San Sebastian loads up on Euro arthouse pix

See Lineup

MADRID — Two personal movies by mavericks — Terry Gilliam’s “Tideland,” and Michael Winterbottom’s “A Cock and Bull Story” — lead the competition lineup at the upcoming San Sebastian Film Festival.

Euro titles comprise 14 of the 19 entries at the 53rd edition, running Sept.15-24.

The fest is as strong as ever on Spanish artpics, and has not one U.S. film.

The absence of American fare partly can be blamed on the Venice Film Festival’s nabbing much of this fall’s upscale star-studded U.S. product.

In their place, fest director Mikel Olaciregui has pursued pics that range far wider in themes and styles than San Sebastian’s trademark social realism.

Six competish pics also qualify for the fest’s Altadis New Directors kudo, reserved for first- and second-time helmers.

Double dip

With “The Brothers Grimm” at Venice, Gilliam has achieved the unusual coup of having two films competing at Europe’s foremost fall fests. Starring Jennifer Tilly and Jeff Bridges, and produced by Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co., the Texan-set “Tideland” is about a young girl’s fantasy world.

A Picturehouse pickup for the U.S., Winterbottom’s “Cock and Bull” portrays a filmmaker (Steve Coogan) attempting to adapt the work of another resolute maverick, Laurence Sterne’s novel “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy.”

The competition also features the much-awaited “L’enfer” from foreign-language Oscar winner Denis Tanovic (“No Man’s Land”), the story of three sisters traumatized by a childhood tragedy.

Other high-profile titles are two social tales: “Drabet” (Manslaughter), a portrait of the Danish middle-class from Per Fly, who won for screenplay at San Sebastian in 2003 for “Inheritance,” and “Xiang ri kui” (Sunflower), the fourth film from China’s Zhang Yang, about a family muddling through from the country’s Cultural Revolution to the economic boom. Zhang took director at San Sebastian in 1999 for “Shower.”

Beyond “L’enfer,” the legacy of the past looms large in Tristan Bauer’s “Iluminados por el fuego” (Enlightened by Fire), dealing with the psychological aftermath of the Falklands war.

New competition titles are rounded out by Slovene Jan Cvitkovic’s odd-ball funeral comedy “Odgrobadogroba” (Gravehopping) and Andreas Dresen’s “Sommer vorm balkon” (Summer From the Balcony), about the lives of two Berlin girls.

Fest already has announced six Spanish competition titles including Farida Benlyazid’s Morocco-Spain co-production “La vida perra de Juanita Narboni” and three pics from youngish Spanish helmers: Manuel Martin Cuenca’s “Malas temporadas”; Alberto Rodriguez’s “7 Virgins”; and “Sud Express,” from Chema de la Pena and Gabriel Velazquez.

Fest opens with another competish player, Montxo Armendariz’s “Obaba.”

53rd San Sebastian Film Festival official competition:

Fest opener:

“Obaba,” Montxo Armendariz (Spain-Germany)

In Competition:

“April Snow,” Hur Jin-ho (South Korea)

“El Aura,” Fabian Bielinsky, (Argentina-Spain)

“Bang Bang Orangutang,” Simon Staho (Denmark)

“A Cock and Bull Story,” Michael Winterbottom (U.K.)

“L’Enfer,” Denis Tanovic (France)

“Enlightened by Fire,” Tristan Bauer, Argentina

“Entres ses mains,” Anne Fontaine, France

“Gravehopping,” Jan Cvitkovic (Slovenia)

“Je ne suis pas la pour etre aime,” Stephane Brize (France)

“Malas temporadas,” Manuel Martin Cuenca (Spain)

“Manslaughter,” Per Fly (Denmark)

“7 Virgins,” Alberto Rodriguez (Spain)

“Something Like Happiness,” Bohdan Slama, Czech Republic

“Sud Express,” Chema de la Pena, Gabriel Velazquez (Spain)

“Summer From the Balcony,” Andreas Dresen (Germany)

“Sunflower,” Zhang Yang (China)

“Tideland,” Terry Gilliam, U.K.

“La vida perra de Juanita Narboni,” Farida Benlyazid (Morocco-Spain)

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