45th Gijón International Film Festival
Spain, November 22 - December 1 2007
The annual Festival Internacional de Cine de Gijón began in this Spanish coastal city in 1963 as an event aimed at children. Over the years, the festival has modified its artistic focus and has developed into an eclectic international event featuring different competitive sections. This year’s edition, the 45th.took place from November 22nd to December 1st.
The competitive Official Section of feature films offered works by well known directors, such as the Spaniard Pere Portabella (Die Stille vor Bach — El silencio antes de Bach) and the Austrian Ulrich Seidl (Import/Export) and by lesser known filmmakers, such as the Belgian Nic Balthazar (Ben X). Also, the competing short films and feature films in the Official Section were having their Spanish premiere during the festival.
Another competitive program was “Enfants Terribles”, which showcased fifteen recent international features deemed appropriate for screening and discussion by schoolchildren and adolescents in an academic setting. This unusual program reflects the festival’s roots as a cultural event aimed at children.
This year’s edition of the festival created a new competitive category — non-fiction feature films. In this competition, the best non-fiction feature was selected from amongst all the documentary films screened in all the sections of the festival.
The festival program included several cycles that were not competitive. The “Esbilla Cycle” presented recent, important international shorts and features that for some reason (e. g. their previous appearance in other festivals) could not be featured in the Official Section. The non-competitive “Llendes Section” screened recent experimental work, such as films which occupy the fuzzy zone between fiction and documentary.
Major retrospectives were included in this year’s edition of the festival: the Lebanese filmmaker Danielle Arbid, the Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto, U. S. director Anna Biller, and Mexican cineaste Carlos Reygadas. (Dennis West)