Romanian films take over Spain at San Sebastian Film Festival

13 September, 2021

San Sebastian Film Festival, the biggest film festival in Spain, will take place this year between September 17-25. The event brings the public some of the most acclaimed productions of the past year, but also films screened in international premiere.

Among the filmmakers making up the Official Selection are Laurent Cantet, Terence Davies, Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Claudia Llosa, Claire Simon, Inés Barrionuevo, Zhang Ji, Tea Lindeburg Iciar Bollaín, Fernando León de Aranoa, Paco Plaza, Jonás Trueba, and Alina Grigore, with her first feature film.

Romanian actress and director Alina Grigore participates in the official competition with Blue Moon, a drama focused on a young woman who lives in the oppressive environment of a dysfunctional family.

Romania can boast a strong presence at the SSIFF, with no less than 4 titles in the program. Besides Blue Moon, the festival selection also includes Summer Planning (dir. Alexandru Mironescu), Mikado (dir. Emanuel Pârvu), and Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (dir. Radu Jude) – winner of the Golden Bear at the 2021 Berlinale.

The Moldovan director Olga Lucovnicova will be present with her graduation film My Uncle Tudor, winner of the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at the 2021 Berlinale.

Opening the SSIFF’s competition this year is One Second, by Zhang Yimou, one of the most reputed Chinese filmmakers of recent decades. This is the first time the director competes in the Official Selection. The film tells the story of a prisoner who escapes from a labor camp at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

The festival program also includes long-awaited works from well-known names that have premiered earlier this year at major festivals, like Titans (dir. Julia Ducournau) – Palme d’Or winner at Cannes 2021, Benedetta (dir. Paul Verhoeven), Vortex (dir. Gaspar Noé) or Jane by Charlotte (dir. Charlotte Gainsbourg), a moving documentary about the director’s mother, Jane Birkin.

Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland will be honored with the FIPRESCI Grand Prix 2021 for Best Film of the Year after being voted by 633 critics from all over the world, all members of the International Federation of Film Critics, FIPRESCI. Among the films nominated for this award was Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn.

The public will have the opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in contemporary cinema at this year’s edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival. Javier Bardem, Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Emmanuelle Devos, Dolores Fonzi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrel, Vincent Lindon, Noémie Merlant, Clarke Peters, Raphael, Simon Rex, Stanley Tucci and María Valverde are just a few of the guests to be attending the festival.

Marion Cotillard and Johnny Depp are the recipients of the Donostia Award, the Festival’s highest honorary award. They will each receive the award during two different ceremonies, on the 17th and 22nd of September.

Furthermore, Paolo Sorrentino will host a masterclass and present his most recent feature, The Hand of God, at the festival. Starting from the most impactful moment in his life, the filmmaker offers the public a foray into an intimate story about luck, fate, and the pain of loss in contrast to the exuberance offered by freedom.

The French Dispatch (dir. Wes Anderson) and The Power of the Dog (dir. Jane Campion) are presented in the Perlak section and compete for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award. The Perlak section showcases the most outstanding and critically acclaimed / awarded films of the year that have not yet screened in Spain.

One of the SSIFF’s special events is Culinary Zinema, which combines screenings with themed dinners. This year’s opening film is Las huellas de elBulli (dir. Iñigo Ruiz Aquerreta, José Larraza), a documentary about the restaurant run by Ferran Adrià. All the features screening in this section revolve around found, in one way or another.


The 69th edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival will take place between September 17-25, 2021. For more details, check out the SSIF program.



Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.