Horror director David Cronenberg honoured at Spain’s San Sebastián film festival

Canadian director David Cronenberg, the master of stomach-churning body-horror classics, has been honoured at the San Sebastián film festival for a lifetime of work examining the dark side of the soul.

Horror director David Cronenberg honoured at Spain's San Sebastián film festival
Canadian director David Cronenberg receives the Donostia lifetime achievement award, in recognition of his prestigious film career, during 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian on September 21, 2022. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)

The sci-fi shockmeister, whose films include “The Fly”, “Dead Ringers” and “Crash”, received the honorary Donostia award at a gala in the northern Spanish city.

Earlier on Wednesday, the 79-year-old — whose latest film “Crimes of the Future” is a dystopian tale about a future where people undergo surgical alterations for the sake of art and sexual pleasure – said his work was not about seeking to push spectators to the limits but to push himself.

“It’s like I go on a creative journey exploring myself, my relationship with the world. I invent things and see how it feels… do they reveal some truth, something interesting, something entertaining,” he told reporters at the festival.

Watch David Cronenberg’s award speech below (starts around minute 12):

“And then I say to the audience: this is something I imagined, see what you think. So I’m not really trying to push the audience, I’m really pushing myself.”

When the film, starring Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen, premiered at Cannes in May, it divided the audience, sending many queasy viewers running for the exits but also winning a seven-minute standing ovation.

It will be screened later on Wednesday in San Sebastián.

‘The attraction of the forbidden’

“The appeal of art is to the unconscious, to the parts of ourselves that are still primitive and destructive, so in that way, we as artists are exploring those things that are hidden, that are forbidden, that are not to be acted upon in society, but still need to be understood, and to be expressed,” Cronenberg said.

“The attraction of cinema has always been what is forbidden, whether it’s as simple as sex in a time of repression, when sex was not to be shown on the screen, to other more obscure kinds of impulses like the ones that you might see in ‘Crimes of the Future’,” he said.

Winning the Donostia award was an encouragement to keep making films, he said.

“I used to think if you got an award for your whole career, they were basically saying enough, stop making films but I now realise it’s really to say: keep making films,” he said.

“So I hope to commit more crimes in the future by making more films.”

He said his next project was a film called “The Shrouds” starring Seydoux and Vincent Cassel which would begin shooting in Toronto in spring.

“It’s a very personal project for me. People who know me will know what parts of it are autobiographical,” he said.

Earlier this week, French actress Juliette Binoche was also honoured with a Donostia award for her acting career.

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How to get cheap cinema tickets in Spain

Whether you're looking to see the latest blockbuster or brush up on your Spanish skills, there are many reasons to enjoy a night out at the cinema. Here's how you can find discounted tickets.

How to get cheap cinema tickets in Spain

In summer Spain it’s not so common to go often to the cinema as many people choose the beach or parks instead (unless it’s way too hot and you need somewhere with good air-con to cool down). But, as autumn draws near and many parts of Spain start to experience wetter and colder weather, going to the movies becomes more popular. 

While going to the cinema in Spain can be cheaper than in some countries, it still sets you back quite a bit if you’re a family of four or more and you’re taking the kids too. 

READ ALSO – LISTED: Which cinemas in Spain show English language films?

Choose cheap days of the week 

There are certain days of the week in Spain when anyone can find cinema tickets at discounted prices. Wednesdays are one of the best days to go as it’s known as Spectator’s Day in Spain. Going on this day can save you an average of 20 percent on the ticket price. 

If you’re going to the cinema for a date night, then your best bet is to choose Thursdays as this is couples’ day at many cinemas. This means you can enjoy a discount if you’re buying two tickets at the same time.

Weekday mornings are also a great time to find cheaper tickets as there’s significantly less demand. 

Take advantage of the cinema festival 

Film festivals are regularly held in October in Spain, including the Fiesta del Cine. This year it’s on from October 2nd to the 5th, allowing you to get cinema tickets for just €3.50. 

Become a member of a cinema chain

There are many cinema chains located all over the country and several of them offer the chance to become a member in order to benefit from offers and discounted prices. An increasing number of cinemas also offer deals for regular customers. 

For example, Yelmo Cinemas can be found in almost all of Spain’s major cities. Become a member and you can accumulate points to get money off, enjoy exclusive promo deals and get cheap tickets on your birthday too. 

Another example is CineSur’s Tarjeta5, enabling you to get tickets for just €5.50. 

Make use of discounts 

Many cinemas in Spain offer discounts for certain people. For example, students, retirees and large families can almost always get a cheaper ticket than the regular rate. Students can show their student card, while those over the age of 65 can show their ID to prove their age. 

If you’re considered a familia numerosa in Spain, meaning you have three or more children, you too can benefit from discounts if you have the correct documentation and are properly registered. 

READ ALSO: Spain to give €2 cinema tickets to the over 65s

Look out for coupons and special offers 

Don’t forget, you can also scour the web for special offers and discount codes. Some good websites for cinema discounts are: 

There’s also the option to buy your movie ticket online and get cashback through a particular website. Some that offer this are Beruby and Shoppiday.