Raising the curtain on the festival with the most enthusiastic audience in the world Th e 64th San Sebastian Film Festival was oﬃ cially opened last night in a ceremony at the Kursaal hosted by the Spanish actresses Emma Suárez, Mireia Gabilondo and Cayetana Guillén Cuervo.
As in previous years the traditional review of the various sections in the Festival opened with the presentation of the Fipresci Film Critics award for best ﬁ lm of the year which went to Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade. Although the German director was unable to be in San Sebastian to pick up the award in person from Andrei Plakhov, the Honorary President of Fipresci, the ﬁ lm’s producer Janine Jackowski read out a note from the ﬁlm’s director thanking Fipresci for making her a very proud to be the ﬁrst woman to win the award.
This year’s classic retrospective that will be devoted to the French director Jacques Becker was introduced by the great French ﬁ lmmaker Bertrand Tavernier who confessed that his one great regret in life was that he never met Becker. He claimed that it was impossible to know French cinema if you hadn’t seen all of Becker’s ﬁ lms and stressed that he was the “ﬁlmmaker of ordinary decency.” He was accompanied by Becquer’s son Jean who referred to the generosity of the characters as the common denominator of his father’s work.
This was followed by the presentation of the six members of the Oﬃ cial Jury presided by the Danish director Bille August. Th e latter stressed that they were not here to judge or criticise the ﬁ lms they were going to see but to champion something extraordinary and that the Festival had the most enthusiastic audience in the world.
The director Emmanuelle Bercot and actress Sidse Babett Knuds en, director and star, respectively, of Fille de Brest, the ﬁ lm that was screened right after the ceremony, rounded oﬀ the gala by confessing that they were really excited to be here and that it was a great honour to be inaugurating the Festival and closed their speech with the cry, “long live the brave women who make ﬁlms!