Spanish titles announced by San Sebastian

19 homegrown features and shorts in line-up

by Amber Wilkinson

Quién Te Cantará will compete for the Golden Shell
Quién Te Cantará will compete for the Golden Shell Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
San Sebastian Film Festival announced its complete line-up of Spanish films today, 19 in all - which sees the return of previous Golden Shell winners, Carlos Vermut (Magical Girl) and Isaki Lacuesta (The Double Steps) to the main competition with Quién Te Cantará and Between Two Waters (Entre Dos Aguas). Also joining the competition line-up is Iciar Belain, with Yuli, the third time she has vied for the Golden Shell at the festival, and Rodrigo Sorogoyen, with The Realm (El Reino).

Bollain's film, written by her partner and frequent collaborator Paul Laverty, is inspired by Carlos Acosta's autobiographical No Way Home, about a black dancer who became a leading light of London's Royal Ballet. Vermut's film charts the story of a musician who suffers amnesia shortly before her stage comeback, while Lacuesta brings back two Roma brothers who appeared in one of the director’s first films, The Legends Of Time (A Leyenda Del Tiempo), as teenagers. Sorogoyen, who previously competed in 2016 with May God Save Us, returns to thriller territory with his latest, which again stars Antonio de la Torre, this time as a politician involved in a corruption ring.

Also screening in the official selection, out of competition, is the full series of crime drama Gigagntes, directed by Enrique Urbizu.

Iciar Bollain's Yuli
Iciar Bollain's Yuli Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Additional new titles announced, both special screenings, are Telmo Esnal's Basque musical Dantza, which won the Glocal in Progress Award which aims to champion European productions in non-hegemonic languages, and José Luis Cuerda's Tiempo después, a comedy set in a future dystopia.

The festival will run from September 21 to 29.

The full Spanish films line-up of the festival is below (descriptions, courtesy of the festival):


The Realm/El Reino (Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Spain, France; Cast: Antonio de la Torre, Mónica López, José María Pou, Nacho Fresneda, Ana Wagener, Bárbara Lennie, Luis Zahera, Francisco Reyes, María de Nati, Paco Revilla, Sonia Almarcha, David Lorente, Andrés Lima, Óscar de la Fuente) Manuel, an influential deputy secretary of an regional government who has everything going his way, finds himself fighting for survival when news of his involvement in a corruption ring leaks out.

Between Two Waters/Entre Dos Aguas (Isaki Lacuesta, Spain; Cast: Israel Gómez Romero, Francisco José Gómez Romero) Isra and Cheíto are two Roma brothers: Isra was sent to prison for drug dealing and Cheíto signed up for the Marines. When Isra is released from prison and Cheíto returns from a long mission, they return to San Fernando. Their reunion brings memories of their father’s violent death when they were children.

Quién te cantará (Carlos Vermut, Spain, France; Cast: Najwa Nimri, Eva Llorach, Natalia de Molina, Carme Elías) Lila Cassen was the most successful Spanish singer of the nineties until she mysteriously vanished from one day to the next. Ten years later Lila is preparing her triumphant stage comeback; however, shortly before the long-awaited date she is involved in an accident and loses her memory.

Yuli (Icíar Bollaín, Soain, Cuba, UK, Germany; Cast: Carlos Acosta, Santiago Alfonso, Keyvin Martínez, Edison Manuel Olbera, Laura de la Uz) - Story of the black Cuban dancer who rose from an impoverished childhood to find international acclaim as a ballet dancer with London's Royal Ballet.

Out of Competition

Giants/Gigantes (Enrique Urbizu, Jorge Dorado, Spain) For decades the Guerrero brothers have controlled the drug flow from the peninsula to the rest of Europe. The eldest brother, Daniel, is released from jail after fifteen years, eager to recover his place in the family. The world Daniel left behind no longer exists. His father Abraham is sick, his brother Clemente has disappeared and now his middle brother, Tomás, holds the reins of the family business. The Guerrero brothers' worst enemy will be found at home, among themselves: the education they received from their father to fight like a pack of hounds to survive, no matter what the means, with no moral limits, like Giants. A war between siblings fought to the bitter end.

