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Alberdi, Arcel, Bayona, Franco, Garrone, Gillespie, Glazer, Hamaguchi, Haynes, Kaurismäki, Kore-eda, Petzold, Thornton, Triet and Wenders, in San Sebastian Festival’s Perlak selection

The debut from Celine Song, ‘Past Lives’, and the second movie from Stéphanie Di Giusto, ‘Rosalie’, will also compete for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award

‘The Zone of Interest’ will open the section and the latest film from Ladj Ly, ‘Bâtiment 5’, will close it out of competition


The Palme d’Or, Grand Prix and Jury Prize at Cannes, Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale, as well as other films selected for Sundance, Venice and Toronto, will compete for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award. Moviemakers such as Maite Alberdi, Nikolaj Arcel, J.A. Bayona, Stephanie Di Giusto, Michel Franco, Matteo Garrone, Craig Gillespie, Jonathan Glazer, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Todd Haynes, Aki Kaurismäki, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Christian Petzold, Celine Song, Warwick Thornton, Justine Triet and Wim Wenders will make up the Perlak selection at the San Sebastian Festival’s 71st edition. The latest film from Ladj Ly, author of Les Misérables, will close the section out of competition.

Jonathan Glazer (London, UK. 1965) will open the competition with The Zone of Interest, marking his return to feature films ten years after the acclaimed Under the Skin. This free adaptation of the homonymous novel by Martin Amis, portraying the everyday life of a German family who live beside Auschwitz, earned the British director the Grand Prix at the Festival de Cannes. Glazer showed his debut movie, Sexy Beast (2000), in the New Directors section.

The second film from Ladj Ly (Mali, 1980) after the success of Les Misérables (Perlak 2019), winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes, Goya for Best European Film and an Academy Award nomination, among other accolades, Bâtiment 5 / Les indésirables, will close the section out of competition after its screening in Toronto. The director once again reflects a community’s struggle to find the place where they belong.

The Perlak selection also includes the latest movie from Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Kawasaki, Japan. 1978), Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai / Evil Does Not Exist, screening in the Official Selection of the Venice Festival. With this story about a small rural village striving to protect its environmental heritage, Hamaguchi will mark up his fifth participation in the Festival since competing with his debut film, Passion (2008), in New Directors.

Also competing for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award is the winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes, Anatomie d’une chute / Anatomy of a Fall, from the French director Justine Triet (Paris, France. 1978). Anatomie d’une chute is a legal drama sharing its protagonist with The Zone of Interest: the German actress Sandra Hüller.

Bastarden / The Promised Land, to compete at the upcoming Venice Festival, is directed by Nikolaj Arcel (Copenhagen, 1972) and stars Mads Mikkelsen, also directed by Arcel in En kongelig affære / A Royal Affair (2012)(nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlinale). Mikkelsen, who won the Silver Shell for Best Actor with his fellow cast partners Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe for Druk / Another Round (2020), plays a man who in the quest for wealth and honor risks sacrificing everything he loves.

The Australian filmmaker Craig Gillespie (Sydney, 1967) will present, following its premiere in Toronto, Dumb Money, starring Paul Dano, Seth Rogen and Shailene Woodley. The maker of I, Tonya (2017) delivers a true story focused on the video game retailing chain, GameStop.

Matteo Garrone (Rome, Italy.1968) brings a film to San Sebastian for the first time. The maker of Gomorra (2008) and Dogman (2018) will compete in Venice with Io Capitano / I’m Captain, the tale of two youngsters who leave Dakar for Europe.

Hirokazu Kore-eda (Tokyo, Japan.1962) has competed in San Sebastian’s Official Selection with Wandafuru raifu / After Life (1998), Hana yori mo naho / Hana (2006), Aruitemo, aruitemo / Still Walking (2008) and Kiseki / I Wish (2011), winner of the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay, and has received the Audience Award twice, with Soshite chichi ni naru / Like Father, Like Son (2013) and Umimachi Diary / Our Little Sister (2015). In 2018, Manbiki Kazoku / Shoplifters landed the Cannes Palme d’Or and an Oscar nomination, while Kore-eda himself received the Donostia Award. His latest movie, Kaibutsu / Monster landed the Best Screenplay accolade at the French Festival.

