Ben Affleck's 'Argo' a Hit at San Sebastian

On the first day of competition, the film about Americans trapped in revolutionary Iran drew acclaim.

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – Critics and audiences at San Sebastian Saturday applauded Ben Affleck’s  Argo, screening in the 60th San Sebastian International Film Festival’s Official competition.

At the afternoon screening, the packed Kursaal auditorium erupted in applause at pivotal moments throughout the film — unusual at Spain’s A-list festival.

Affleck, accompanied by the film’s Alan Arkin, addressed questions about the film, the relationship between the United States and Middle East and the evolution of Hollywood since the 70s in addition to what his children thought about this shaggier 'do in the movie.

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"My kids hated the hair. I told them I have to keep the hair like this for work," he shared. "And they said, 'Yeah, what kind of work would want you to keep that kind of hair?’ Out of the mouths of babes."

Affleck said his goal in making the film, which is based on a true story linked with the Iranian hostage crisis and a covert mission to sneak U.S. diplomats out of Iran, was to stick to the facts.

"First of all, you’d never believe this story if it weren’t true," Affleck said. "But my goal was for it to be factual. I have friends that are Democrats and friends that are Republicans. I have friends that are Americans and those that live abroad. I wanted everyone to see it and be able to take something from it because it was based on facts."

San Sebastian is off to a strong start as Affleck’s film ran the same day as Pablo Berger’s Snow White, a black and white silent film starring Maribel Verdu and Angela Molina which also premiered to resounding accolades from critics.

“Snow White is a beautiful film, with beautiful images and a very well-told story. It’s only problem is coming after The Artist,” said Carlos Boyero, critic for Spanish daily El Pais.

San Sebastian runs on Spain’s picturesque Basque coast Sept. 21-29.


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