Special Screenings

Dantza (Telmo Esnal, Spain)
Tiempo Después (José Luis Cuerda, Spain, Portugal; Cast: José Coronado, Daniel Grao, Isak Ferriz, Carlos Librado 'Nene', Elisabet Gelabert, Yolanda Torosio, Sofia Oria) A story about the cycle of life and death, the fight for survival. Where the passage of time is marked by the course of nature. And dance is the language chosen to tell its tale.

New Directors (previously announced)

Notes For A Heist Film/Apuntes Para Una Pelicula De Atracos (León Siminiani, Spain)
The Deer/Oreina (Koldo Almandoz, Spain)
To War/Para la guerra (Franciso Marisé, Cuba, Argentina, Spain)
Journey To A Mother's Room/Viaje Al Cuarto De Una Madre (Celia Rico, Spain, France)


The Angel
The Angel Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Above 592 Meters/592 Metros Goiti (Maddi Barber, short) What life chances are left when a territory is completely altered? On the slopes of the Navarrese Pyrenees, the construction of the Itoiz dam in the 1990s flooded seven towns and three nature reserves. A strip of bare land at the height of elevation 592 today marks a dividing line in the landscape of the valley. Below the level, the water; Above, life goes on.

Belmonte (Federico Veioroj, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain; Cast: Gonzalo Delgado, Olivia Molinaro Eijo, Tomás Wahrmann) Belmonte, interested in portraying the human being, their folds, their disproportion, is soon to put on a painting exhibition at the Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo, but he is more occupied with thoughts of the changes underway in his family: his ex-wife is pregnant by another man, and he realises that his daughter, Celeste, will spend less time with him when her little brother is born.

Los Que Desean (Elena López Riera, Switzerland, Spain, short) In Southern Spain, a peculiar race between colourful hand-painted pigeons will reward not the fastest one, but the one who succeeds in seducing a female pigeon and flying the longest possible time at her side.

Teatro De Guerra/Theater of War (Lola Arias, Argentina, Spain, Germany; Cast: Lou Armour, David Jackson, Rubén Otero, Sukrim Rai, Gabriel Sagastume, Marcelo Vallejo) In 1982, Argentina and UK fought the Falklands War. The war ended with the British military victory and took about 1.000 lives from both sides. While the conflict took place years ago, the sovereignty of the islands is still in dispute. Theatre of War tells the story of how six veterans from the Falklands War came together to make a film. Almost thirty-five years after the conflict, three British and three Argentine veterans spent months together discussing their war memories.

Trote (Xacio Baño, Spain, Lithuania; Cast: María Vázquez, Celso Bugallo, Diego Anido, Tamara Canosa) Daughter. Sister. Carme lives in a mountain village in Galicia with her sick mother and her father Ramón, with whom she hardly speaks. She works in a bakery and feels the need to escape from this oppressive atmosphere, but circumstances always stop her from breaking free. From trotting. From running. Trote takes place during the weekend of the celebrated “Rapa das Bestas,” a symbol of the age-old struggle between man and horse. The village prepares for the celebration. Luis, Carme’s older brother, comes home for a few days with his wife María. Trote is the struggle between man and horse, between reason and instinct.


The Angel/El Ángel (Luis Ortega, Argentina, Spain) Another Day of Life (Raúl De la Fuente, Damien Nenow, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Hungary) Petra (Jaime Rosales, Spain, France, Denmark) Carlitos is a seventeen-year-old youth with movie star swagger, blond curls and a baby face. As a young boy, he coveted other people's things, but it wasn't until his early adolescence that his true calling manifested itself: to be a thief. When he meets Ramon at his new school, Carlitos is immediately drawn to him and starts showing off to get his attention. Together they will embark on a journey of discoveries, love and crime.

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