San Sebastian 2021 Day 8: We say goodbye to the Festival with ‘The laws of the border’, the quinqui cinema by Daniel Monzón

We are leaving the 69th edition of the San Sebastian contest with the adaptation of the homonymous novel by Javier Cercas and the Todd Haynes documentary ‘The Velvet Underground’.


It’s time to say goodbye to San Sebastian Festival. After a week, the 69th edition of the San Sebastian contest is now preparing to deliver its awards, and it does so by lowering the curtain with one of the essential films of Spanish cinema for the remainder of the year: The laws of the border scored by Daniel Monzón.

Based on the homonymous novel by Javier Cercas, the film is a striking and exciting story about an innocent young man who, in the middle of the Spanish Transition, enters the criminal world. The laws of the border It has served as the closing of the Official Section -out of competition- of the Festival, which has also finished its section Perlak with Todd Haynes documentary The Velvet Underground.

‘The laws of the border’

Daniel Monzon enters his new film to adapt the novel of the same name by Javier Cercas The laws of the border. The film, commissioned to close the Official Section -out of competition- and the 69th edition of the San Sebastián Festival, is a engaging, captivating and exciting movie which tells of the entry of a 17-year-old into the criminal world in the 70s, in the middle of the Spanish Transition.

With The laws of the border, a drama ‘coming-of-age’ quinqui that reaches the cinemas on October 8th, Monzón returns to topics such as the criminal world, closer to the fantastic Cell 211 (2009) -eight Goya awards and an unforgettable Luis Tosar as inmate Malamadre- already The child (2014) than his latest feature film, the comedy Yucatan (2018).

Ignacio Cañas, a middle-class boy who lives in Girona and who has one year left to reach the age of majority, spends the summer going to the swimming pool, going to the movies and spending the afternoons at the arcades. Forever Alone. Always trying not to run into the group of young people who harass and bully him. It is during a pinball game that he crosses his life Tere and El Zarco. They belong to a totally different world from the protagonist. They come from slums, take drugs, and make money by stealing or selling pills they have stolen. But Ignacio, a socially vulnerable boy, finds in El Zarco and in the rest of his gang the feeling of belonging that he longs for and also his first love, which will make him enter the criminal world of his new gang. With them he smokes his first joint, drinks his first beer, loses his virginity and becomes one more thief.

“With your good face,” Tere tells Ignacio at one point when he has already helped El Zarco in his robberies. Marcos Ruiz, the actor in charge of giving life to the protagonist, perfectly embodies that innocent boy who loses his initial purity and naivety and ends up becoming a criminal. What Ruiz does is not easy considering the evolution of his character and, even so, the actor achieves it almost without disheveled. Also noteworthy are Begoña Vargas and Chechu Salgado as Tere and El Zarco, who also stand out as their characters.

Monzón, who also co-writes the script with Jorge Guerricaechevarría, sometimes departs from the original material in favor of cinematographic narration. With The laws of the border, the director shows that he still knows how to move between the emotional part -the romance between Tere and Ignacio, the protagonist’s relationship with his family, especially with his father, and his fall into the criminal world- and the action -the bank robberies, the chases and the shootings- with skill and skill.

But there are borders everywhere and each action means crossing it or staying in the same dice. For this reason, the feature film also talks about limits in the police world. Those in charge of investigating the robberies of the main gang are not so different from criminals: they are torturers, whores and negligent. Only one of them, a newcomer, has not allowed himself to be perverted by the practices of his colleagues. The laws of the border is one of the must-see movies of spanish cinema in the remainder of the year.

‘The Velvet Underground’


Finally, in Perlak, the Festival projects The Velvet Underground, the documentary by Todd Haynes -director of Carol (2015) and Wonderstruck. The museum of wonders (2017) – about the mythical music band sponsored by Andy Warhol.

The film could already be seen in Cannes and we tell you that the title “is a exercise of cannibalization of foreign material seeking to achieve a plastic category at the height of the images and songs of the band. Haynes does it practically without rufflingYou can read the full text below:

Cannes: Todd Haynes impone el rock n’roll con ‘The Velvet Underground’