By Indiewire | Indiewire August 17, 2004 at 2:00AM
San Sebastian Gives Glimpse at 52nd Festival Line-up
by Brian Brooks
Organizers of the Donostia San Sebastian International Film Festival have unveiled details of the event's 52nd edition, taking place September 17-25 in the Basque resort city in northern Spain. As previously announced, the festival will open with the world premiere of Woody Allen's latest film, "Melinda and Melinda" starring Will Ferrell, Jonny Lee Miller, Radha Mitchell, Amanda Peet, Chloe Sevigny and Wallace Shawn. The Manhattan-set movie explored Allen-esque themes such as the fragility of love, marital infidelity and the inability to communicate.
"The Spanish people have always been ver supportive of my films and it's a great honor for me to come to the festival in San Sebastian," commented Woody Allen in a statement about his film's participation in the event. "My family and I loved the city the last time we were there, and we expect to have a wonderful time."
Sixteen films will compete for the event's Golden Shell award, and the festival will also screen films in its "Zabaltegi" section, which features an "overview of newly released films, which selects some of the best films already to have been presented at other international festivals. The event will also host retrospectives for classic and contemporary work as well as a series of "thematic" retrospectives.
Argentine director Adolfo Aristarain returns to San Sebastian with his latest, "Roma." The film, starring Jose Sacristan and Juan Diego Botto, focuses on the relationship between an Argentine writer exiled in Spain and a young kid helping him to write his autobiography, looking at Argentina in the '50s, '60s and '70s with a strong portrayal of his mother, Roma. Aristarain won the Golden Shell in 1992 with "Un lugar en el mundo" (A Place in the World). François Dupeyron, who took the Golden Shell in 1999 for "C'est quoi la vie?" (What's Life?), also returns to the festival with "Inguelezi" starring Eric Caravaca and Marie Payen. The drama centers on a woman who has lost her husband and finds herself unwittingly helping a Kurdish immigrant in his quest to reach the U.K.
American director John Sayles will screen his latest, "Silver City." The film, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Huston, Billy Zane, Tim Roth, Thora Birch, Daryl Hannah and Maria Bello, is a political tale set in a rural Colorado town during the election campaign for governor in which the discovery of a corpse unleashes a plot unveiling corruption. Carlos Sorin, director of the pecial jury prize winner in 2002, "Historias Minimas," will screen his film set in the Patagonian region of Argentina, "Bombon-El Perro." The feature is about a jobless man, and a dog that becomes his best hope for a better future. U.K. director Michael Winterbottom, who received a retrospective last year in San Sebastian, will bring his film "Nine Songs" this year to the event. His latest project is a documentary-style film, which evolves into a love story between a man and a woman who spend their nights at rock concerts and spend their days indulging in explicit sex.
Love lost is the theme in "A Letter from an Unknown Woman" by Chinese director Xu Jinglei. The film, adapted from Stefan Zweig's novel, which was also adapted by Max Ophuls, is the story of a girl in love with an unsuspecting man. This is the second film for Xu, who will also be competing for the Altadis-New Directors award along with seventeen other films, following "My Father and I," which screened last year at the festival.
[ For more details, visit the festival's site at: http://www.sansebastianfestival.com ]