Great creators of international auteur cinema join Seminci’s history

The 68th edition of the Valladolid International Film Week will welcome to the Festival’s history great creators of world auteur cinema who will compete for the first time at the event. Alice Rohrwacher, Bertrand Bonello, Marco Bellocchio, Kaouther Ben Hania, Angela Schanelec, Wang Bing and Claire Simon will join the program alongside some of the authors whose careers will remain forever linked to the festival that offered them their first exhibition window in Spain, such as Ken Loach, Agnieszka Holland and Kleber Mendoça Filho.

The Official Selection will program for the first time in competition works by auteur filmmakers: Alice Rohrwacher with La Chimera, Bertrand Bonello with The Beast, Marco Bellocchio with Rapito; Oscar nominee Kouther Ben Hania with Four Daughters (Les Filles d’Olfa) and Angela Schanelec with Music. Also returning to the festival are Agnieszka Holland – winner of the Best Director Award at the 56th edition – with Green Border and double Golden Spike winner Ken Loach with The Old Oak.

Grand Jury Prize for Wonderland and Best Screenplay Award for Lazzaro Feliz at the Cannes Festival, Alice Rohrwacher, one of the world’s most renowned creators of fables, presents her fourth film, La Chimera, a portrait of deep Italy about a gang of archaeological site looters, set in the 1980s. The film, which premiered in the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival, features Isabella Rosellini (Blue Velvet) and Josh O’Connor (The Crown, Land of God, The Durrells) in the cast.

French director Bertrand Bonello (L’Apollonide: souvenirs de la maison close / House of Tolerance, Saint Laurent, Nocturama), considered one of the most important auteurs of contemporary European cinema, will compete for the Golden Spike with The Beast after its magnificent reception at the Venice Festival. An extremely free adaptation of Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle, it is a futuristic melodrama set in three different periods (1910, 2014 and 2044) starring Léa Seydoux (Life of Adele) and George MacKay (1917, The Secret of Marrowbone).

At 83 years of age, the master Marco Bellocchio (The Traitor) debuts in the Official Selection of Seminci with his new film, Rapito, where he lashes out against corruption and anti-Semitism with a fast-paced film based on a real historical event: the kidnapping of a Jewish child by order of Pope Pius IX. With a firm and direct narrative pulse, it had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania (The Man Who Sold His Skin, nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film 2021) is participating with one of the biggest surprises of the Cannes Film Festival, Four Daughters, selected for the European Film Awards (EFA). The film starts from a real event: the drama of Olfa Hamrouni, a woman who lost two of her four daughters when they joined ISIS in Libya in 2016. Kaouther Ben Hania mounts an extraordinary cinematic device with the mother and her two living daughters playing themselves and professional actresses to lift the veil on the story of this extraordinary woman.

Radical filmmaker, supreme visual artist, creator of new forms of filmic expression and standard bearer of a whole generation of audiovisual creators, German director Angela Schanelec (I was at home, but…) challenges viewers with a provocatively abstract film, Music, which will arrive at Seminci after winning the award for best screenplay at the Berlinale. Schanelec tackles grief, motherhood and isolation with a story inspired by the Oedipus myth: a young adopted boy enters into a relationship with a female prison officer in the prison where he is serving a sentence after committing murder.

Agnieszka Holland (Europe, Europe) travels to the border between Poland and Belarus in Green Border, one of the big winners at the Venice Film Festival – she won seven awards, including the Special Jury Prize- to narrate the consequences of the humanitarian crisis provoked by President Lukashenko in 2021, when he opened the country to migrants to fill Europe with refugees. The Polish filmmaker is a regular at Seminci, which has programmed -and awarded- films such as Olivier, Olivier (1992), In Darkness (2011) -nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film- and Spoor (2017).

Five decades separate Kes (1969) from The Old Oak (2023), the first and last feature film programmed at Seminci by British director Ken Loach. In his new work, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and winner of the Audience Award at Locarno, he chooses as his setting a decadent pub in a mining town in the north of England to address the xenophobic turn of an evicted British working class, while restoring hope in solidarity among workers. Spiga of Honor in 1992, winner of two Golden Spikes (My Name is Joe and Happy Sixteen) and another Silver Spike (Riff-Raff), among other awards, the Festival recovers one of its fetish authors.

History Time

Tiempo de Historia, a reference section created in 1984 and considered a pioneer in the field of film festivals dedicated exclusively to non-fiction films, adds to its wide list of international authors the Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing with Youth (Spring), the Brazilian Kleber Mendoça Filho with Pictures of Ghosts and the French Claire Simon with Notre corps.

Ever since he astonished the world with his nine-hour chronicle of the decadence of the city of Shenyang (West of the Rails, 2002), Wang Bing has been engaged in weaving a monumental tapestry of contemporary China. Youth (Spring), the latest chapter in this particular human comedy that competed in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival, focuses on the young people from rural areas who make up the bulk of the workforce in the Liming industrial area. A renovator of the genre and an essential figure in contemporary cinema, the Chinese filmmaker once again makes people who inhabit the margins of history the protagonists.

Kleber Mendonça Filho (Bacurau, Jury Prize at Cannes) debuts in Time of History with Phantom Portraits, after presenting Aquarius in the 2016 Official Selection. A journey through the director’s memory and that of his homeland, Recife, the latest film by the Brazilian director narrates the evolution of the seventh art in his city through the history of its screening rooms, in an exercise of cinematographic archeology that, through personal anecdotes, fragments of his works and archival images, serves as a vehicle to address issues such as gentrification, class consciousness and political struggle in a love letter to cinema and its social significance.

Claire Simon, a veteran documentary filmmaker who has won awards at the Cannes and Venice film festivals, takes Notre corps into a Parisian public hospital to investigate the meaning of living in women’s bodies. Focusing on women from diverse backgrounds and at every stage of life, Notre corps traces the life cycles of the female body and its myriad encounters with the medical system. From cancer screenings and fertility appointments to a teenage girl struggling with an unwanted pregnancy or a trans woman, Simon’s panoramic portrait is both poignant and nuanced.

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