The presence of films by Aki Kaurismäki (Orimattila, Finland. 1957) has been a constant at the Festival ever since his short film Rocky VI was singled out for the Official Selection in 1988. Since then, the Festival has screened Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö / The Match Factory Girl, Zabaltegi 1990); Kauas pilvet karkaavat / Drifting Clouds, Perlak 1996) and Mies vailla menneisyyttä / The Man Without A Past (Perlak 2002 – both included in the Cold Fever retrospective in 2007); Le Havre (Perlak 2011); and Toivon tuolla puolen / The Other Side Of Hope (FIPRESCI Grand Prix, 2017). With Kuolleet lehdet / Fallen Leaves, the tale of a meeting between two lonely people, he received the Jury Prize at the Festival de Cannes.

Having bagged the Audience Award for Best European Film with El agente topo / The Mole Agent, which at the project stage won the EFADs-CAACI Award at the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017, Maite Alberdi (Santiago, Chile. 1983) now brings La memoria infinita / The Eternal Memory, a non-fiction about a couple and their struggle against Alzheimer’s disease, winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance.

After screening The Impossible (2012) and A Monster Calls (2016) in the Official Selection out of competition, J.A. Bayona (Barcelona, Spain. 1975) will participate in the Perlak section for the first time with La sociedad de la nieve / Society of the Snow, Closing Night film at Venice Film Festival.  Based on Pablo Vierci’s book of the same name, Bayona turns his narrative talent to the tale of the Andes plane crash victims, those who died and those who survived.

Todd Haynes, president of the official jury in San Sebastian in 2013, returns to Perlak after being selected with Wonderstruck (2017) and The Velvet Underground (2021). In May December, screened in the Official Selection at Cannes, Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman tell the story of a teacher who did time for having sexual relations with one of her students, aged 13 years.

Michel Franco (Mexico City, Mexico.1979) directed, in 2009, his first feature, Daniel y Ana, screened in the Quinzaine des Cinéastes at Cannes and in San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos section. He returned to Cannes with Después de Lucía (After Lucía, 2012), winner of the Un Certain Regard Award and of a Special Mention in Horizontes Latinos, the section which also screened Chronic (Best Screenplay in Cannes) and Las hijas de Abril / April’s Daughter (Un Certain Regard Jury Prize). Nuevo orden / New Order, which won the Grand Jury Prize in Venice, screened in Perlak, the section now showing Memory, a drama shot in New York and starring Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard, to compete at the upcoming Venice Festival.

The debut from the director and screenwriter Celine Song (South Korea, 1989), Past Lives, caused a sensation at the Sundance and Berlin festivals and was acclaimed by critics worldwide. Past Lives brings an exploration of love, identity and distance between the life we yearn for and the one we live.

In his long career, the filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Wim Wenders (Düsseldorf, Germany. 1945) has presided over the San Sebastian Festival jury in 2002, opened the 2017 Festival with his film Submergence and knows what it’s like to win the Audience Award in San Sebastian: The Salt of the Earth, co-helmed with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, was the film most voted by viewers in 2014. This time he competes for the award with Perfect Days, winner of Best Actor in Cannes for Kōji Yakusho.

The French moviemaker Stéphanie Di Giusto (Eaubonne, France. 1975) competed in Un Certain Regard at the last Festival de Cannes with Rosalie. The second film from the director of La danseuse / The Dancer (2016) stars Nadia Tereszkiewicz and Benoît Magimel, who play a couple confronted with a secret.

Christian Petzold (Hilden, Germany. 1960) won the Silver Shell for Best Director with Barbara (2012) and competed in San Sebastian’s 2014 Official Selection with Phoenix, winner of the FIPRESCI Prize. His latest film, Roter Himmel / Afire, about four people living together in a holiday home during a hot, dry summer, earned him the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale.

Lastly, Warwick Thornton (Alice Springs, Australia. 1970), winner of the Caméra d’Or in Cannes with his first movie, Samson & Delilah (2009), will show The New Boy, after its screening in Un Certain Regard at the Festival de Cannes. Cate Blanchett produces and stars in this film, set in a remote monastery run by a renegade nun that takes in an orphaned Aboriginal boy.

