60th Valladolid International Film Festival
Spain, October 24 - October 31 2015
La Semana Internacional De Cine Valladolid, dubbed among friends as Seminci, may be known as one of the smaller festivals to the frequent visitors of Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Venice film festivals, yet the Castilian festival celebrated its anniversary with an impressive program of 205 films which covered the cinematic trends and discoveries of the year rather satisfyingly to the taste of the most demanding cineaste. The 260 journalists present at the festival witnessed packed venues filled with dignitaries of Spanish cinema and ordinary townsfolk.
Valladolid is a car town where the biggest employers are the Renault and the Michelin factories. The overall atmosphere of the town combines both the Spanish hospitality and a sense of dignity as is fitting in a town celebrating the sixty years of its film festival. Seminci is known for its innovative programming. One could call it an eclectic film festival, as it presents documentaries and short films as well as feature films. The main thing is to see films, no matter the genre. This makes Seminci a veritable cinematic fiesta to the extreme. Valladolid, a town of 312,000 inhabitants is located in the heart of the Castile and Leon region, offering rich opportunities for anyone who wishes to familiarize themselves with the medieval architectural heritage of Spain. Gastronomy and viticulture emphasize the best Spain can offer: iberico ham, aromatic cheeses and powerful wines.
Seminci opened its official section with the recent Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan. That was followed by the most powerful film acting one can see nowadays, i.e., the performances of Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years. Other actors proved their talent well enough, such as the Catalan actress Nora Navas, who seems to be either typecast or navigating herself into rather melodramatic roles concerning family relations, as was seen in both La Adopción, a story of a couple going through the ordeals of attempting to adopt a child via the international adoption system, and Invisible Artery (L’artèria invisible), a story of a middle-aged couple discovering their past negligence in a youngster who could be their own son had their life gone differently.
As is a tradition in Seminci, every year the festival dedicates a section to a guest country. This year it was Finland. The section that was curated by the Finnish Film Foundation, presented 15 features and 5 documentary films. It showcased the present and the past of the cinema of the Nordic country, best known for its odd sense of humor and the films of Aki Kaurismäki.
Another Nordic country with strong contribution was Iceland with its two comedies; Rams (Hrutar), about two equally bearded and fiercely competitive sheepherders, who happen to be siblings, dealing with their brotherly hatred. The other comedy, Virgin Mountain (Fúsi) tells what happens when a fortysomething socially challenged man meets a woman.
The Valladolid International Film Festival provides a wonderful opportunity to a cineaste seeking to bury oneself into both the present and the past of cinema. (Antti Selkokari, edited by Yael Shuv)
Valladolid International Film Festival: www.seminci.com