VERY FUNNY THINGS. NEW AMERICAN COMEDY is the title of the thematic retrospective to be dedicated by this year’s San Sebastian Festival to new trends in American comedy movies. Comedy, a genre that already had an extremely long-standing Hollywood tradition, has seen a revival in recent decades thanks to a contemporary angle with place for irreverence, non-political correctness and social satire. A new generation of directors, screenwriters, actors and comedians have become today’s reference in the genre, a style well on the way to finding followers the world over: Peter Farrelly, Judd Apatow, Todd Phillips, Jared Hess, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Mike Judge, Trey Parker, Matt Stone… All have increased the possibilities offered by funny films on producing an “auteur comedy” to have earned equally excellent public and critical acclaim.
The cycle will include 30 titles summarising the evolution of this new comedy starting with pioneer films from the 80s, true cult movies that laid the way for the so-called gross-out comedy with its uninhibited, iconoclastic humour making myths of actors like John Belushi and Bill Murray: Animal House (1978), Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Porky’s (1982)… Films produced in the following decades continued to flog vindication of the social misfit as an emblematic character and vehicle for a peculiar look at contemporary American society with caricaturesque overtones: Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Zoolander (2001), Napoleon Dynamite (2004), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), The Hangover (2009)… There will also be important works by some of today’s big-name American moviemakers, authors who have approached comedy in some way or another: Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, 1993), Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch-Drunk Love, 2002), Wes Anderson (Rushmore, 1998), David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, 2008) and Gregg Araki (Smiley Face, 2007).
The cycle will enjoy the collaboration of the Euskadiko Filmategia/Filmoteca Vasca, of the Instituto Valenciano del Audiovisual y la Cinematografía Ricardo Muñoz Suay and the Filmoteca de Catalunya and will be accompanied by a book coordinated by Violeta Kovacsics
Under more generic, allegorically-entitled headings, the Festival has grouped together films not commonly offered (even in specialised sections) and which, nevertheless, deserve filmgoersí attention. Based on this philosophy, a number of cycles have seen the light, including "The Guys in the Photo", "Forgotten Films"; "You Only Live Once", "The Best 100 Years in our Lives", "The European Adventure", "Spanish Cinema Discoveries", "The Red Nightmare", "A Long Absence", the two editions dedicated to post-war Italian comedy, entitled "Hunger, Humour and Fantasy" and "The Boom Italian-Style", or "The TV Generation", "It Happened yesterday", "50 from the 50s", "Amongst friends and neighbours", "Incorrect@s", "Rebellious and untamed", "Emigrants", "Cold Fever", "Japanese Film Noir", "Backswash; curring edge of french cinema", ".doc – New paths of non-fiction", "American Way of Death: American film noir 1990-2010", "Digital Shadows: Last genration chinese film" last of these cycles.