Except in the case of the closing film, all films in the Perlak section are candidates for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award, sponsored by the San Sebastian City Council. The prize is decided by viewers of the film’s first screening. The City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award is made up of two accolades: a Best Film Award, coming with 50,000 euros, and a Best European Film Award, with 20,000 euros, going to the distributors of the film in Spain.

Armani Beauty, Official Beauty Sponsor of the Festival, sponsors the Perlak section.

The Zone of Interest

Jonathan Glazer (United Kingdom)

Country(ies) of production: UK

Cast: Sandra Hüller, Christian Friedel, Ralph Herforth

[size=80]Opening Film (In competition)[/size]

The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.

Bâtiment 5 / Les Indésirables

Ladj Ly (France)

Country(ies) of production: France

Cast: Anta Diaw, Alexis Manenti, Aristote Luyindula, Steve Tientcheu, Aurélia Petit, Jeanne Balibar

[size=80]Closing film out of competition[/size]

After the sudden death of the town’s mayor, Pierre, an idealistic young doctor, is appointed to replace him. He intends to continue the policy of his predecessor, who dreamed of rehabilitating this working-class neighbourhood. Haby, a young French woman of Malian origin living in one of the dilapidated tower blocks, refuses to see her family being driven out of the neighbourhood where she grew up.

Aku wa Sonzai Shinai / Evil Does Not Exist

Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)

Country(ies) of production: Japan

Cast: Hitoshi Omika, Ayaka Shibutani, Ryuji Kosaka, Rei Nishikawa

Takumi and his daughter Hana live in a town near Tokyo. Their life will turn on its head when they learn that a glamping is to be built near their house for city dwellers to enjoy comfortable country breaks.

Anatomie d’une chute / Anatomy of a Fall

Justine Triet (France)

Country(ies) of production: France

Cast: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner, Antoine Reinartz, Samuel Theis

Sandra, Samuel and their 11-year-old son Daniel live in a rather remote mountain area. One day they find Samuel dead outside their home. An investigation is opened into suspicious death and it’s not long before Sandra is charged, despite the ambiguous nature of the case: suicide or murder? A year later, Daniel is present at his mother’s trial as the couple is literally dissected.

Bastarden / The Promised Land

Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark)

Country(ies) of production: Denmark

Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg, Melina Hagberg, Kristine Kujath Thorp, Gustav Lindh

In 1755, the impoverished Captain Ludvig Kahlen sets out to conquer the harsh, uninhabitable Danish heath with a seemingly impossible goal; to build a colony in the name of the King. In exchange, he’ll receive a desperately desired Royal name for himself. But the sole ruler of the area, the merciless Frederik de Schinkel, arrogantly believes this land belongs to him. When de Schinkel learns that the maid Ann Barbara and her serve husband have escaped for refuge with Kahlen, the privileged and spiteful ruler swears revenge, doing everything in his power to drive the captain away. Kahlen will not be intimated and takes up the unequal battle - not only risking his life, but also the family of outsiders that has formed around him.

Dumb Money

Craig Gillespie (Australia)

Country(ies) of production: USA

Cast: Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, America Ferrera, Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan, Pete Davidson, Nick Offerman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Anthony Ramos

Dumb Money is the insane true story of everyday people who flipped the script on Wall Street and got rich by turning GameStop (yes, the mall videogame store) into the world’s hottest company. In the middle of everything is regular guy Keith Gill, who starts it all by sinking his life savings into the stock and posting about it. When his social posts start blowing up, so does his life and the lives of everyone following him.

Io Capitano / I’m Captain

Matteo Garrone (Italy)

Country(ies) of production: Italy

Cast: Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall

Io capitano narrates the epic stories of two cousins who leave Dakar and set out for Europe. In this contemporary odyssey, the young men must overcome myriad obstacles in their struggle to survive in the desert and the sea.

Kaibutsu / Monster

Hirokazu KORE-EDA (Japan)

Country(ies) of production: Japan

Cast: Sakura Ando, Eita Nagayama, Soya Kurokawa, Hinata Hiiragi, Yuko Tanaka

When her young son Minato starts to behave strangely, his mother feels that there is something wrong. Discovering that a teacher is responsible, she storms into the school demanding to know what’s going on. But as the story unfolds through the eyes of mother, teacher and child, the truth gradually emerges...

