Valeria Sarmiento and Benjamín Naishtat Vie for San Sebastian's Golden Shell

Rojo by Benjamín Naishtat

Rojo by Benjamín Naishtat

The San Sebastian Film Festival has announced today the first titles in the Golden Shell's official competition for its 66th edition, which includes the newest films by Chilean director Valeria Sarmiento, on her second participation in the main competition, and Argentine director Benjamín Naishat.

Sarmiento, who had won the Grand Prix Donostia for Best New Director in 1984 with Notre mariage, returns to the Spanish festival with the French-Portuguese co-production The Black Book / Le Cahier Noir, inspired by the novel Livro Negro de Padre Dinis by Camilo Castelo Branco. Set at the end of the 18th century, the film follows the adventures of a singular couple formed by a little orphan with mysterious origins and his young Italian nurse of a similarly uncertain birth.

They lead the audience in their wake, from Rome to Paris, from Lisbon to London, from Parma to Venice. Always followed in the shadows, for obscure reasons, by a suspicious-looking Calabrian and a troubling cardinal, as they unveil the dark intrigues of the Vatican, the pangs of a fatal passion, a gruesome duel, banter at the court of Versailles and the convulsions of the French Revolution. 

The other Latin American selection announced is Rojo, the third feature by Naishtat. Starring Darío Grandinetti, Andrea Frigerio and Alfredo Castro, the film set in Argentina in the 1970s, on the eve of the military dictatorship, follows a stranger who arrives in a quiet provincial town. At a restaurant, for no apparent reason he starts to assault Claudio, a well-known lawyer. The community supports the lawyer and the stranger is humiliated and gets thrown out. Later on the way home, Claudio and his wife Susana are intercepted by the stranger who is determined to take terrible revenge on him. The lawyer then starts out on a road of no-return, of death, secrets and silences.


The 66th edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival will take place September 21-26 in Spain, with additional titles to be unveiled in the next few weeks.