LatinoBuzz: Official Selection at the San Sebastian Film Festival

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by Sydney Levine
August 7, 2013 3:30 PM
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The Spanish themselves are showing their latest works in the San Sebastian Film Festival.  Are these the last films to be made at the end of the era before austerity measures began in Spain, or does creativity truly grow best during difficult times?  The films are by Manuel Martín Cuenca, David Trueba and Denis Villeneuve whose film, Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaalis a Canadian-Spanish coproduction, and the first work from the filmmaker Fernando Franco. Another four young talents will compete in the New Directors section: Fran Araujo, Ernesto de NovaIsabel Ayguavives and Aarón Fernández.  The premiere in the Velodrome is the film by Oskar SantosZipi y Zape y el club de la canica (Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang).

The 61st edition of the event will pay tribute with a Donostia Award to the actress Carmen Maura, recognizing one of the most remarkable professional careers in the Spanish cinema of recent decades. The actress will receive the lifetime achievement award during presentation in the Official Selection, out-of-competition, of her latest participation: Las brujas de Zugarramurdi, the new work from Álex de la Iglesia.  

Other notable films to watch for are the Chilean-Spanish coproduction El Árbol Magnetico (The Magnetic Tree), first feature from the director Isabel Ayguavives  about a young boy's return to the country of his birth, Chile, after a long absence, the second film from Aarón Fernández, Las Horas Muertas (The Empty Hours), a Mexico-Spain-France coproduction already screened as part of Films in Progress at the 60th edition of the Festival. Also El Rayo (Hassan's Way: El Reyo, the first work by Fran Araujo   and Ernesto de Nova describing the odyssey of Hassan, a Moroccan immigrant who can no longer find work in Spain after thirteen years in the country and decides to go home.

The sleeper hit of Cannes' Un Certain Regard this year, Wakolda (Wakolda) by Lucía Puenzo , an Argentina-France-Spain coproduction tells the true story of an Argentinian family who lived with one of the biggest Nazis in history without realizing his true identity.In Horizontes Latinos.  The other two films in this section are the Argentine-Spain coproduction by Victoria Galardi , Pense que iba a haber fiesta (I Thought It Was a Party) which had been in the Coproduciton Forum at the 60th edition of the festival, telling the story of a woman who has a love affair with her best friend's husband, and the Mexico-Spain coproduction La Jaula de Oro by Diego Quemada which also premiered in Un Certain Regard of Cannes, about a group of 15 year olds fleeing Guatemala in an attempt to make it to the USA. 

The favorite film of the Berlinale and Silver Bear Winner for Best Actress, the Chile-Spain coproduction Gloria by Sebastian Lelio is uniquely positioned as the "Pearl" of the festival.  It was also the winner of the Films in Progress Award at San Sebastian last year Paulina Garcia plays  the spirited and attractive 58 year old Gloria as she sets about tackling a new stage in her life.  Funny Balloons, the international sales agent has already sold the film to Roadside Attractions for U.S., Rialto for Australia/ N.Z., Imovision for Brazil, Alamode for Germany, Strada for Greece, Wild Bunch Benelux, Alambique for Portugal, Filmcoopi for Swizeralnd.  Funny Balloons will release it in France.

The Zabaltegi section features 2 films by women out of 8 total.

OFFICIAL SELECTION

LAS BRUJAS DE ZUGARRAMURDI
ALEX DE LA IGLESIA (SPAIN - FRANCE)

An absurd, racy comedy starring a group of desperate thieves who rob a Cash-for-Gold shop in Madrid's Puerta del Sol and make a crazy dash for Disneyland with one of the heister's sons in tow. But on the border with France, they fall into the hands of Basque witches who apply themselves diligently to the ancient customs of their craft and bringing the men down a peg or two.



CANÍBAL (CANNIBAL)
MANUEL MARTÍN CUENCA (SPAIN - ROMANIA - RUSSIA - FRANCE)

Manuel Martín Cuenca's latest movie is the tale of love with a demon: Carlos is not only Granada's most reputed tailor, he's also a closet murderer. He feels neither regret nor guilt... until Nina shows up in his life. At last Carlos realises the true nature of his actions and finds love for the first time.



ENEMY
DENIS VILLENEUVE (SPAIN - CANADA)

The latest work from the Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) is a Spain-Canada co-production starring Jake Gyllenhaal. A mysterious thriller played out in the subconscious of a man in crisis: Adam leads a monotonous life until he discovers Anthony, a small-time actor physically identical to him.

 
 

LA HERIDA (WOUNDED)
FERNANDO FRANCO (SPAIN)

The first work from Fernando Franco revolves around Ana, a 30 year old ambulance driver. Though good at her job, Ana has problems relating in her personal life. She doesn't know it, but she suffers from a condition known by psychiatrists as Borderline Personality Disorder. The situation pushes her to outbreaks of self-destructive behaviour, alcohol abuse and self-harm. Ana is incapable of getting what she wants most: to be happy.



VIVIR ES FÁCIL
DAVID TRUEBA (SPAIN)

David Trueba portrays in his new film the unforgettable friendship between three people: an English teacher who travels to Almería when he hears that John Lennon is making a film there, a 16 year old boy who has run away from home and a young girl who also seems to be running away from something...


