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San Sebastián Film Festival: Shell-seekers, street gangs and blockbusters-to-be
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 @ 9:30 PM

IT'S THE Cannes of Spain, a shop window on what's to come in the world of entertainment, and its awards are named after the venue city's favourite beach – San Sebastián Film Festival has wrapped up for another year and the latest batch of Conchas, or shells, have found new homes.

‘Golden Shell’ winner for 2022, the cast and crew of Los Reyes del Mundo ('Kings of the World') join producer Laura Mora as she collects the top award. This and all other photos from the Film Festival's official website,

Liam Neeson, Florence Pugh and Juliette Binoche were nominated for the 'golden' versions, and you'll soon be able to pop to the cinema to find out why. 

Social critique, the underprivileged in their battles for happiness and self-discovery, and the dynamics of family life – blood relations as well as family of choice – are common themes among those productions which made the cut in 2022, offering thought-provoking insights into difficult personal, but shared, journeys.

And the Emerald Isle was very much in the limelight.


English-language films in the 2022 spotlight...

This year has seen a much higher number of films not originally in Spanish being nominated for the Holy Grail of the festival – the Concha de Oro, or 'Golden Shell', for Best Film. 

Three of these were English-language productions, one of the latter – from Ireland – being premièred at the Basque event.

Liam Neeson as detective Philip Marlowe

This had all the ingredients for a European blockbuster: A crime thriller starring Liam Neeson as private detective Philip Marlowe – created back in the day by 1940s' pulp-fiction author Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye) – in an adaptation of John Banville's 2014 novel The Black-Eyed Blonde, alongside the legendary Jessica Lange, the highly-versatile Diane Kruger, the silver-screen regular Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Scottish theatre household name Alan Cumming, chip-off-the-old-block Danny Huston (son of John and brother of Anjelica), up-and-coming Portuguese star Daniela Melchior, and Irish Star Trek familiar Colm Meaney.

And it still might be a blockbuster – even though it didn't win the 'Golden Shell' – since it's due for release in mainstream cinema in December.

Another Concha de Oro nominee which didn't win, but which is due to hit our cinema screens and then Netflix in November, is The Wonder, based upon the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue – whose now-prolific literary career kicked off in 1994 with the little-known, light-hearted coming-of-age novel Stir Fry.



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