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San Sebastián lines up its stars

Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon to appear at next festival

Richard Gere greets fans in San Sebastián at the 2007 festival.
Richard Gere greets fans in San Sebastián at the 2007 festival.JESÚS URIARTE

The San Sebastián International Film Festival had announced on its Twitter feed the time and date that it was going to reveal the name of the film that will open its Official Section, on September 21. But the deadline came and went, and there was still no news of the movie. Festival director José Luis Rebordinos was talking to the media at a related event at the time, but declined to give out any specifics, saying only that "we're going to have two big names with us. "

As the journalists were getting up to leave, a voice rang out: "That's it, you've confirmed it." So what's the movie?" asked the director. " Arbitrage ," came the reply.

"That's right! Now we can talk," joked Rebordinos, sitting back down in his chair.

The movie, Rebordinos explained, stars Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, previous winners of the festival's Donostia Award. "It will be an honor to have these two prize winners here in San Sebastián with us again," he said.

The movie, which is directed by Nicholas Jarecki, will premiere in Europe at the Zinemaldia section of the festival. The rest of the cast includes other celebrity names such as Laetitia Casta, Tim Roth and Nate Parker.

The story, described as "a taut and alluring thriller about love and loyalty in the world of high finance," focuses on Robert Miller, played by Gere, who won the festival's top prize in 2007. He is the quintessential successful businessman, who is always in the company of his faithful wife Ellen (Sarandon, who accepted the Donostia award in 1995), and their daughter Brooke, who will inherit the family empire. But "behind the golden walls of their mansion, Miller is up to his neck in trouble, desperate to complete the sale of his empire to a large bank before he is exposed for a fraud that he committed," the festival organizers said.

Rebordinos also spent some time talking about the crisis and how it has affected the festival. More specifically, he talked about the general strike called for September 26 in the Basque Country by the nationalist unions ELA and LAB, coinciding with the event, which is now into its 60th year.

"We will deal with it the best way we can," he promised.

The director also said that they have not yet decided whether the announced rise in value-added tax, which goes into effect in September and will hit the film industry particularly hard (the tax will skyrocket from eight to 21 percent), will affect the price of movie tickets, as many cinemagoers fear.

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