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The third public programme of Zinemaldia 70 analyses the mechanisms to represent and conceal women in the Festival’s early decades

The research team at the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola has analysed the competition’s visual history through the photographs kept in the Festival archive and in the Kutxateka collection


The third public programme of the research project Zinemaldia 70. All possible stories will analyse the mechanisms serving to represent and conceal women during the first three decades in the history of the Festival. With the title of Another way of telling: presences, absences and representations of women at the San Sebastian Festival (1953-1978), the gathering will take place on Saturday, December 4th, in the Tabakalera cinema and will include a number of talks in addition to screening of the film Kilenc Hónap / Nine Months (Márta Mészáros, 1976).

The event is organised by the Festival and the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE), with the sponsorship of Loterías y Apuestas del Estado. The Zinemaldia 70 project enjoys the collaboration of Tabakalera international centre for contemporary culture, the Filmoteca Vasca and the Kutxa Fundazioa, and has the objective to generate a living archive of the Festival, the first phase of which will culminate at its 70th edition in 2022.

Having studied the evolution of the Festival in the early years of the Transition and having addressed its complicated relationship with the censors, the third public programme of Zinemaldia 70 will show citizens the result of the work carried out by researchers and students at the EQZE who, during the 2020-2021 academic year, have analysed the visual history of the San Sebastian Festival based on photographs kept in the Festival archive and in the Kutxateka collection. Analysis of these materials has enabled them to research the mechanisms serving to represent, but also to conceal, women throughout the first three decades in the history of the Festival.

Traditionally, the presence of women at the Festival during these years was constructed around a very limited repertoire of images and discourses, focusing almost exclusively on the presence of stars on the red carpet. The Zinemaldia 70 project therefore seeks to broaden that imagery and open it to new critical approaches, in the endeavour to look beyond the media fascination and the objectification of female film stars to rescue from the archive evidence of other women who participated in the Festival occupying professional positions well away from the media spotlight, such as the first women directors who competed in the Official Selection.

The proceedings will start at 16:00 with an introduction by Pablo La Parra Pérez, coordinator of the EQZE Research Department, joint head of the Festival’s Thought & Discussion department and principal researcher of the Zinemaldia 70 project. EQZE students Ekhiñe Etxeberria and Laida Mendia will then give a talk on Women directors in San Sebastian: case studies (1953-1975), recalling the figures of filmmakers including Yuliya Solntseva, Judit Elek, Yannick Bellon and Margarethe Von Trotta, among others. For her part, Aintzane Rincón, from the University of the Basque Country, will give a talk on ‘The smile that Spain offers the world’: the Festival as a metaphor of developmental optimism (1953-1969), while Endika Rey, from the Universitat de Barcelona, will speak about The ‘New Spanish Cinema’ in San Sebastian: models of female representation.

Bringing things to a close, the programme will look at what is probably the most important feminist event in the history of the Festival: the season of films by women organised by the San Sebastian Assembly of Women at the 1978 Festival. As a tribute to that pioneer initiative, the gathering will end with the screening of Kilenc Hónap / Nine Months (1976), the film by the Hungarian moviemaker Márta Mészáros shown as part of that initiative.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, the members of the research team are: Ekhiñe Etxeberria Garjón, Laida Mendia Vicente, Amaranta Díaz, Pablo Lillo and Oderay Ponce de León, under the direction of Pablo La Parra Pérez.