain for a week to do business and savour some of Tinsel town.

It turns out Richard Gere was the star in question. He is here to receive a prize for his lifetime achievement. In fact, the deal is he lends San Sebastian his star appeal for a couple of days and they make him king of the castle. Easy and everyone’s happy.

Every year a Hollywood star is invited as guest of honour. Robert Mitchum and Al Pacino are just a few of the names to grace the festival.

But aside from that, this is where some of the most exciting films you will see next year across Europe are aired for the first time.

The gem of this year’s festival without a doubt is ‘Earth’, a BBC natural history drama, filmed with hi-tech cameras producing the most unbelievable insights into how our planet is being changed by global warming.

It shows how flowers bud, how a meadow changes colour during Spring and how the Great White Shark earns its reputation as the peril of the deep.  The story follows a humpback whale and her offspring, an elephant and her baby  and a family of polar bears. Their migration habits are changing as a result of the Earth getting drier and it is not good news.

Believe me, it will astound.

But back in make-believe land, there has been a host of much-fancied films like ‘Eastern Promises’, directed by David Cronenburg, about the Russian mafia. Michael Radford (‘1984’, ‘Il postino’) premiered his new film ‘Flawless’ starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore, which was well-received and should prove popular.

‘The Battle for Haditha’, directed by Nick Broomfield, centres on the very topical subject of Iraq and was said to be one of the best at the festival so far.  

For German cinemagoers, ‘Reclaim Your Brain’ is a fun romp about how a ruthless TV producer turns revolutionary to expose a plot to fix TV viewing numbers and feed the masses rubbish. It’s director is the well-known Hans Weingartner.

‘La Maison’or ‘The House’ directed by French director Manuel Poirier, has received mixed reviews for its typically French mix of sex, romance and realising an impossible dream.

And a fine Spanish film may called ‘Mataharis’ may well become a surprise hit; directed by Iciar Bollain, it tells the story of three female detectives and how their personal lives mix with their personal ones. It’s subtle and sharp stuff.

But these are only a few of the scores of films on show. Many will never see general release, but might turn up on your TV in years to come.

The festival runs from 20-29 September every year.

For more information see: www.sansebastianfestival.com



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