Sunset Song and High-Rise head to San Sebastian

Davies and Wheatley films join competition.

by Amber Wilkinson

Agyness Deyn in Sunset Song, which will compete at San Sebastian
Agyness Deyn in Sunset Song, which will compete at San Sebastian Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Terence Davies' Sunset Song and Ben Wheatley's High-Rise have been announced in the latest batch of eight titles competing for the Golden Shell at the 63rd San Sebastian Film Festival next month.

The long-anticipated Scottish-shot Sunset Song - which will have its world premiere at Toronto Film Festival - is a coming-of-age story set at the start of the 1900s, concerning a farmer's daughter, adapted from the novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

Wheatley's High-Rise - adapted from JG Ballard - concerns a doctor in a dystopian future who moves into a tower block in search of anonymity, only to find class war breaking out.

Mamoru Hosoda’s anime The Boy And The Beast will be the first animated film to be a contender in the official competition.

The full list of new titles are below (including synopses from the festival):

21 Nights With Pattie
21 Nights With Pattie Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
21 Nights With Pattie (21 Nuits Avec Pattie) Jean-Marie Larrieu, Arnaud Larrieu (France)

French directors Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu’s new film tells the story of Caroline, a woman who cuts her vacation short to organise the funeral of her mother, Isabelle, who has died suddenly at her house in the Pyrenees. She befriends Pattie who looks after her mother’s house. But her funeral preparations take an unexpected twist when her mother’s body mysteriously disappears.

The Boy And The Beast
The Boy And The Beast Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
The Boy And The Beast (Bakemono No Ko) Mamoru Hosoda (Japan)

The latest film from the master of anime, Mamoru Hosoda is the first animated film to compete at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Kyuta is a solitary boy who lives in Tokyo, and Kumatetsu is a supernatural creature isolated in an imaginary world. One day the boy crosses the border into the imaginary world and makes friends with Kumatetsu, who becomes his friend and spiritual guide. The encounter opens the way to all sorts of adventures.

The Demons
The Demons Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
The Demons (Les Démons) Philippe Lesage (Canada)

While a series of kidnappings of young boys is raging in Montreal, Felix, 10, finished school in Old Longueuil, an ordinary suburb of peaceful appearance. Imaginative and sensitive, Felix, like many children, is afraid of everything. Little by little, the childhood imaginary demons mix with demons of a disturbing reality.

Evolution Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Evolution Lucile Hadzihalilovic (France/Belgium/Spain)

After winning the New Directors award in 2004 with Innocence, Lucile Hadzihalilovic returns to San Sebastian with her new film. On a remote island inhabited solely by women and young boys, Nicolas and the other boys are subjected to mysterious and sinister medical treatments.

Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise
Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
High-Rise Ben Wheatley (UK)

British director Ben Wheatley presents his last work, based on J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name. Dr Robert Laing moves into his new apartment seeking soulless anonymity, only to find that the building’s residents have no intention of leaving him alone. As he struggles to establish his position, Laing’s good manners and sanity disintegrate along with the building.

Moira Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Moira Levan Tutberidze (Georgia)

This is a dramatic story of the family living in the seaside city. After Mamuka is released from prison, he tries to rescue his family from poverty. His mother is working abroad, his father is wheelchair-ridden, and his unemployed younger brother appears to be attracted by criminals. Mamuka takes a loan and buys a small fishing boat. But fate is often blind and merciless

Sparrows Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Sparrows Rúnar Rúnarsson (Iceland/Denmark/Croatia)

A coming-of-age story about the 16-year old boy Ari, who has been living with his mother in Reykjavik and is suddenly sent back to the remote Westfjords to live with his father Gunnar. There, he has to navigate a difficult relationship with his father, and he finds his childhood friends changed. In these hopeless and declining surroundings, Ari has to step up and find his way.

Sunset Song Terence Davies (UK/Luxembourg)

An intimate epic of hope, tragedy and love at the dawning of the Great War, adapted from the Scottish novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

These titles join the Official Selection Spanish productions previously announced:

  • Amama: When A Tree Falls, Asier Altuna
  • The Apostate, Federico Veiroj
  • Un Dia Perfecte Per Volar, Marc Recha
  • Eva Doesn’t Sleep, Pablo Agüero
  • The King Of Havana, Agustí Villaronga
  • Truman, Cesc Gay
  • And out of competition
  • Mi Gran Noche, Álex De La Iglesia (out of competition)
  • Far From The Sea, Imanol Uribe (special screenings)
  • No Estamos Solos, Pere Joan Ventura (special screenings)

Share this with others on...

'I think, through the screen, we can gain a truthful reality' Dāvis Sīmanis on the cyclical nature of history and why we need to learn from it in Maria's Silence

Some form of melancholy Aylin Tezel on exploring intersecting journeys in Falling Into Place

Turning up the heat Sean Garrity, Jonas Chernick and Sara Canning on The Burning Season

Campillo’s swipe at 'paradise' Red Island director trounces childhood demons and colonisation in the sun

'President' Dolan returns to Cannes Director 'humbled and honoured' to head Un Certain Regard jury

More news and features

We're bringing you all the latest from the Glasgow Film Festival.

We're looking forward to SXSW and BFI Flare.

We've recently covered the Berlinale, Sundance, Palm Springs, the French Film Festival, DOC NYC, the UK Jewish Film Festival and the Leeds International Film Festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.