‘La maternal’, by Pilar Palomero from Zaragoza, among the main favorites to win the Golden Shell in San Sebastián

A few hours before the winners of the Festival of San Sebastián, Spanish cinema is emerging as a favorite for a Golden Shell that will put the finishing touch this Saturday to an edition, number 70, in which the controversies, social denunciation and the glamor of stars like Penélope Cruz or Ana de Armas.

‘La maternal’, a drama about teenage mothers by Pilar Palomero from Zaragoza, and ‘The Rite of Spring’, a film by Fernando Franco that raises the debate on the right to sex of the disabled, head the pools.

Also ‘Suro’, debut feature by Basque director Mikel Gurrea, could surprise since his story about a couple in crisis that touches on issues such as the relationship between human beings and nature or racism, has left a very good impression.

Among the international ones, the best received was ‘The Kings of the World’, by the Colombian Laura Mora, an oneiric “road movie” starring street kids from Medellín, who talks about friendship and invites us to reflect on violence and land restitution policy in Colombia.

Equally has many options to be in the list of winners ‘Sparta’, by the Austrian Ulrich Seidl, who canceled his visit to San Sebastián due to the controversy caused by the publication of a report that accused him of inappropriate treatment of minors on the set.

The film is the raw and uncomfortable portrait of the internal struggle of a man with pedophile tendencies -which are not consummated in the film-, narrated with sobriety and high doses of tension.

Another controversial absence was that of the protagonist of the Argentine film ‘Pornomelancolía’, the Mexican “pornoinfluencer” Lalo Santos, who declined to travel to San Sebastián to denounce the conditions in which the film was made, a “docufiction” based on his life .

For the second consecutive year, the winners of San Sebastián will include an acting award that will not distinguish between genders.

If last year the Danish Flora Ofelia and Jessica Chastain were granted ‘exaequo’, this year it is very likely that a feminine name will be repeated since the favorite is the British Florence Pugh for her work in ‘The Wonder’ by Sebastián Lelio, sin forgetting the Japanese Masaki Suda, Akira Kurosawa’s muse, for ‘A hundred flowers’.

Pugh has not passed through San Sebastián as she is immersed in the filming of the second installment of ‘Dune’ but the share of glamor has been amply covered by stars such as Penélope Cruz, Olivia Wilde or Ana de Armas, who has landed this Friday at the capital of San Sebastian.

Cruz went to present the film about evictions by Juan Diego Botto, ‘En los margines’, and to pick up the National Cinematography Award, the amount of which he announced would go to support organizations affected by the evictions, cancer research and the filmmakers’ assistance fund.

David Cronenberg received his Donostia award -with telematic congratulations from his lead actor Viggo Mortensen included- appealing to the subversion of the arts, while the other great honoreethe French actress Juliette Binoche, claimed the value of silence.

In addition to cinema, the event has opened its arms to literature, with the presence of a Nobel Prize winner such as Kazuo Ishiguro, screenwriter of the film “Living” by British director Oliver Hermanus, which has been screened in the Perlas section.

To the music, with documentaries about Joaquín Sabina (“Feeling it a lot” by Fernando León de Aranoa) and Tequila (“Tequila. Sex, drugs and rock and roll”, by Álvaro Longoria), who have attended the screenings in San Sebastián.

Or in fashion, with the presentation of the filming of the series “Balenciaga” prepared by Basque directors Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi and José Mari Goenaga with Alberto San Juan as the protagonist and whose premiere is scheduled for 2023 on Disney+.

For a few years, television has also made an appearance at this festival, although without entering competition and this time series such as ‘Blackout’ and ‘Fácil’ by Movistar+ or ‘La novia gitana’ by Atresmedia have been presented.

The awards ceremony will start on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. at the Kursaal Palace.

The final word on the list of winners will be held by the jury chaired by the Argentine producer Matías Mosteirín -after Glenn Close resigned at the last minute- together with the French casting director Antoinette Boulat, the Danish director Tea Lindeburg, the Spanish writer Rosa Montero, Lesotho filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and Icelander Hlynur Pálmason.

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‘La maternal’, by Pilar Palomero from Zaragoza, among the main favorites to win the Golden Shell in San Sebastián