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CULTURE

‘Marlowe’ closes Spain’s San Sebastian film festival

Spain's prestigious San Sebastian film festival wrapped up on Saturday with the international premiere of "Marlowe" starring Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson.

Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger
Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson (L) and German actress Diane Kruger pose during a photo call for the film "Marlowe" during the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian on September 24, 2022. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

Based on John Banville’s novel “The Black Eyed Blonde”, the movie is set in 1930s Los Angeles.

Private eye Philip Marlowe — played by Neeson — is tasked with finding the missing ex-lover of Clare Cavendish, a beautiful heiress played by German-born actress Diane Kruger.

The character Marlowe has been played before by the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Elliott Gould, but Neeson said this pedigree didn’t phase him from taking part in the neo-noir thriller.

“Even though these wonderful actors have played it before, that didn’t intimidate me,” Neeson told a press conference in San Sebastian.

The film by Oscar-winning director Neil Jordan was screened out of competition at the 70th edition of the festival, which opened in San Sebastian in northern Spain on September 16.

“We don’t get to play those kind of characters very often anymore or those kind of films are not being made that often anymore,” said Kruger, known for films such as “Inglourious Basterds” and “Troy”.

“I knew Neil would give it a certain quirky twist and that he would cast it superbly,” said Neeson.

A total of 17 films are competing for the best award in the official selection, with the festival’s prizes to be announced at a ceremony late Saturday.

The festival is the fourth major European film gala of the year, following Cannes, Venice and Berlin.

It was originally intended to honour Spanish-language films but has established itself as a top showcase for new films.

The festival hosted the world premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller “North by Northwest” in 1959 and Woody Allen’s “Melinda and Melinda” in 2004.

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UKRAINE

‘More to offer’ than war: Ukrainian art on display at museum in Spain

Dozens of modern artworks removed from Kyiv to protect them from Russian strikes that have already done huge damage to Ukraine's cultural heritage will go on display at a Madrid 's Thyssen-Bornemisza museum on Tuesday.

'More to offer' than war: Ukrainian art on display at museum in Spain

The works on show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum of Art as part of the “In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930” exhibition include oil paintings, sketches and collages.

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza founded “Museums for Ukraine” which is seeking to showcase Ukrainian art, using the museum which houses her late father’s collection for the exhibition.

The Madrid exhibition is one of a number of showings of Ukraine’s cultural heritage across Europe, as well as an effort to raise awareness of the threat posed to the war-torn country’s artistic legacy as fighting grinds on.

Curators say it is one of the most comprehensive surveys of Ukrainian modern art in the period between 1900 to 1930.

Many of the works have hardly been seen outside of Ukraine. The exhibition will run at the museum until April 30, and then go on show in Cologne in Germany from September 2023.

‘Vision’ of Russia’s destruction

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video shown at a preview Monday that “this is a vision of what Russia is trying to destroy”.

After weeks of intense preparation, the pieces were loaded into two trucks in mid-November just before the Ukrainian capital came under intense missile fire.

As it headed to the Polish border the convoy avoided passing infrastructure likely to be attacked, Thyssen-Bornemisza said.

When the convoy reached the border, they found it shut because a missile had just landed in a Polish village killing two people.

Thyssen-Bornemisza said she then asked Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain for help, who in turn contacted “every politician he knew between Poland and Ukraine”.

“It took them 12 hours that night — they managed to get through,” she said.

UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, says over 200 cultural sites in Ukraine, including museums, have been damaged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Krista Pikkat, UNESCO’s cultural and emergencies director, said in October that “cultural heritage is very often collateral damage during wars — but sometimes it’s specifically targeted”.

The Madrid exhibition is one of a number of showings of Ukraine’s cultural heritage across Europe. Photo: Oscar del Pozo

‘Talk about the war’

The exhibition follows a chronological order.

It starts with the 1910s when Ukraine was part of the Russian empire and ends in the 1930s when several artists died during purges carried out by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, said one of the show’s curators Katia Denysova.

Most of the works come from the National Art Museum of Ukraine.

Among the works on display is “Composition”, a Cubist-inspired painting by Vadym Meller and a realistic portrait of a soldier by Kostiantyn Yeleva.

“It is important for us to continue to talk about the war,” Denysova said.

“But we also want to show with this project that Ukraine has so much more to offer.”

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