San Sebastian sidebar sets topical titles

Emigration will be a hot-button topic at the 54th San Sebastian Film Festival as organizers Thursday unveiled 32 titles packing one of its main retrospectives, “Emigrants.”

Among standout titles are Rainer Fassbinder’s “Ali, Fear Eats the Soul” (1974); Elia Kazan’s “America, America” (1963); Bernardo Bertolucci’s erotic chamber piece “Besieged” (1998); and Michael Winterbottom’s digitally shot “In This World” (2002).

Other notable but lesser-known pics in the retro include Montxo Armendariz’s chronicle of a West African immigrant’s first days in Spain, “Letters From Alou” (1990); Jerzy Skolimowski’s illegal-labor themed “Moonlighting” (1982); “Crossing Borders” (2006), from Spanish first-time helmer Carlos Iglesias; Radu Mihaileanu’s Berlin player “Live and Become” (2005); and Bourlem Guerdjou’s ’60s Paris-set “Living in Paradise” (1998).

Pics span many styles and genres and a wide range of circumstances. Though not new in Spain, immigration has grown dramatically in recent years, with an influx of more than 4 million immigrants in the last decade.

San Sebastian has shown a penchant for social issue cinema, skedding femme film retrospective “Rebellious and Untamed” last year.

The two other retros at this year’s fest are already announced tributes to Ernst Lubitsch, a German immigrant in Hollywood, and to globetrotting director-producer Barbet Schroeder. Fest runs Sept. 21-30.

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