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The San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept. 20-28) unveiled the first titles to play in its Pearls selection, including two Cannes competitors: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You.
Bong made his international debut in San Sebastian’s Official Selection with Barking Dogs Never Bite in 2000 and later returned to compete with Memories of Murder, which won the Silver Shell for Best Director and the New Directors Award in 2003.
Sorry We Missed You, a look Britain’s precarious gig economy, will mark the 83-year-old Loach’s return to San Sebastian, where he won the Audience Award for 2016’s I, Daniel Blake.
San Sebastian’s Pearls section features films that have premiered at other festivals but are making their Spanish debut. The sidebar awards two prizes: a $56,000 (€50,000) award for best film and a $22,000 (€20,000) prize for best European film. Both awards are given to the Spanish distributors of the winning movies.
Other Cannes screeners playing in Pearls this year including Ladj Ly’s debut feature and Jury Prize winner, the literary adaptation Les Miserables; and Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s The Specials, which closed Cannes in an out of competition slot, about two friends who set up an association for children with autism.
From Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section this year comes Oliver Laxe’s Jury Prize winner Fire Will Come, and best director winner Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, which follows two women attempting to reconstruct their lives at the end of World War II.
Two films that played in Berlin will also be featured in Pearls. Chinese filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai’s So Long, My Son won best actor and actress in Berlin for its story about two couples dealing with social and economic changes in 80s-era China. Amazing Grace, from Allan Elliott and Sydney Pollack, played out of competition in the Berlinale. Elliott reconstructed the footage Pollack shot of two gospel concerts Aretha Franklin gave in 1972 in a Baptist church in Los Angeles.
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