LIGHT OF MY LIFE directed by Casey Affleck
LIGHT OF MY LIFE directed by Casey Affleck

Ten new films including the latest works by Casey Affleck, Robert Eggers, Hirokazu Koreeda, Pablo Larraín, Céline Sciamma, Makoto Shinkai and Steven Soderbergh, will be featured in the Perlak section at the 67th edition of the San Sebastian Festival. Furthermore, The Climb, a comedy directed by Michael Angelo Covino, will close the section out of competition.

The 2018 Donostia Award-winner Hirokazu Koreeda (Tokyo, 1962) will present La vérité (The Truth) only a few days after opening the competition at the Venice Mostra. Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche will play a mother and daughter in full swing of their score-settling in the latest film by the director who competed in San Sebastian Festival’s Official Selection with Wandafuru raifu (After Life, 1998), Hana yori mo naho (Hana, 2006), Aruitemo, aruitemo (Still Walking, 2008) and Kiseki (I Wish, Best Screenplay Award, 2011). He also won the Audience Award with Soshite chichi ni naru (Like Father, Like Son, 2013) and with Umimachi Diary (Our Little Sister, 2015).

Another competitor in the Italian festival is Steven Soderbergh (Atlanta, USA, 1963), presenting The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. This time round, the author of films including Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989), Erin Brockovich (2000) and Ocean’s Eleven (2001) has chosen a plot focussed on the Panama Papers, the investigation into important personalities with rogue offshore holdings in tax havens.

Pablo Larraín (Santiago de Chile, 1976) will compete for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award with Ema, a feature film competing in Venice about a couple dealing with the consequences of a failed adoption. In the last decade, the Chilean director has participated in Horizontes Latinos with Tony Manero (2007), Post Mortem (2010) and El club (The Club, 2015), and in Perlak with No (2012) and Neruda (2016).

Moreover, Ciro Guerra (Río de Oro, Colombia, 1981) will also compete for the Golden Lion with his first feature film in English, Waiting for the Barbarians, an adaptation of the book of the same name by J.M. Coetzee starring Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson, among others. All of the Colombian director’s previous works have screened at San Sebastian. He won Films in Progress with La sombra del caminante (The Wandering Shadow), which screened the following year in New Directors, and later returned with Los viajes del viento (The Wind Journeys, Horizontes Latinos, 2009), El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent, Horizontes Latinos, 2015) and Pájaros de verano (Birds of Passage, Perlak, 2018).

A number of films previously screened at the Cannes Festival will also be included. Having presented Naissance des pieuvres (Water Lilies, Un Certain Regard, 2007), Tomboy (Berlin Panorama, 2011) and Bande de filles (Girlhood, Quinzaine des Realisateurs and Perlak, 2014), Céline Sciamma (Pontoise, France, 1980) will show Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, tale of the relationship between an artist and her model, winner of the Best Screenplay award at the French competition. The Un Certain Regard selection saw the participation of The Climb, feature film debut by the actor and producer Michael Angelo Covino, who will close Perlak out of competition with this film about the long and picturesque friendship between two men over years of laughter, heartbreak and rage.

The Lighthouse, the eagerly-awaited second film from Robert Eggers (Lee, USA, 1983) following The Witch(2015), stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, now in the role of two lighthouse keepers on a distant island who slip slowly downwards into madness. Set in the early 19th century, this film shot in black and white won the Fipresci Prize at the Cannes Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, the section in which the Europa Cinemas Label Award also went to director Nicolas Pariser (Paris, 1974). Having made his feature film debut with Le grand jeu (The Great Game, 2015), he now directs Alice et le maire (Alice and the Mayor), where an elderly mayor (Fabrice Luchini) contacts a brilliant philosopher (Anaïs Demoustier) to fill a sort of existential void.

Perlak will also screen a film premiered in Berlin’s Panorama section. Following his debut on the other side of the camera with I’m Still Here (2010), actor Casey Affleck (Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA, 1975) directs and stars Light of My Life, a film about the journey of a father and his daughter in a world from which women have virtually disappeared. Lastly, following its release in Japan and imminent screening in Toronto, San Sebastian will host the European premiere of Tenki no ko / Weathering With You, the latest animated film from Makoto Shinkai (Nagano, Japan, 1973), helmer of works including Hoshi o ou kodomo (Journey to Agartha, 2011) and Kimi no Na wa / Your Name (2016), a former European premiere in San Sebastian’s Official Selection.

These ten titles join the eight already announced, signed by Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole), Alan Elliott and Sidney Pollack (Amazing Grace), Bong Joon-Ho (Gisaengchung / Parasite), Ken Loach (Sorry We Missed You), Ladj Ly (Les Misérables), Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (Hors normes / The Specials), Oliver Laxe (O que arde / Fire Will Come) and Wang Xiaoshuai (Di jiu tian chang / So Long, My Son). All of the works compete for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award, which includes two prizes: one for best film (50,000 euros) and the other for best European film (20,000 euros).

