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  • Jennifer Green

San Sebastián Review: "20,000 Species of Bees"

Basque drama 20,000 Species of Bees (20.000 Especies de Abejas) marks the opening film of the Zinemira section at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, which kicks off today in the Basque city in northern Spain and runs through Sept. 30.


Species was one of three finalists to represent Spain in this year’s International Oscar category. That came after the film won top prizes at the Spanish Film Festival of Málaga last spring and its star, Sofía Otero, took home the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance at the Berlinale. Just 8 years old at the time, she was the youngest person ever to earn this honor.


The distinction was deserved. Otero is the contemplative, curious, perceptive heart of this tremendous film, alongside Patricia López Arnaiz, who plays her mother Ane. Otero’s character, known alternately as Aitor, Coco and Lucía, feels instinctually that she was born in the wrong body. She is a girl, though she wasn’t born one. Unable to voice this clearly, she spends the waning days of summer surrounded by mostly female relatives in her mother’s Basque village trying to make sense of her truth.


Read the full review on AWFJ.org.

Images courtesy of B Team Pictures.

 



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