The San Sebastián Film Festival has come a long way since its first edition, 70 years ago. Back then, in 1953, it hosted just 19 movies and was viewed as an event for the elite. Fast forward to 2022, and the event not only included scores of films in and out of competition, but also attracted stars of the caliber of Liam Neeson and Ana de Armas. 

The event is held every year in the stunning Basque seaside city, and even managed to continue during the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s edition, however, which concluded on Saturday, was the first that marked a proper return to post-Covid normality. 

The winner of the Golden Shell award for Best Film went to The Kings of the World, a Colombian drama from director Laura Mora, while Argentina, 1985 from director Santiago Mitre took the audience award. The Best Director gong was taken by Genki Kawarmura from Japan, for his debut feature Hyakka.

In attendance for the premiere of her Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, Ana de Armas caught the attention of the public and press alike on the red carpet. At a press conference, she explained how she “did things in this movie I would have never done for anyone else, ever. I did it for her,” she said, in reference to Monroe. 

The festival closed on Saturday with the premiere of Marlowe, both of whose stars, Diane Kruger and Liam Neeson, were in attendance in the Basque city. Set in 1930s Los Angeles, the film is directed by Neil Jordan. “To make a film like this, you have to reinvent the image,” Jordan told a press conference at the festival. “The reference I chose was Blade Runner, which is set in LA in the future. I’m making a film set in LA in the past, but somehow it’s a sci-fi film.”

David Cronenberg Bei Der Pressekonferenz Zur Verleihung Des Donistia Awards Auf Dem 70. Internationalen Filmfestival Sa
David Cronenberg at this year’s festival, where he won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The lifetime achievement award went this year to Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, with a screening of his latest film Crimes of the Future after the ceremony. 

“I used to think that a lifetime achievement award was a message to me saying ‘It’s time to stop, you’ve made enough films’…” said Cronenberg. “But I have since come to realize and especially with an award like this, at a festival with so much history, given in such a beautiful city, that it really is an encouragement to me to make more films.”

Thanks to sentiments such as this one, the legend of the San Sebastián Film Festival continues to grow.

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