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Newsletter No. 729
The San Sebastian Film Festival logo
The 62nd San Sebastian Film Festival
22nd to 28th September 2014

Monday, the 22nd: Up early before my lovely nurse arrives and check my blood sugar level and give myself an insulin injection. Estelle arrives and sorts out my pill box for the week. She wishes me a good holiday and warns me about eating too much pastry and other good things. Quickly shave and shower. Dress and finish packing. Go downstairs and discover that the lovely Stella stayed the night. She asks if she can stay here while I am away. I tell her of course. She will come to Paris again in January and stay here. I can think of nothing better. Make a coffee for Graham Smith and myself. He flies to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Say goodbye to Maria Erikson, Stella and Graham Smith and out the door. Bus to the Gare Montparnasse. Purchase a bottle of water and a pastry that Estelle warned me about. My train departs for Hendaye at 10h28.
Painless trip. Eat a pasta lunch. Get a text message that Jone Karres cannot meet my train. I know that she is going to be extra busy during the Film Festival. I am to taxi to meet my hostess, Idoia. At Hendaye, get the commuter train to San Sebastian. With the help of a local lovely, get a taxi to where I am to meet Idoia. We walk the 20 meters to her building and take the elevator to the 5th floor. Test my blood sugar and it is high. Damn. It is the pasta I had for lunch. Idoia explains the place to me, but I will only use the bed and the shower, so I do not need to know much. She is going to see her mother, Carmen, in Pamplona, for a few days.
She walks with me to the Accreditation Centre (henceforth known as the Palacio Kursaal) to help me to get my badge. Meet the wonderful Jone Karres. She is talking with a journalist from Zurich, Geri Krebs, and we are introduced. Jone also comes with me to help with my accreditation. We have to sit while my photo is being attached to the badge. David Bumstead passes. He and I met last February via Jone. He rushes off. Bob Flynn passes, doesn't see me and I shout his name. He comes over for a short chat. Everyone is busy. He rushes off. Jone introduces me to a critic from Germany, Harald Zander. Then my badge is almost ready. Go across the street to the Picachilla taberna with Idoia for tonic watch and a chorizo sandwich.
Back again to the Palacio Kursaal and a very attractive Andrea Goldfinger has my badge ready for me. Her father is English and her mother is Basque. I thank her and tell her she is lovely and she blushes a bright red. Back to the Picachilla with Idoia for a cafe con leche. See Jone but she is sitting with two people and I suspect they are speaking German, so decide to leave her in peace. (Later I learn that she was interviewing the director, Christian Petzold.) She departs and does not see me. Idoia departs as well and says she will call me later.
I dine alone in the VientoSur. Delicious. In bed about midnight. Tired and contented.

Tuesday, 23rd: Sleep late. Strange to wake up in a different bed and in a different apartment and in a different city. Quickly do my medical chores, dress and am out the door. Greet the doorman, Oscar, and walk the very short distance to VientoSur for my morning coffee. Remember that Jone texted me that David Bumstead could be found in the Hotel Maria Cristina and was often free to chat (when he was not translating). After coffee, stroll across the bridge to the Hotel Maria Cristina. It feels like the Hotel Carlton in Cannes. The same crazy energy with people from various parts of the cinema world all running about. And there are people waiting patiently outside a metal barrier to see "stars" and to seek autographs. I remember my 25 Cannes Film Festivals with mixed emotions. I do not spot David anywhere, so elect to have a breakfast feast in the hotel. People at nearby tables all talking film deals in various territories. I hear Beijing and Buenos Aires mentioned. Maria Eriksson calls from Paris. It seems she cannot open my email messages. Shitski!
Walk back to the Palacio Kursaal and no Andrea G to be seen. Chat with two of her associates. Go downstairs and hear a press conference in Spanish. A woman sitting nearby suddenly gets up and it is Jone. She is on her way to the Hotel Maria Cristina, so elect to walk with her. We meet one of the twins I met in February. Get all of Jone's news. She has moved to a new apartment. She was up dancing at a party to the wee hours.

Jim and David Bumstead at the Hotel Maria Cristina - Photo Jone Karres
Jim and David Bumstead at the Hotel Maria Cristina
Photo Jone Karres

In the hotel, we meet David B. Give him a copy of Everything Is! David suggests we all meet for lunch at 2 in the Moto Club restaurant. He will reserve a table for six people. He will collect me from the hotel and we will walk over together. Jone introduces me to Wolfgang Hamdorf from Berlin and to a Michael Barkham from Canada. I give Jone a copy of Thanks for Coming! Encore! She will join us for lunch. Jone and David disappear to make a few interviews. I sit and scribble a few notes.

