25 Basque productions set to screen at the Nantes Film Festival

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


The Fenêtre Basque (Basque Window) section, which takes place every year at the Festival du Cinéma Espagnol de Nantes, is one of the most extensive lineups of Basque films outside the Basque Country. Promoted by the Etxepare Basque Institute, Fenêtre Basque offers a selection of the year’s most notable Basque productions, as well as films by outstanding Basque filmmakers.

This year, a total of 19 Basque productions will be screened from 22 March to 1 April, including thirteen feature films, one short film, and five shorts from the Kimuak 2023 collection. Five of the productions will be up for competition and several sections will feature Basque films. A total of 25 Basque films will be screened at the 33rd Festival du Cinéma Espagnol de Nantes.

Among the films to be screened in Fenêtre Basque, several will be included in competitive sections. ‘Chinas’ (2023) directed by Arantxa Echevarría, and ‘Sobre todo de noche’ (2023) by Víctor Iriarte, will compete for Best Fiction Feature Film. ´Zinzindurrunkarratz´ (2023), directed by Oskar Alegría, winner of an award a few years ago at the festival, will compete for Best Documentary Film. The Basque production ´Upon Entry´ (Alejandro Rojas & Juan Sebastián Vásquez, 2023) will vie for the Premiers Film Award, and David Pérez Sañudo’s ‘El rey de la semana’ (2023) will compete for Best Short Film.

20,000 Species of Bees’ (2023) by Estíbaliz Urresola, ‘Robot Dreams’ (2023) by Pablo Berger, and ‘Las chicas están bien’ (2023) by Itsaso Arana will be screened in the festival’s Official Selection but not in competition.

The Fenêtre Basque feature film roster also includes ‘Negu hurbilak’ (2023, by Colectivo Negu, the story of a woman who flees the Basque Country; Félix Viscarret´s delightful comedy ‘Una vida no tan simple’ (2023), about the complexities of being a paren; and the documentary ‘Arnasa Betean/ A pulmón’ (2023), directed by Bertha Gaztelumendi and Rosa Zufía, which pays tribute to Basque women filmmakers both past and present.

The festival will show some of the most important films of our cinema heritage, most of which have never been screened at Nantes. Two of the films in the Basque film series will be screened in this programme dedicated to remastered classic cinema: ‘Arrebato’, directed by Iván Zulueta (1979), and ‘La semana del asesino’ by Eloy de la Iglesia (1972).

Several Basque productions from Fenêtre Basque will be part of the section dedicated to animation. Raúl de la Fuente’s ‘Un día más con vida’ (2018) follows Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski as he covers the outbreak of Angola’s civil war in 1975. The Basque production ‘La mujer ilustrada’ (Isabel Herguera, 2023), included in the 2023 Kimuak selection, and ‘Robot Dreams’ (Pablo Berger, 2023) will also be featured in the animated films section.

As in past editions, Fenêtre Basque will also feature some of the films from the Kimuak 2023 catalogue: ‘Prioridades’ (Tamara Lucarini Cortés, 2023), ‘El aprendiz’ (Raúl Campos, 2023), ‘Deadly Draw’ (Nitya Lopez Saitua, 2023), ‘Ximinoa’ (Itziar Leemans, 2023) and ‘La mujer ilustrada’ (Isabel Herguera, 2023).

Besides the 19 Basque productions in the section dedicated to Basque cinema, films from the Basque Country will also prominently feature in various sections of the festival. A total of six more Basque productions will be screened: in the Official Selection, but not in competition, ‘Cerrar los ojos’ (2023) by Víctor Erice; in Remastered Classic Cinema, ‘El espíritu de la colmena’ (1973) by Víctor Erice; and in the Animated Films section: ‘Psiconautas’ (2015), ‘Decorado’ (2016), ‘Unicorn Wars’ (2022) and ‘To Bird or not to Bird’ (2023). The latter, produced by Uniko Films, will also compete for Best Short Film.

In addition to this wide-ranging showcase of Basque cinema, Nantes will host several guests, including numerous representatives from the Basque film industry, including Arantxa Echeverría, Víctor Iriarte, Oskar Alegria, Pablo Berger, the Negu Collective, Ritxi Lizartza and Félix Viscarret.

This year´s guest of honour is Basque filmmaker Víctor Erice, who will be presenting his latest film, ‘Cerrar los ojos’ (2023). On 28 March, together with Michel Gaztambide and film critic Alain Berlanga, Erice will  give a masterclass on the documentary series ‘París-Madrid allers-retours’ (2010) at Théâtre Graslin. The director of the Basque Film Archive, Joxean Fernández, will host the talk.

In addition to presenting his latest film, ‘Robot Dreams’ (2023), Pablo Berger will present a concert and screening of ‘Blancanieves’, also directed by Berger. The event will take place at Ópera del Théâtre Graslin Nantes on 23 and 25 March, and the concert will by performed by L ´Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire.

Etxepare Basque Institute and the festival

Nantes is among the European cities that have shown the most recognition and appreciation for Basque cinema. Now in its 23rd year, Fenêtre Basque has invited numerous Basque figures to Nantes to showcase their work and engage with the public. The Etxepare Basque Institute has sponsored the section dedicated to Basque films cinema since 2011. It is worth noting that Fenêtre Basque in Nantes longest-running showcase of Basque films outside the Basque Country.

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