‘Ax’ packs Valladolid’s 50th fest

Local pics, slate packed with Cannes standouts to compete

This article was updated at 2:51 p.m.

Bookended by Costa-Gavras’ “The Ax” and Christian Carion’s “Merry Christmas,” the Valladolid Film Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary, Oct. 21-29, under new director Juan Carlos Frugone.

A major launch pad for artpics in Spain, six local pics will be in competition against a slate packed with Cannes standouts, including Cannes competish players “Hidden,” “Manderlay” “The Child” and “Kilometer Zero,” plus Directors Fortnight entry “Factotum,” and Un Certain Regard player “Time to Leave.”

Other fest standouts in competition are Venice Golden Lion winner “Brokeback Mountain,” Berlin competitor “The Hidden Blade” and Forum screener “Mongolian Ping Pong,” Karlovy Vary grand prix winner “My Nikifor” and Toronto opener “Water.”

Some foreign titles haven’t had so much major fest play, such as Belgian Dominique Derrudere’s marriage feast tale “The Wedding Party.”

Two Spanish pics world preem in competish: Daniel Cebrian’s boxing drama “Second Round” and coming-of-ager “Vida y color,” the directorial debut of screenwriter Santiago Tabernero (“Taxi”). Marcos Carnavale’s advanced-age comedy “Elsa y Fred” bows internationally at Valladolid.

Carlos Saura’s dazzling Spanish dance film “Iberia,” Argentine Julia Solomonoff’s family secrets drama “Sisters,” Chilean Matias Bize’s in-the-sack piece “In Bed,” which was admired at Locarno, all get their Spanish preems.

Valladolid’s major Meeting Point sidebar is beefed up by pics including Shane Black’s “Kiss, Kiss Bang Bang,” Mexico’s foreign-language Oscar contender “To the Other Side,” the international preem of Marcelo Bertalmio’s black comedy “Noise,” and the first episode of Juan Jose Campanella’s TV drama for Telecinco, “Vientos de agua.”

A massive 50 years of Valladolid retro replaces fest’s film school, country and outstanding cineaste tribs.

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