THE CLIMB

MICHAEL ANGELO COVINO (USA)
Cast: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, Gayle Rankin
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Not in competition

Kyle and Mike are best friends who share a close bond, until Mike sleeps with Kyle’s fiancee. The Climb is about a tumultuous but enduring relationship between two men across many years of laughter, heartbreak and rage. It is also the story of real-life best friends who turn their profound connection into a rich, humane and frequently uproarious film about the boundaries (or lack thereof) in all close friendships.

ALICE ET LE MAIRE / ALICE AND THE MAYOR

NICOLAS PARISER (FRANCE – BELGIUM)
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Anaïs Demoustier, Nora Hamzawi, Antoine Reinartz, Maud Wyler

The mayor of Lyon, Paul Théraneau, is in a delicate position. After 30 years in politics, he is running out of ideas and feels as though he’s suffering a sort of existential void. To overcome the adverse situation, Paul decides to hire a brilliant philosopher, Alice Heinmann. The two strike up a dialogue thanks to which their respective characters undergo a drastic change in the way they see and understand the world. Europa Cinemas Label Award at the last Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes.

EMA

PABLO LARRAÍN (CHILE)
Cast: Mariana di Girolamo, Gael García Bernal, Paola Giannini, Santiago Cabrera

After a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer, Ema, a reggaeton dancer, sets out on an odyssey of personal liberation, in this incendiary drama about art, desire, and the modern family.

LA VERITÉ / THE TRUTH

HIROKAZU KOREEDA (JAPAN – FRANCE)
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke

Fabienne is a French movie star. She lives surrounded by men who love and admire her: her new partner, her ex-husband, her agent… She decides to publish her memoires and her daughter Lumir returns from New York, where she lives with her family. The reunion between mother and daughter soon turns to confrontation: truths will come out, scores will be settled, there will be talk of love and resentment. And all observed with astonishment by the men. Meanwhile, Fabienne shoots a sci-fi film in which she plays the daughter of a mother who never ages.

LIGHT OF MY LIFE

CASEY AFFLECK (USA)
Cast: Casey Affleck, Elisabeth Moss, Anna Pniowsky

A father and a daughter journey through a world from which women have virtually disappeared. The tale of an over-protective father and of the difficult task of educating and teaching children to live so that they may one day stand on their own two feet.

PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU / PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

CÉLINE SCIAMMA (FRANCE)
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Noémie Merlant, Valeria Golino

French Brittany, 1770. Marianne is an artist commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloise, a young girl who recently left the convent. Héloise doesn’t accept her fate as a married woman and refuses to pose, meaning that Marianne must work in secret. To do it, she pretends to be her lady-in-waiting, so that she can observe the girl by day and paint her at night. A very special relationship will arise between the two women.

TENKI NO KO / WEATHERING WITH YOU

MAKOTO SHINKAI (JAPAN)

The first year of high school, summer. Hodaka runs away from his home on an outlying island to come to Tokyo. He falls into poverty quickly, but after many days of solitude, at last, finds work as a freelance writer for a dubious occult magazine. Rain falls day after day as if taking its cue from his life. One day, though, Hodaka meets a girl in one corner of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Hina is a cheerful, strong-willed girl who lives alone with her little brother due to certain circumstances. She also has a strange power. “Hey, it’s gonna clear up now.” Little by little, the rain stops and the cityscape give off a beautiful glow. Hina has the power to make the sky clear just by praying…

THE LAUNDROMAT

STEVEN SODERBERGH (USA)
Cast: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone

A widow investigates an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of Panama City law partners exploiting the world’s financial system. Steven Soderbergh directs.

THE LIGHTHOUSE starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson
THE LIGHTHOUSE starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson

THE LIGHTHOUSE

ROBERT EGGERS (USA – CANADA)
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

On a remote island off the New England coast, two lighthouse keepers trapped and isolated by an apparently endless storm lock horns in an escalating series of confrontations as tensions materialize between the two and a series of mysterious real or imaginary forces seem to take hold of both of them.

WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS

CIRO GUERRA (ITALY)
Cast: Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, Gana Bayarsaikhan

The Magistrate, administrator of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire, looks forward to an easy retirement until the arrival of Colonel Joll, whose task it is to report on the activities of the ‘barbarians’ and on the security situation on the border. Joll conducts a series of ruthless interrogations. The treatment of the ‘barbarians’ at the hands of the Colonel and the torture of a young ‘barbarian’ woman combine to lead the Magistrate to a crisis of conscience and a quixotic act of rebellion.

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