The international premiere of the film The Song of Names, starring Tim Roth, Catherine McCormack and Clive Owen, will close the Official Selection at San Sebastian Festival’s 67th edition, out of competition, on September 28. The Canadian François Girard, screenwriter of Le violon rouge (The Red Violin, 1998), Silk (Soie, 2007) and Boychoir (2014), directs this drama set against a historical and musical backdrop, with a soundtrack by Howard Shore.
Based on the novel of the same name by Norman Lebrecht, The Song of Names tells the story of Martin, a 9-year-old boy at the outbreak of World War II who meets Dovidl, a recent Polish-Jewish refugee to London and gifted violin prodigy. But hours before Dovidl’s debut performance he vanishes without a trace, causing shame and ruin for their family.
This isn’t the first time that François Girard (Saint-Félicien, Canada,1963) will have directed a film with music as its main theme. In Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993) he took an original approach to the real life of the talented pianist Glenn Gould, and later, in Le violon rouge, he imagined the adventures of a violin that travels from hand to hand over several centuries and different continents. Moreover, Boychoir follows the story of the exacting director of a boys’ choir played by Dustin Hoffman. Girard is also known for the film adaptation of Alessandro Baricco’s famous novel, Soie
In previous years, the Festival has showcased films starring actors featured in The Song of Names. Clive Owen visited San Sebastian to present Children of Men (2006) in Pearls and returned to open the Official Selection with Intruders (2011), by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Tim Roth was featured in Horizontes Latinos, twice in the same year, 2015, with Gabriel Ripstein’s 600 millas (600 Miles) and Michel Franco’s Chronic.
THE SONG OF NAMES
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Not in competition
FRANÇOIS GIRARD (CANADA – UK – HUNGARY)
Cast: Tim Roth, Clive Owen, Catherine McCormack, Jonah Hauer King, Magdalena Cielecka
As Europe erupts into World War II, 9-year-old Martin comes to love his new adopted brother Dovidl, a gifted violin prodigy of the same age and recent Polish-Jewish refugee to London. But hours before Dovidl’s debut concert performance at the age of 21, he vanishes without a trace, causing shame and ruin for their family. A lifetime later, a young violinist shows a 56-year-old Martin a stylistic flourish that could only have been taught by Dovidl.