San Sebastian gets off to glamorous start
by Vitor Pinto
21/09/2007 - The 55th San Sebastian International Film Festival (September 20-29) kicked off last night, promising an edition looking to regain some of the glamour absent in recent years.
Awarded in Toronto several weeks ago, David Cronenberg's Mafia drama Eastern Promises opened the Kursal Centre screenings, with the Canadian director and actor Viggo Mortensen making a splash among the audience and local media.
Several other stars are expected to attend the festival, including the two winners of this year's Donostia Awards, Richard Gere and Norwegian actress Liv Ullman, as well as Sergi López, Samuel L. Jackson, Barbara Hershey and Demi Moore, who stars in the festival's closing film Flawless by Michael Redford.
At the opening ceremony Spanish actress Lola Dueñas gave the FIPRESCI Grand Prix to Romanian director Christian Mungiu, whose multiple award-winning and critically acclaimed abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [trailer, film focus] (see focus) is one of the most anticipated titles screening in the Pearls-Zabaltegi sidebar.
After the frantic opening night, the festival is presenting two competition titles today. Mataharis marks the highly anticipated return of Icíar Bollaín after her successful Take My Eyes [trailer]. The story of three female private detectives – starring María Vázquez, Najwa Nimri and Nuria González – is the first of the two Spanish titles in competition with the second, Gracia Querejeta's Siete mesas de billar francés, scheduled to screen on September 25.
The second competition film of today is Iraqi drama Battle for Haditha by UK director Nick Broomfield.