San Sebastian Fest to Feature Three Retrospectives

Sidebars on French filmmaker Jacques Demy, contemporary American film noir and the latest in digitally shot Chinese films.


MADRID -- The 59th San Sebastian International Film Festival will feature three different retrospectives honoring French filmmaker Jacques Demy, contemporary American film noir and the latest in digitally shot Chinese films, organizers announced Friday.

Calling him a key figure to French cinema, the festival said it would pay homage to Demy by screening his films like Bay of Angels, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Lady Oscar.

“Although initially grouped with other young directors belonging to the nouvelle vague movement, Demy’s work eventually became so unique and difficult to classify that he set off along his own, absolutely personal path. His original approach to “singing cinema” and his exquisite sense of artistic direction always shunned the movie fashions or trends of the moment,” the festival said in a statement.

The festival, which runs Sept. 16-24 in Spain’s northern Basque region, said it will also group modern American film noir in the “American Way of Death: American Film Noir 1990-2010” sidebar.

Calling the thriller “one of the genres that has weathered the best the passing of time, most likely because portraying the dark side of societies across the world has always been its true philosophy,” the festival will group 40 films portraying an unflattering view of the American dream.

The cycle includes important works by moviemakers like Quentin Tarantino, Michael Mann, Abel Ferrara, Ethan and Joel Coen, Clint Eastwood, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and David Fincher. Some titles included are: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Wild at Heart (1990) Miller’s Crossing (1990); Seven (1995), Fargo (1996), Collateral (2004) and Zodiac (2007).

“Digital Shadows: Last Generation Chinese Film” clusters 18 films from 2000-2010 shot by filmmakers for digital media and leaving a testimony of Chinese society.

“Digital media permit directors to take more chances, to be more daring, to explore hybrid documentary/fiction formats and combine images shot by themselves with others, reused and re-contextualized. Rather than mere nostalgia or simple social protest, the titles brought together in this retrospective show us some of the more unusual angles of Chinese reality thanks to plural points of view and varied approaches,” the festival said.