Dance First, a biographical drama from The Theory of Everything director James Marsh about the life of Irish Nobel prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett, will close the 71st San Sebastian Festival.
The feature, which stars Gabriel Byrne as Beckett alongside Sandrine Bonnaire as his long-time partner, and eventual wife Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil, will close the 2023 San Sebastian festival on Sept. 30. Dance First will screen out of competition at San Sebastian.
Dance First follows Beckett’s life from his time as a fighter for the French Resistance during the Second World War, through his friendship with fellow Irish literary luminary James Joyce, his rise with such groundbreaking plays as Waiting for Godot, Endgame and Happy Days — which established the Theater of the Absurd movement — to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, and his later life as a recluse. Written by Neil Forsyth, the film also features Aidan Gillen as James Joyce and Fionn O’Shea as a younger Beckett. The film’s cast also includes Maxine Peake, Robert Aramayo, Leonie Lojkine, Bronagh Gallagher, Lisa Dwyer Hogg, Barry O’Connor and Gráinne Good.
Marsh, an Oscar winner for 2009 documentary Man on Wire, which he co-directed with Simon Chinn, helmed 2014’s The Theory of Everything, about the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, which received five Oscar nominations, and one win, for lead Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.
The 71st San Sebastian Film Festival runs Sept. 22-30.