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San Sebastian 54th Official Selection presentation


This year’s Festival will pay homage to the career of fabulous creator Ernst Lubitsch, dedicating its thematic retrospective to emigration, a harsh reality of our time repeatedly appearing in other epochs and always energetically reflected by the cinema.
At its presentation on 12th May, the Festival unveiled its 54th official poster in addition to the posters representing the different sections. A meeting with friends from the areas of press and culture at which we also revealed some of the activities organised for the September Festival.

The poster for the 54th Official Selection has taken its inspiration from the thriller genre responsible for screeds of masterpieces in the history of cinema, such as the one inspiring this year's poster: The Lady from Shanghai, by Orson Welles, 1947.

The creation of this poster meant a reencounter with old Festival friends who really put themselves out for us: Marisa Paredes offered her image, photographed by José Luis López de Zubiría and orquestrated by Toni Galindo and Ana Obradors, from the company Art&Maña, responsible for conception and production of the poster, now back on the track of their long and fruitful relationship with the San Sebastian International Film Festival.


That Ernst Lubitsch (Berlin, 1892-Los Angeles, 1947) was one of the greatest creators in the history of film is an uncontested claim recognized the world over. A highly unusual filmmaker of a style demanding its own name: his inimitable, elegant and intelligent manner of making people laugh was labelled The Lubitsch Touch.
Billy Wilder, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Woody Allen among so many other geniuses have always looked up to a master: Lubitsch. It was he who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ninotchka (1939). And who dared, in full swing of the Nazi offensive, to ridicule Hitler in the ferocious, hilarious anti-fascist pamphlet: To Be Or Not To Be (1942). These are fully recognised achievements by the creator of comedy masterpieces including The Shop Around the Corner (1940) or Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938). However, less presence is enjoyed by the extraordinary anti-war drama Broken Lullaby (1932) or the large part of his work made while movies were still silent, from the inheritance of Oscar Wilde in his version of Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925) to the delicious inventiveness of Die Austernprinzessin (1919). The San Sebastian Festival will take an in-depth look at the complete works of Ernst Lubitsch in a retrospective completing an overview of a director who was more than just a stereotyped master of sophisticated comedy, underlining the palpable traces left by his cinema even today.
Emigration is one of today’s major issues. Cinema, sensitive to the problems of the moment, has portrayed the desire of hordes of citizens to improve their lives by changing horizons in search of something better. Today’s migratory movements from Africa to Europe features with outstanding cinematographic energy in European and particularly Maghrebian films. This said, emigration is not a factor exclusive to our present day, but a phenomenon repeated down through the centuries, similarly considered in retrospective by the cinema. Among others are the migratory movements towards the USA from Europe or other American countries, from China to Brazil, Sweden to Norway, Portugal and Spain towards the richer parts of Europe... with the implied linguistic difficulties, cultural or religious contrasts, rejection by the natives of the receiving countries, outbreaks of racism, etc.
Emigrants will take the shape of a season of approximately 30 movies raising audience awareness of this burning problem while surprising them with the quality of their making. The titles featuring in this season are expected to include Gaijin Os Caminhos da Liberdade (Gaijin, Roads to Freedom), by Tizuka Yamasaki (Brazil, 1980); Saïd, by Llorenç Soler (Spain, 1999); Alambrista!, by Robert Young (USA, 1977); Joe Hill, by Bo Widerberg (Sweden,1971); O salto, by Christian de Chalonge (France, 1968); Pelle Erobreren (Pelle the Conquerer), by Bille August (Denmark, 1987); Espaldas mojadas, by Alejandro Galindo (Mexico, 1955); L´Horizon perdu, by Laïla Marrakchi (Morocco, 2000); Utvandrama (The Emigrants) and Nybyggarna (The New Land), by Jan Troell (Sweden, 1971); America America, by Elia Kazan (USA, 1963); Bwana, by Imanol Uribe (Spain, 1996); In This World, by Michael Winterbottom (UK, 2002); Las cartas de Alou, by Montxo Armendáriz (Spain, 1990); Desembarcos, by Jeannine Meerapfel (Argentina, 1989)…
The person to whom our contemporary retrospective will be dedicated will be unveiled along with the content of the other Festival sections over the coming months.
From San Sebastian, INES BARREDA


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