Golden Shell for Blue Moon at San Sebastian Film Festival

by Lorraine Williamson
San Sebastian Film Festival winner

The film debut ‘Crai Nou‘ (internationally translated as Blue Moon) by Romanian Alina Grigore was awarded best film at the 69th edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival. Additionally, this year’s special jury prize went ‘Earwig‘ by Lucile Hadzihalilovic. 

Crai Nou is a psychological drama about two young women who are on the run from the problems and violence within a dysfunctional family. The story follows one of the women as she unsuccessfully tries to escape the environment in which she grew up to study at university. 

No more Silver Shell for best actress and actor 

A striking number of women also received prizes in the other categories at the 2021 San Sebastian International Film Festival. This is despite the fact only 7 of the 16 nominated films at the festival were directed by a woman. This year was the first edition of the festival in which the awards for ‘best actor’ and ‘best actress’ have been replaced by a Silver Shell for ‘best leading role’ and ‘best supporting role’. As such, the Silver Shell for best leading role went to the Danish actress Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl for her role in the film ‘As in Heaven’ and to the American Jessica Michelle Chastain for her role in the film ‘The eyes of Tammy Faye’. The Silver Shell for Best Supporting Actor went to the entire cast of Jonás Trueba’s film Quién lo impide. 

Special jury prize for ‘Earwig’ 

The second most important prize of the festival, the special jury prize, was won by Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s film ‘Earwig’. Moreover, this French director of Bosnian descent already has a very diverse film oeuvre to her name. However, she did not win the prize for best director. That went to the Danish director Tea Lindeburg for her debut film ‘As in heaven’, about a nineteenth-century rural community. 

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Furthermore, the French Claire Mathon won the jury prize in San Sebastian for the best camera work. This was for the moderately rated political-journalistic thriller ‘Enquête sur un scandale d’état’. 

‘Benediction’ wins best screenplay 

According to experts, the jury prize for the best screenplay was rightly won by British director Terence Davies. This was for his biographical drama ‘Benediction’ about the English poet and prose writer Siegried Sassoon. 

However, the participating Spanish films did not do well in San Sebastian this year. Only ‘Quién lo impide’ was appreciated by the jury, which this year mainly focused on films off the beaten track. Consequently, both ‘La abuela’ by Paco Plaza and ‘El buen patrón’ by Fernando León were not awarded at the festival. This also applied to Icíar Bollaín’s Maixabel, but this film was awarded the Premio Irizar for best Basque film elsewhere. 

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