Visit with the young women at the hotel Film Festival information desk. Virginia is studying medicine and Anne is studying English. It is suddenly almost 2, so head for the reception area. Find Jone talking to someone. I am introduced. She says she was looking for me. As we leave the hotel, we meet Carol Unger from L.A. who is also a translator and also involved with the festival. Jone suggests she join us. We three walk slowly across the bridge, pass my apartment and turn left and into the restaurant. Michael Barkham is here and already having lunch. He says he is too hungry to wait, that our table for six is in the back room. We are: Jone, David B, David Hughes, Carol Unger, and Luis Rivero (from Australia). Lunch is delicious. I am beginning to think I have come to a Foodie Festival and not a film festival.
After lunch, I decide to see Love is Strange in the Principal Cinema. It is next to Jone's old apartment. Several people stroll with me, but only I elect to see the 16h30 screening. Everyone else has things to do. Luis Rivero speaks to someone before I enter the theatre and suddenly I get super VIP treatment. I must ask him what he said.

Carol Unger, Jim and David Bumstead - Photo Jone Karres
Carol Unger, Jim and David Bumstead
Photo Jone Karres

The film is sweet. Two elderly gay men in New York decide to get married. When it is reported, one of them loses his job. The director and the writer of the screen play, Ira Sachs, has covered a sensitive subject extremely well. Suddenly I have to pee and I am feeling a bit tired. I reluctantly leave the theatre and walk back to my apartment for a wee siesta. Test my blood sugar level and it is reasonable.
Later visit the Kursaal and give Andrea G my book, Everything Is! and give a copy of Thanks for Coming! Encore! to a lovely woman who will pass it to José Luis Rebordinos, the Director of the Film Festival.
Go across the street to the Picachilla taberna for a coffee and a chorizo sandwich. See a fellow sitting near me who has the same mobile smart phone. Go over to him and ask if he can teach me a few things. He says he will try, but his girlfriend is much better than he is with this. And he manages to fix a problem. His name is Eneko San Sebastian. I tell him my family name is Haynes and I was born in Haynesville. We both laugh. His girlfriend, Mireia Unanue, arrives and she is one of the press officers in the Film Festival. They depart and I thank them profusely. Then I successfully text a few people.
I decide to go see a film, The Salt of the Earth, at 22h00 in the Principal Theatre and slowly cross the bridge and head into the Old Town. Immediately hear someone shout my name. It is Bob Flynn. We continue walking together and decide to have a dinner somewhere. We turn into a street and Bob spots a restaurant that seems to be full of people. Always a good sign. And yes, they have one table free. It is called La Muralla and it is wonderful. Our waiter, Adrian, is also a great guy. Bob and I talk about the Edinburgh Festival, this Film Festival, the wonderful Jone Karres, and the recent Scottish election. Bob is not happy with the results. He also talks about a fabulous woman he recently met named Lucia who lives in Bilbao. Very late two extremely full and happy fellows walk in opposite directions to their beds. Later I hear that The Salt of the Earth is an excellent film.

Wednesday, 24th: Text message from Jone gets me up early and into action. Test blood sugar and in spite of the lemon pie last night, my level is fine. Shave, shower and shampoo. Dress and soon out the door. Another bright sunny and warm day. I really like San Sebastian. It is a truly glorious city. Brief visit with Andrea G.
Walk to the Old Town and sit at a café in Boulevard and have a coffee. Get a call from Idoia. She will join me. And soon appears on her bicycle. She is going to Pamplona in an hour with two friends in their car. And will come back on Friday evening. She will come to collect me on Saturday morning and take me to get the train to Hendaye. Her friends telephone and we walk to meet them. I am introduced, but do not remember their names. They walk with me to the rear entrance of the Hotel Maria Cristina. Go inside and look for Jone and David B. Not to be seen.
Chat briefly with a woman who seems to be a bar employee. She lived a year in Paris and loved it. Get a text from David B who says he will be having lunch at 3h00 in the Moto Club.
Walk back to my apartment and rest a bit. Then out the door and walk around the corner to the Moto Club restaurant. David B is there but we will wait for David Hughes to arrive. Which is what he does fairly quickly. Jone appears and she joins us briefly, but will not have lunch. I tell David B that if he needs an English teacher to cover for him, I am available. I say I will be pleased to take one or two of his classes. He says he can use me on Friday morning. Not only is lunch delicious once again, but David B insists upon treating.
Try to use a computer in the press room to check my email, but it does not have a mouse. And I fail completely. Graham Smith calls from my atelier. He failed to get his flight and has been re-scheduled for tomorrow. He will see if he can get into my computer and attempt to answer my email. Later he calls again and he has succeeded. This calls for a rest.
Then about 7h00, I head out to meet David B. But he is not at the place he had suggested we meet. It seems Pedro Almodovar has a birthday party and has reserved the entire place. So I join them at another place whose name I do not remember. I am introduced to Stuart Kelling, who is from Edinburgh, but living now in a small town near Bilboa. I also meet a Joe O'Dowd. David Hughes and Luis Rivero are also present. Many tales are related. Many involving translators and translating.
We elect to move to another place. See Gabriella Ranelli. She is another person Jone introduced to me last February. It seems that we will be now in the Picachilla Taberna. Then slowly people begin to drift off. Only Joe and I are left. I suggest we have something to eat in the VientoSur. We go next door for more talk and a modest feast.

