“Chicogrande,” from Mexican award-winning director Felipe Cazals, will open the 58th edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival (SSFF). The film will compete at the festival along with a crop of freshly announced films to make the official lineup.
Cazals’ film, which stars Damián Alcázar, recounts the true story of Pancho Villa’s invasion of Columbus in New Mexico, and tracks the subsequent punishment expedition launched by U.S. troops. This year marks Cazals’ third visit to the festival with a competing film. In 1976 his film “Canoa” competed at SSFF after garnering the Special Jury Prize at the Berlinale, and in 1987 Cazals returned to SSFF with “Lo del César.”
Additional Asian titles will be represented at the festival by Chinese director Liu Hao’s “Addicted to Love,” whose “Chen Mo and Meiting” landed him a Special Mention at Berlinale in 2002. “Akma-reul Bo-at-da” (I Saw the Devil) from Korea’s Kim Jee-Woon will also be in competition.
German filmmaker Sophie Heldmann will be on hand this year in San Sebastian to screen her directorial debut “Satte Farben vor Schwarz” (Colors in the Dark). Starring Bruno Ganz and Senta Berger, Heldmann’s drama follows a couple who have been together for 50 years as they cope with a terminal illness that befalls one of them. The film is also in contention for the Kutxa-New Directors Award.
See below for the full synopses of the new additions to the SSFF lineup.
[Synopses provided by SSFF]
“Chicogrande” (Competition Opening Film), Mexico
Director: Felipe Cazals
Cast: Damián Alcázar, Daniel Martínez, Juan Manuel Bernal, Iván Rafael González, Tenoch Huerta, Patricia Reyes Spíndola
Following the frustrated invasion of Columbus, Pancho Villa retreats, only to be injured in the leg by Carranza’s troops in the city of Guerrero. The North Americans, on Mexican territory, launch a massive campaign to capture him dead or alive. Convalescent, Villa takes refuge deep in the mountains. Chicogrande, a young follower of Villa, is given the task of finding medical assistance and is prepared to give up his own life in the attempt.
“Addicted to Love,” China
Director: Liu Hao
Cast: Niu En Pu, Jiang Mei Hua
Old Pop, a retired Beijing factory worker, likes going to the market with his old colleague, Lao Chang. One day, he recognizes a face he had been unable to forget: his first love, Li Ying. In spite of their children’s reluctance, the two start meeting in secret. Discovering that Ma Ying has Alzheimer, Old Pop plays little games with her to exercise her mind. As in his award-winning Chen Mo and Meiting (2002), Liu Hao uses non-professional actors and treats an unusual love affair with a poetic and humorous touch.
“I Saw the Devil,” South Korea
Director: KIM JE-WOON
Cast: LEE BYUNG-HUN, CHOI MIN-SIK
Kyung-chul is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. He has committed infernal serial murders in diabolic ways that one cannot even begin to imagine and his victims range from young women to even children. The police have been chasing him for a long time, but unable to catch him. One day, Ju-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief, becomes his prey and is found dead in a horrific state. Her fiancé Soo-hyun, a top secret agent, decides to track down the murderer himself. He vows to do everything in his power to take bloody vengeance against the killer, even if it means that he must become a monster himself to get the monstrous and inhumane killer.
“Colors in the Dark,” Germany-Switzerland
Director: Sophie Heldman
Cast: Senta Berger, Bruno Ganz, Leonie Benesch, Carina Wiese, Barnaby Metschurat, Thomas Limpinsel
Satte Farben vor Schwarz / Colours in the Dark is a love story, the story of Anita and Fred who have been married for 50 years. The autumn of their lives has long begun, but they continue to live their love – self-determined and not always symbiotic. When Fred becomes terminally ill he hides his illness from his family, apart from his wife, who knows about it. Freedom or denial? A story about the last weeks in the live of a loving couple which concludes with the question about everlasting love in an extraordinary step. Directorial debut. Contender for the Kutxa-New Directors Award.