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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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SPANISH TRADITIONS

How Spain celebrates All Saints’ Day

All Saints' Day or Día de Todos los Santos as it’s called in Spanish falls on November 1st and is a public holiday in Spain. Discover how this day is celebrated across the country.

How Spain celebrates All Saints' Day

Major shops are closed, kids stay home from school and many businesses are shut too, so what do Spaniards do on All Saints’ Day? 

A day at the cemeteries

The most traditional activity to do on All Saints’ Day is to go to the local cemetery. Spanish families usually go together to the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried, clean their gravestones and leave fresh flowers. Some cemeteries may even have events on such as live music or dance performances.

It’s also a day for spending time with family and perhaps meeting at someone’s house for a meal.  

READ ALSO: Five weird and wonderful Spanish traditions on All Saints’ Day 

Traditional treats to enjoy on Día de Todos los Santos

Panellets

Panellets are traditional sweets from Catalonia eaten around this time of year. They are typically small balls made from marzipan and studded with pine nuts. You can, however, get many different flavours and many different types of decorations such as chocolate or even coffee ones, although most of them are still made with almond flour.  

Huesos de Santo

Saint’s bones as they are called in English are another typical treat found all over Spain at this time of year. Also made from marzipan, they’re long finger-like rolls filled with a sweet egg-yolk custard, created to look like bones. Today you can find many different flavours such as chocolate, coconut, praline or even yoghurt.

Try some huesos de Santo on All Saints’ Day. Photo: Tamorlan / WikiCommons

Buñuelos de Viento

Wind fritters are small deep-fried fritters or doughnuts, which are again found in many regions across Spain during this time of year. They’re made from a batter of flour, sugar, eggs and milk and then deep-fried in hot oil before being filled with different creamy centres.

The most typical is vanilla cream, but you can also find many different types. Another favourite is those filled with cabello de ángel or angel hair, which is essentially candied spaghetti squash.

Legend says that when you eat a buñuelo, a soul is released from purgatory, which is why eating them has become a popular custom on All Saints’ Day.

Experts vary in their opinion as to the origins of these fritters. Some say they date back to the Moors, while others claim that one of the first references to them went as far back as Roman times.

La Castañada

La Castañada (Castanyada in Catalan) is a tradition held across Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Aragón and coincides with All Saints’ Day and Halloween, even though it’s a separate festival. During the days leading up to these and the days itself, you’ll find chestnut sellers on street corners, roasting shiny brown chestnuts and big pumpkin-coloured sweet potatoes.

Children also go to school around the time, dressed as chestnut sellers.

This is the time of year for roast chestnuts in Spain. Photo: Angel Abril Ruiz / WikiCommons

Many regions in Spain have their own versions of the Castañada, such as Gaztañerre Eguna in the Basque Country and Navarra, which is known as the ‘día de las castañas asadas‘ or day of the roast chestnuts. It is typically celebrated on November 2nd and All Saints’ Night when families gather to honour their deceased loved ones by eating chestnuts, snails in sauce and motokil, similar to polenta made from cornmeal.

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