Thursday, 25th: Great night's sleep. Up about 8h30 and straight away do my medical things. Dress and go down to my VientoSur for morning coffee. Cross the street to the Kursaal and visit with Andrea and the other sweethearts. Back to VientoSur for another coffee. Decide to see the film Lasa and Zabala at a press screening in the Kursaal main salle at 12 Noon. There are long queues, but I manage to get inside painlessly. This is a film about the Basques troubles when two young lads disappear. Their bodies are found and it seems that they have been murdered. I know that this film is relevant and good that it has been made, but it is too violent for me. I cannot handle it, so slip out after about 30 minutes.
In the afternoon, there is a Dorothy Arzner (1897-1979) retrospective. Twelve films. All look enchanting. I want to see them all. Walk to the Principe Cinema and manage to get a place for the 18h15 screening, The Bride Wore Red, with Joan Crawford and Robert Young. It is wonderful.
Slowly make my way toward the planned gathering across the bridge. Join a large group of people that includes both David's and many others.
After everyone has departed, Bob and I elect to have dinner in the VientoSur restaurant. Learn that Bob went to St. Andrews University and that his father was Polish. He and I both travelled to Warsaw in 1981.

Friday, 26th: Get a text from David Bumstead. This gets me up and into action. After I have done my medical treatments, I check what David has written. He suggests we meet at the |Hotel Maria Cristina and we will taxi to his school from there. Quickly shower, shave and shampoo. And dress. Go downstairs to have my morning coffee at the VientoSur and it has not opened yet. Walk across the bridge to the Hotel Maria Cristina and sit in the bar area and await David's arrival. I am early. Life in the hotel is slowly coming alive.

David arrives and soon we are in a taxi rolling the short distance to his school. David Hughes has been giving his classes so that David B is free to translate for the Film Festival.
I am introduced to various staff members as we slowly make our way upstairs. As usual I do not know what I will "do", but I will wing it as they say in jazz. David B introduces me. The class room is filled with bright young faces. The hour passes in a flash. Lots of questions. I think it is a success. I know that I have enjoyed myself. I just hope everyone else has as well. I invite everyone to come and dine when they come to Paris. David Hughes suggests a photo-op. The kids gather around me as David snaps away.
Outside in the warm sun, the two Davids and I stroll down the hill towards a bus stop. David Hughes suddenly realizes he has forgotten his jacket and returns to the school to collect it. David B and I catch a bus and ride two stops and walk the short distance to the Bar Tanger. Everything in this glorious city is a short distance. We consume coffee (me); my first of the day. Don't remember what David B has.

Jim and the kids in the class room- Photo David Hughes
Jim and the kids in the class room-
Photo David Hughes

Various friends pass including Philip who I met my last night in San Sebastian in February. Plus the wonderful Luis Rivero, who is also a translator. David H is soon back with us - jacket in hand. David B has some translating to be undertaken, so David H and I stroll across a bridge to the Kursaal. Cannot remember what we wished to accomplished, but the lovely Andrea Goldfinger is away having her lunch break. Instead we have the equally lovely Malen. Learn she lived a year in Paris about fifty meters from me in the Avenue René Coty. We wanted information about trains to Hendaye tomorrow morning. Learn that I can catch a train at 8h45 that will get me in time to catch the TGV to Paris at 9h45. Thank Malen and ask her to pass my best wishes to Andrea. David and I go out to have another coffee. He suddenly remembers that he has a check to cash, so rushes off to the bank.
I sit in VientoSur and scribble a few notes. Then it is time to meet friends for lunch. Again in the Moto Club. Philip joins us, the two David's and me. And I think Jone too.
In the afternoon, Jone reports there is a screening of a French film in the Theatre Principal at 19h30. I ponder having dinner and then meeting Jone, but decide to see the film. It is called Samba. I arrive at the Theatre after the film has started and am surprised that I am allowed inside. I have not missed much. A terrific film dealing mainly with the problems of a young African, (played by Omar Sy) trying to survive without proper papers in Paris. It also features Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tahar Rahim.
Outside afterwards I meet Jone and she is with four journalists: Wolfgang Hamdorf, Manuel Meyer, Harald Zander and Geri Krebs. Jone suggests we find a place to sit, eat and drink. I report I would like to see one of the Eastern European films, so Jone leads us in that direction. It's Friday night, so almost every place is full of people. Finally she finds a place. We sit outside and order food and drinks. I manage to eat a few bites and then it is time for me to depart. Jone insists upon coming with me. But the film I wish to see, Lost and Found - Six Glances of a Generation, is not screening tonight. Damn. It is screening tomorrow and I will be in Paris. But there is a screening of a film entitled The Life and Death of a Porn Gang at 22h45. I elect to see it. Directed and screenplay by Mladen Djordjevic; it is a bit of a mess. Still I stick it out - all 110 minutes. I wonder if my dear friends in Belgrade, Bojana & Dusan Makavejev, have seen it and what they think...
Decide to have an early night. Walk slowly back across the bridge to my lovely apartment, fall into bed and quickly land in Dreamland.

