The Seville European Film Festival’s Official Section is including Bárbara, a film by the French director and actor Mathieu Amalric, one of the most notable names in French cinema. This musical biopic introduces the general public to the figure of Bárbara, a singer and the muse of the Parisian intellectual world in the 60s, with a discourse that breaks the moulds of the genre through metacinema and which won praise from the press and public at the last Cannes Festival. The protagonist of the film is Jeanne Balibar who brings to her performance all the character and temperament which made Bárbara a cult artist.
Along with such established figures as Amalric and Balibar, the Seville Festival’s official section also includes new film talents such as Francis Lee and Roberto de Paolis, two young directors who are making their debut in feature films with two stories of initiation, apprenticeship and search for identity. In God’s Own Country, the British Francis Lee situates his young protagonists, a farmer and a Rumanian immigrant, in the immense landscapes of the Yorkshire countryside, a rural world that will be the context where love grows up between them. The winner of the Director’s Award at the World Cinema section of the Sundance Festival, the Michael Powell Award for Best Film at the Edinburgh Festival and Best Film at the Galway Film Fleadh, among other distinctions, the film exudes simplicity and emotion in a natural setting where social prejudices are overcome.
The Italian Roberto de Paolis turns his eye in Pure Hearts / Cuori Puri on young people on the outskirts of Rome, in a story of personal growth and passions lived to the full which was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the 70th Cannes Festival. The different social settings coexisting on the outskirts clash with the energy given off by the protagonists, an adolescent girl from a Catholic family who defies the traditional codes in which she has been educated to give free rein to her wilder side and falls into the arms of a boy who is not approved of by her family.
These titles join others already announced for the Official Section such as El mar nos mira de lejos, by Manuel Muñoz Rivas,produced by Azhar Media, CTM Docs, El Viaje, 59 en Conserva, and Canal Sur TV; Let the sunshine in / Un Beau Soleil Interieur by Claire Denis, The Workshop / L’Atelier by Laurent Cantet, Western by Valeska Grisebach, and The Nothing Factory by Pedro Pinho.
In The New Waves section four titles are added to the list of new discourses in European cinema. With a longer list of Spanish films than in any other edition, there are two films by new Spanish talents: Ayudar al Ojo Humano by Velasco-Broca and the Colectivo Canódromo Abandonado and Sotobosque by David Gutiérrez Camps.
With the expectation of those who have applauded their work in prestigious international festivals (Cannes, Locarno, BAFICI), Velasco Broca and the Colectivo Canódromo Abandonado present Ayudar al Ojo Humano, their first feature film. This modular work is made up of four short pieces with different tones and formats (the TV movie, the giallo, the TV comedy, the silent film) through which a spectral figure moves, a solitary priest shaken by his passions: gnosticism, cinema and women. Broca and his companions have played at swapping roles on the set, assuming alternately the jobs of direction, script or acting. This proposal has Julián Génisson as the protagonist, accompanied by Andrés Gertrúdix, Nacho Vigalondo, Joe Crepúsculo and Lorena Iglesias.
David Gutiérrez Camps in Sotobosque uses the rural setting of Gerona to contextualise the day to day life of an African immigrant in his effort to overcome the barriers of difference and survive. Far removed from melodrama, the film gets the audience to identify with the character thanks to its sincerity, its silences and its elegant, balanced tone.
It is in The New Waves where Valérie Massadian (Award for Best First Film at Locarno with Nana) presents Milla, her second feature film, a look at the awakening to maturity though an adolescent who has to face the inevitable change in her life brought about by her early maternity. As in Nana, Massadian portrays the woman’s world with intimacy and profound emotion, achieving an atmospheric, stylised work.
Jean-Charles Fitoussi, a cult filmmaker who has forged his own style after collaborating with Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, comes to The New Waves to present Vitalium, Valentine!, a delirious revision of the Frankenstein legend in which the famous doctor’s legacy is perpetuated in the bosom of a family living in the castle where his laboratory is. This screwball comedy starring Guillaume Gallienne (director and protagonist of the French film success Les garçons et Guillaume, à table!) shows, through a virtuosos fairy tale, the complexity of the human soul, a recurring philosophical theme in the always dream-like cinma of Fitoussi.
Added to these films are the world premieres of Algo muy gordo by Carlo Padial, with a script by Berto Romero who also acts in the film, and produced by Paco Ramos for Zeta Zinema, which opens the section; Niñato by Adrián Orr, Mrs. Hyde by Serge Bozon, and Colo by Teresa Villaverde, all now confirmed.