The Seville European Film Festival is finalizing the list of titles that will make up its competitive sections, retrospectives, mini-seasons and out of competition screenings for its forthcoming edition. As regards the titles for the competitive sections which define the SEFF’s line of work, the Official Section, New Waves and New Waves/Non-Fiction, the Festival has again sought a balance between the big names in contemporary European cinema, whose latest works have garnered the interest of the main international festivals, and the new voices and singular viewpoints that make up the select spectrum of the youngest, most refreshing independent production on the continent.
As for the more veteran filmmakers, the British director Mike Leigh has been selected for the Official Competitive Section with his acclaimed film Mr. Turner, a portrait of the English maestro, precursor of Impressionism, in which he again works with his favourite actor, Timothy Spall, giving him a film in which to display his acting talent and which earned him the Best Actor award in Cannes.
Continuing with biographical films, the Official Section is showing the very original Saint Laurent, directed by Bertrand Bonello, a cinematic look at the life of the French designer, a version unapproved by his heirs (headed by Pierre Bergé, YSL’s widower and president of his company). With a cast that includes Valeria Bruni, Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel, Saint Laurent is a biopic with a certain narrative experimentation, including surprising dreamlike atmospheres, filmed by one of the most personal directors in current French cinema. A film, in addition, which dissociates itself from another French production this year with an equally identifying title – in this case with the full name Yves Saint Laurent- directed by Jalil Lespert.
Also after its presentation in Cannes, the SEFF will have the Spanish premiere of Misunderstood (Incompresa), the latest work by the also actress Asia Argento, who confirms with this title the interesting career she has been building as a film director. This film with autobiographical tones, where the protagonist shares her childhood with the director’s own memories, is one of the films with the most uninhibited tone in this edition, a fresh film, full of life –although with its necessary dark reverses- where the punk spirit coexists with black humour and preadolescent love.
For the second consecutive year, the Seville European Film Festival will offer the Spanish premiere of the film that won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. While last year Sacro Gra, by Gianfranco Rosi, competed in the Official Section –and won the Silver Giraldillo-, in this year’s edition Seville will have the privilege of premiering the latest film by the Swedish maestro Roy Andersson, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, which also won the top award at the Adriatic festival. This film, which closes Andersson’s existential trilogy, is the Swedish director’s fifth feature film since 1970 and in it he again deals with universal subjects, which he tinges with a personal black humour, at times caustic, at other times melancholic.
Finally,Cavalo Dinheiro, from the Portuguese director Pedro Costa, is another of the SEFF’s offers in its Official Section. This film, for which Costa won the Best Director Award at the Locarno Festival, marks the return of the Portuguese director to feature films, from which he had been distanced since 2009. In it he establishes a passageway between the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and the present, and again has the Cape Verdean Ventura as the central figure. Ventura already appeared in titles such as Colossal Youth.
In the New Waves section, which defines the festival’s guiding philosophy,Las altas presionesconfirms the SEFF’s support for New Spanish Cinema, especially the focus of creativity and innovation that has developed in the Galician independent industry. With enormous international projection and awards won at important festivals in Europe, the cinema made and produced in Galicia has its representation this year in this title by Ángel Santos. The film stars Andrés Gertrudix, a figure at the SEFF since his participation in 10,000 Nights Nowhere, which competed in the Official Section last year. Santos centres on the story of a young man who goes back to his native Galicia on a work trip, to find locations for someone else’s film. Parties, concerts and flirtations at the wrong moment mingle with morriña for his terra galega (homesickness for his Galician land).
Something Must Break is another of the titles confirmed for this section. Sweden is again in the SEFF competitive sections, this time with a film that won one of the three Tiger Awards at Rotterdam. It has the same nonconformist spirit as Joy Division, the group whose song gives the film its title. Daring and provocative, Something Must Break is the fifth film by this very young, distinctive filmmaker who analyzes the conflicts of adolescence, from the search for freedom to the definition of sexual and transgender identity.
Finally, the SEFF also continues with its Non-Fiction line with such eagerly awaited titles as National Gallery, by the maestro Frederick Wiseman. Already a living legend of documentary cinema, he has explored, with great profusion and gusto for detail, the internal mechanisms which drive all kinds of institutional and administrative operations: in this case a cultural institution of the dimension and importance of the National Gallery in London, one of the most famous art galleries in the world.
The Franco-Syrian production Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait is also included in the New Waves-Non-Fiction section. An apocalyptic film by Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan, it tries to show with absolute crudity what the media have not dared to show of the Civil War in Syria. Through images captured on Internet and mobile phones and thanks to the correspondence between director in Paris and the young Syrian filmmaker Simav (living in Homs), it was possible to make this film which is as disturbing as it is necessary.