Kuolleet lehdet / Fallen Leaves

Aki Kaurismäki (Finland)

Country(ies) of production: Finland - Germany

Cast: Alma Poysti, Jussi Vatanen

The tale of two lonely people who run into one another by chance one night in Helsinki and try to find the first, only and ultimate love of their lives. Their road towards this honorable goal will be overshadowed by the man’s drinking, lost phone numbers and life’s general tendency to throw curveballs on the path of those looking for happiness.

La memoria infinita / The Eternal Memory

Maite Alberdi (Chile)

Country(ies) of production: Chile

Augusto and Paulina have been together for 25 years. Eight years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Both fear the day he will no longer recognise her.

La sociedad de la nieve / Society of the Snow

J.A. Bayona (Spain)

Country(ies) of production: Spain - Uruguay - Chile

Cast: Enzo Vogrincic Roldán, Matías Recalt, Agustín Pardella, Tomas Wolf, Diego Vegezzi, Esteban Kukuriczka, Francisco Romero, Rafael Federman, Felipe González Otaño, Agustín Della Corte, Valentino Alonso, Simón Hempe, Fernando Contigiani Garciai , Benjamín Segura

In 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which had been chartered to fly a rugby team to Chile, crashed in the heart of the Andes. Only 29 of its 45 passengers survived the accident. Trapped in one of the most hostile and inaccessible environments on the planet, they have to resort to extreme measures to stay alive.

May December

Todd Haynes (USA)

Country(ies) of production: USA

Cast: Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, Charles Melton

Inspired by true events. A teacher was arrested for having sexual relations with one of her 13-year-old students while she was married and the mother of three children. She was released after completing her sentence, but failed to respect the prohibition to see the boy again, becoming pregnant by him and spending another 7 years in prison accused of rape. Now, 20 years later, a Hollywood actress wants to make a film about their story.


Michel Franco (Mexico)

Country(ies) of production: Mexico - USA

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Peter Sarsgaard, Brooke Timber, Merritt Wever, Elsie Fisher, Josh Carles, Jessica Harper

Sylvia is a social worker who leads a simple and structured life: her daughter, her job, her AA meetings. This is blown open when Saul follows her home from their high school reunion. Their surprise encounter will profoundly impact both of them as they open the door to the past.

Past Lives

Celine Song (South Korea)

Country(ies) of production: USA

Cast: Greta Lee, Yoo Tae-o, Jhon Magaro

Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are torn apart when Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea to the United States. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for a week that will confront them with notions of love, destiny, and the choices that make up a life.

Perfect Days

Wim Wenders (Germany)

Country(ies) of production: Japan - Germany

Cast: Kôji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto, Yumi Asô, Aoi Yamada

Hirayama works as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo. He likes leading a simple life and having a highly structured daily routine. He loves music, books, and trees, and taking pictures of them. His past is about to reappear though unexpected encounters. A moving and poetical reflection on the search for beauty in everyday life.


Stéphanie Di Giusto (France)

Country(ies) of production: France

Cast: Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Benoît Magimel, Benjamin Biolay

France, 1870. Rosalie isn’t like other young girls. She is hiding a big secret. Ever since birth her body and face have been covered with hair and she is forced to conceal it to avoid rejection. She is what’s called a bearded woman. But she had never wanted to become a fairground attraction. One day, the owner of a café drowning in debt decides to marry her for the dowry, with no inkling of her secret. But Rosalie is tired of hiding and wants to be seen as a woman even if she is different. What will her husband think when he finds out the truth?

Roter Himmel / Afire

Christian Petzold (Germany)

Country(ies) of production: Germany

Cast: Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, Enno Trebs

A hot, dry summer, like so many in recent years. A small holiday home on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Four young people meet, friends old and new. A red sky looms over them. Slowly and imperceptibly they are surrounded by the flames. They hesitate, afraid - not of the flames - it’s love that scares them. Happiness, lust and liberation; but also jealousy, resentment and tension. A film suspended between symbolism and realism, huge fun yet deeply tragic.

The New Boy

Warwick Thornton (Australia)

Country(ies) of production: Australia

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Aswan Reid, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair

In 1940s Australia, a 9-year-old Aboriginal orphan boy arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun. The new boy’s presence disturbs the delicately balanced world in this story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

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