NEW DIRECTORS

EL ÁRBOL MAGNÉTICO (THE MAGNETIC TREE)
ISABEL AYGUAVIVES (SPAIN - CHILE)

Spain-Chile co-production and first feature from the director Isabel Ayguavives about a young boy's return to the country of his birth, Chile, after a long absence. The house in the country where he lived with his family is up for sale and they all gather to bid the place farewell. Their visit to the "magnetic tree", a local curiosity with strange properties, will awaken almost forgotten feelings and affections in the boy.



LAS HORAS MUERTAS (THE EMPTY HOURS)
AARÓN FERNÁNDEZ (MEXICO - FRANCE - SPAIN)

The second film from Aarón Fernández is a Spain-Mexico-France co-production already screened as part of Films in Progress at the 60th edition of the Festival. On the desolate coast of Veracruz, young Sebastián, 17, has to run his uncle's motel single-handed, renting rooms by the hour. That's how he meets Miranda, a regular customer who goes there to wait for a lover who often arrives late, sparking a fleeting game of seduction between the two.



EL RAYO (HASSAN´S WAY: EL RAYO)
FRAN ARAÚJO, ERNESTO DE NOVA(SPAIN)

The first work by Fran Araujo and Ernesto de Nova describes the odyssey of Hassan, a Moroccan immigrant who can no longer find work in Spain after thirteen years in the country and decides to go home. He puts all his savings into a second-hand tractor to secure a living in Morocco and sets out to drive it back. When he came to Spain he had nothing, now he's returning with his only belonging: el Rayo.

 

WAKOLDA (WAKOLDA)
LUCÍA PUENZO (ARGENTINA - FRANCE - SPAIN)

Premiered in the "Un certain regard" of the last Festival de Cannes, the latest film from Lucía Puenzo, a co-production between Argentina, France and Spain is the true story of an Argentinian family who lived with one of the biggest criminals in history without realising his true identity.

 


ZABALTEGI

FAMILY TOUR (FAMILY TOUR)
LILIANA TORRES EXPÓSITO(SPAIN)

In her directorial debut, Liliana Torres Expósito reflects her experiences on returning home after several years of living abroad. He mother, a person of exceptional eccentric simplicity, forces Lili to visit her relatives (grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins) on a family tour of the abandoned landscape of her childhood as she explores her own frustrations and limits of tolerance with the faults we all inherit.

 

HOTZANAK, FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY
IZEBENE OÑEDERRA (SPAIN)

The new animated short film from Izibene Oñederra looks at the effects of control on personal identity thanks to a metaphor on how an individual can turn into a criminal



MUJER CONEJO (RABBIT WOMAN)
VERONICA CHEN (ARGENTINA - SPAIN)

Spain-Argentina co-production directed by Verónica Chen, an anything but conventional tale with a bold formal proposal that combines anime with real images. Ana, a beautiful young woman of Chinese origin who works as a municipal inspector in Buenos Aires, accidentally becomes involved in the local Chinese mafia. When they threaten her she flees to Argentina's Pampas region, invaded by mutant carnivorous bunnies.



EL REY DE CANFRANC (THE KING OF CANFRANC)
MANUEL PRIEDE GONZÁLEZ, JOSE ANTONIO BLANCO (SPAIN - FRANCE)

A documentary centring on the bizarre figure of Albert le Lay, a spy with the French resistance who hid behind the normal appearance of a French customs agent at the Canfranc railway station, strategic passing place for goods travelling between Spain and Germany.



SERRAT Y SABINA: EL SÍMBOLO Y EL CUATE (SERRAT & SABINA: TWO FOR THE ROAD)
FRANCESC RELEA (SPAIN)

A documentary tour of Latin America with two like-thinking artists. Joan Manuel Serrat is an icon for an entire generation. Joaquín Sabina is el cuate, the affectionate Mexican word loosely translating as 'brother'.

 
 

SIGO SIENDO (KACHKANIRAQMI) (I´M STILL (KACHKANIRAQMI))
JAVIER CORCUERA (PERU - SPAIN)

In his new documentary, Javier Corcuera shows us characters who are part of a country. Although the film talks about music and musicians, it is not strictly musical but rather a reflection on personal stories apparently very far apart, stories that look for one another in a country also immersed in the struggle to find itself and create its own identity: Peru.



VIOLET (VIOLET)
LUISO BERDEJO (USA - SPAIN)

The latest film by Luiso Berdejo is a love story that kicks off in Santa Monica (California) when Álex finds an old Polaroid photograph of a girl he falls madly in love with, setting out to find her, despite having no clues as to who she is or when the picture was taken.

 

ZELA TROVKE
ASIER ALTUNA (SPAIN)

The latest short from Asier Altuna is a documentary about a "Moritat", an ancient Slovakian song telling the tale of a crime.


VELODROME

ZIPI Y ZAPE Y EL CLUB DE LA CANICA (ZIP & ZAP AND THE MARBLE GANG)
OSKAR SANTOS (SPAIN)

Director Oskar takes some famous comic characters to the screen. Zipi and Zape are grounded and have to spend the summer at Esperanza, a brainwashing school directed with an iron fist and eye-patch by the terrible Falconetti.

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