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Ben Kingsley and his latest film to open Seville

His latest film, “Fifty Dead Men Walking”, will open the Festival with the first public screening

SEFF ’09 will present Sir Ben Kingsley with the Honorary Giraldillo in recognition of his distinguished career and for his contribution to cinema. Ben Kingsley is one of the undoubted great names of the British stage and one of the most cultivated actors from the fertile, academic English school. He will be receiving the award in the edition which the Festival is dedicating to the United Kingdom. He played the lead in “Elegy”, by the director Isabel Coixet, in which he succumbed to the charms of Penélope Cruz. The Catalonian director will present him the award at a special gala.

Also, his new film, “Fifty Dead Men Walking”, will be the first screening at the sixth edition of the Seville Festival which the public will be able to see in the Nervión cinemas.

Sir Ben Kingsley won the Oscar for his imposing performance as the pacifist leader Mahatma Gandhi in the film of the same name. The actor and director Richard Attenborough offered him the role which no actor of Indian origin would have turned down, and which brought him fame and international recognition.
In his extensive career, Kingsley has appeared in such important titles as “Schindler’s List” where he played the intelligent accountant of Oskar Schindler, the German businessman who saved the lives of over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. He has played many varied characters in films such as “Maurice”, directed by James Ivory; “Death and the Maiden”, a disturbing dramatic thriller by Polanski; “Searching for Bobby Fischer”, in which he gave a memorable performance as a real-life character, the chess teacher Bruce Pandolfini; “Bugsy”, where he was perfect in the role of the Machiavellian gangster Meyer Lansky; “Sexy Beast” and “House of Sand and Fog”, a thriller with Jennifer Connelly. The actor received Oscar nominations for the last three films.

In 2005 Roman Polanski called him again to play in one of the greatest classics in the history of England: “Oliver Twist”, by Charles Dickens. He also played Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank and the only member of the family who survived the horrors of the Holocaust in the 4-hour production of “Anne Frank”.

“Fifty Dead Men Walking” tells the story of Martin McGartland, a double agent infiltrated in the IRA at the end of the 80s during the conflict in Northern Ireland. The British actor Jim Sturgess plays McGartland, a young Catholic from Belfast who was recruited by the British services in 1989 to join the IRA as an infiltrated agent. When his relationship with Fergus, a British agent played by Ben Kingsley, is discovered, McGartland is captured and tortured by the Republicans, but he manages to escape. Since then, he has lived with a secret identity and his whereabouts are unknown. The title of the film comes from a phrase by McGartland, who says that the information he gave the British saved at least 50 lives during the conflict.

All these films have ensured a place for Sir Ben Kingsley among the great actors in the history of cinema.

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