“Dance First,” a portrait of Irish writer Samuel Beckett starring Gabriel Byrne and directed by Oscar winner James Marsh, will close this year’s San Sebastian Film Festival, playing out of competition.
Byrne, a memorable lead in “The Usual Suspects” and “Miller’s Crossing” who also won a Golden Globe for his performance in “In Treatment,” plays Beckett. The Nobel Prize-winning playwright was a Parisian bon vivant and WWII resistance fighter who became a recluse, living the last years of his life in a single room in a nursing home, ashamed of past actions and convinced that for much of his life he had been a failure.
U.K. director Marsh won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2009 with “Man on Wire.” He also directed the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything,” which earned five nominations at the 2015 Oscars, including best picture, and a best actor statue for Eddie Redmayne.
Sandrine Bonnaire, winner of two Césars in addition to a Volpi Cup from the 1995 Venice Festival for Claude Chabrol’s “The Ceremony,” plays Beckett’s wife, Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil.
“Dance First” also stars “Game of Thrones” actor Aidan Gillen as James Joyce.
An official U.K., Belgium, Hungary co-production, “Dance First” was developed with Sky Arts in the U.K.
It is produced by 2LE Media’s Michael Livingstone and Tom Thostrup, as well as Viktória Petrányi of Hungary’s Proton Cinema (“Pieces of a Woman,” “Midsommar”) and Belgium’s Umedia (“The Artist,” “Yves Saint Laurent”) as co-producers, with Film Constellation’s Fabien Westerhoff serving as executive producer.
San Sebastian’s closing film berth represents the third high profile title for Film Constellation at this year’s San Sebastian Festival, which has Isabel Coixet’s “Un Amor” in competition and Fernando Trueba’s “They Shot the Piano Player” as a special screening.
- James Marsh’s ‘Dance First,’ Starring Gabriel Byrne as Samuel Beckett, to Close San Sebastian Film Festival
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