Director, French cinema to receive retros

MADRID  — Hollywood maverick Richard Brooks and cutting-edge French cinema will both receive retrospectives at the 57th San Sebastian Festival.

Following Terence Davies and Italy’s Mario Monicelli in 2008, Brooks’ tribute is inspired by his legendary Hollywood titles such as 1958’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” plus his trenchant analysis of American politics and social tensions, seen in 1955’s “Blackboard Jungle,” fest organizers explained Tuesday.

They went on to claim that Brooks had filmed some of the finest screen adaptations of literary works, such as Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” and “coaxed some of the best performances from actors” like Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, Burt Lancaster and Peter O’Toole.

The second retro — Backwash: the Cutting Edge of French Cinema — ranges wide in its choice of directors — a sign of the health of current French production — from realists such as Nicolas Klotz and Laurent Cantet, whose “The Class” won Cannes’ 2008 Palme d’Or — to radical Bruno Dumont, genre pioneers Alexandre Aja and Pascal Laugier and helmers who have patiently built careers, for example Arnaud Desplechin and former-scripter Jacques Audiard.

Three titles have been selected for Backwash, festival sources said Tuesday: Olivier Assayas’ Maggie Cheung-starrer “Clean,” Gaspar Noe’s unwilting study of violence “Irreversible,” and Lucile Hadzihalilovic “Innocence,” which won San Sebastian’s New Directors prize in 2004.

Fest runs Sept. 17-26.

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