Saturday, 27th: My last morning in San Sebastian. Over-sleep, but not by much. Quickly up, complete my medical items, wash and dress. No sign of my hostess. Reluctantly call Jone because I do not wish to wake her. Get her answering machine and leave a message that I need to talk with Idoia. Time is ticking and if I do not hurry, I will miss the train to Hendaye and to Paris. Leave my keys on the kitchen table. Out the door and ask a woman on the street where I can find a taxi. She tells me to walk a short distance and I will find one. I do as she suggests and am beginning to panic. Luck is with me. A taxi comes up the street. I hail it and it stops. Ask to be taken to the station to catch the train to Hendaye. In the taxi, Jone calls. I tell her I am in a taxi and that it looks like I will not miss the train. She reports that Idoia had her mobile stolen and that is why she failed to call me. Arrive at the station and purchase my ticket to Hendaye. On the platform have a conversation with a lawyer from L.A. who is living in München. We talk all the way to Hendaye. He is not catching the TGV to Paris, so I rush to find my correct place. And the train is on its way. I made it. Another adventure in life's short saga. I ponder what it would be to live in San Sebastian. A delightful city that's for sure. Like Edinburgh in many ways. But I know deep down that I must continue to live in Paris with my wonderful atelier, many fantastic friends, and great medical services. Vive la France! I love Paris - there is no doubt about it. But I know I will travel to San Sebastian again for another Film Festival. Thank you, José Luis Rebordinos. Thank you, Jone Karres. Thank you, David Bumstead. It has been a fabulous five days.
Just after 3, we pull into the Gare Montparnasse. Find a taxi and am soon home. I have over 150 email messages to deal with. Elect to have a take-away Japanese dinner. Call Tokyo Yaki and soon I am enjoying another delicious meal. Early to bed.

Monday, 28th: We were almost 60 last night. Galina's dinner was delicious. When all the plates come back empty and when people ask for second helpings, you know the meal has been a success. Slowly consume my morning coffee and cereal. No sign of Stella. She did not come home last night. I hope she is OK. Read the International Herald Tribune (cannot call it the International New York Times.) There is an obit for Alastair Reid. He died yesterday in Manhattan. I guess I can call him a friend, but we never lived in the same city. I saw him often in August in Edinburgh. A poet, a writer and a translator from Spanish into English, Alastair was an amazing fellow. His translations included both Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda. He was 88 years young. Go upstairs and write an email message to Stephanie Wolfe Murray, his publisher (and my publisher) and his and my friend. I also write Bob Flynn to thank him for suggesting I attend the San Sebastian Film Festival and for introducing me to Jone Karres because tomorrow is her birthday. I fire off an email message to her and thank her for the great days in San Sebastian and wish her a "Happy Birthday"...

A few afterthoughts. This first draft posted to Jone Karres, David Bumstead, and David Hughes. Jone replied with a bunch of corrections. She also wanted me to point out that her company name has been changed to ADOREBASQUE, her web site is www.adorebasque.com

I am sorry to report that I was not able to meet with Luisa Etxenike, who is busy with a new novel, nor with Elena Estomba, the Manager of the fabulous Hotel de Londres. Nor to spend more time with Gabriella Ranelli. The five days flew past and suddenly there was no more time.

I also am sorry to have missed Isabelle Stoffel. She travelled to San Sebastian and arrived Saturday after my departure. But she did meet Jone Karres.

 

Isabelle Stoffel and Jone Karres - Photo J.Karres
Isabelle Stoffel and Jone Karres - Photo J.Karres
 

 

Jim Haynes
September 2014

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France

 

 

 

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