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Blogging from San Sebastian September 22-30, 2023

Coverage Recap of 61st edition. Photo gallery 2013 Recap of 63rd edition, video I Recap of 64th edition, video I Recap of 65th edition, video / Recap of 66th edition /Recap of 68th edition, video



David Cronenberg awarded in san sebastian: ''The Donostia Award is an encouragement to make more films''

The filmmaker David Cronenberg received the award from Gaspar Noé and Viggo Mortensen sent him a congratulatory video

The Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg received the second Donostia Award of San Sebastian Festival’s 70th edition at a gala held this evening in the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, where the French filmmaker Gaspar Noé presented him with the Festival’s highest honorary award. The gala was followed by the screening of Cronenberg’s latest film, Crimes of the Future, which competed at the last Festival de Cannes.

“I used to think that a lifetime achievement award was a message to me saying ‘It’s time to stop, you’ve made enough films’… A way of telling me: ‘Basta, stop’. But I have since come to realize and especially with an award like this, at a festival with so much history, given in such a beautiful city, that it really is an encouragement to me to make more films", he said.

 "I have often thought that art was a crime, in the sense that it is subversive with respect to the norm and addresses aspects of our human nature which are difficult, violent, subversive, unstable. In a weird way, art does a service to civilization by giving a mode of expression to these things that are necessary for us to understand, in order to continue to have a civil society on earth, and I think even now, more than ever, there is a need for the crime of art given the events that have happened in the last few years. That's why I would say … Vive le cinéma criminel!", he proclaimed. 

Gaspar Noé compared the laureate to a kind of Wizard of Oz who, from a young age, has created "a personal and unique way of approaching the hypnotic essence of cinema" and introduced "new themes and tricks that seemed at once the quest of a biologist, a surgeon and a psychiatrist". "With all his films, he has allowed us to rethink our own existence through an unusual, disturbing and adult prism," he said.

When Viggo Mortensen received the Donostia Award in 2020 and presented his directorial debut, Falling, Cronenberg, who had a role in the film, congratulated him in a video shown at the gala. Today Mortensen returned the greeting and congratulations in another video.

"Dearest David. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition from the San Sebastian Film Festival. You are a living legend among filmmakers and for cinephiles and film lovers around the world. It’s been my great honour and privilege to collaborate with you and to learn so much from you over these many years. Congratulations, dear friend. I hope you spend happy days in the beautiful city of San Sebastian. I hope you have a wonderful night in the beautiful city. I love you, David”, said the actor and director, who spoke a few words in the Basque language at the end of his speech.

The gala was presented by the director of the San Sebastian Festival, José Luis Rebordinos, who praised Cronenberg as a portraitist of "the most hidden side of our human condition, the side we don't usually show but which is a fundamental part of who we really are".


David Cronenberg (Toronto, Canada, 1943) has built his body of work around subjects including disease, violence, sex, the body and scientific experiments, the last of which was strongly present in Shivers (1975), Rabid (1977) and The Brood (1979).

The titles that forged his prestige were Scanners (1981) and Videodrome (1983), one of the peaks of the New Flesh aesthetics. Having told the tale of a scientist’s transformation into an insect in The Fly (1986), he worked with Jeremy Irons in the role of two gynaecological twins in Dead Ringers (1988) and of a diplomat enamoured with an opera diva in M. Butterfly (1993).

He has adapted authors such as Stephen King (The Dead Zone, 1983), William Burroughs (Naked Lunch, 1991) and J.G. Ballard (Crash, Special Jury Prize at Cannes, 1996).

He looked at virtual reality in eXistenZ (1999) and mental illness in Spider (2002), going on to work with Viggo Mortensen on the thrillers A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (Official Selection, 2007), and on A Dangerous Method (2011). These were followed by Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014), for which Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Award in Cannes.

David Cronenberg has also performed as an actor in movies by other directors, such as Nightbreed (Clive Barker, 1990), To Die For (Gus Van Sant, 1995), Extreme Measures (Michael Apted, 1996) and Falling (2020), whose director, Viggo Mortensen, he congratulated by video when the actor was presented with his own Donostia Award at the Kursaal in 2020. Amongst his other accolades are the Order of Canada and having been named Officer of the Order of the Arts and the Letters and Knight of the Legion of Honour in France. In 2014 he published his first novel, Consumed: A Novel.



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About SanSebastian

Barreda de Biurrun Inés

Blogging from the 71th San Sebastian Film Festival
Reporting by Inés Barreda de Biurrun, Bruno Chatelin and Juncal de la Fuente.

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