Two of Spain’s foremost femme directors will compete for the top Golden Shell at the 55th San Sebastian Festival. Gracia Querejeta will bring “Siete mesas — de billar frances” and Iciar Bollain “Mataharis” to the fest, which runs Sept. 20-29.
San Sebastian, the biggest fest in the Spanish-speaking world, also will host a special screening of Carlos Saura’s “Fados.”
Both Querejeta and Bollain draw on genre for personal portrayals of contempo relationships.
“Mataharis” turns on three femme private detectives who struggle to sort out their personal lives.
“Mesas” toplines Maribel Verdu (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Y tu mama tambien”) as a cheated-on wife who remakes her life, resurrecting her father’s billiards hall business.
“Fados” reprises Saura’s sumptuous use of color screens and mirrors in “Flamenco” but applies them to the lesser-known mournful Portuguese national song and dance.
“Mesas” and “Mataharis” are the first competition titles unveiled by San Sebastian.
Three Spanish films compete for San Sebastian’s New Directors prize: Max Lemcke’s “Casual Day,” a sardonic dissection of workplace relations; Diego Fandos’ cross-cutting solitude tale “Cosmos”; and another directorial debut, Tom Fernandez’s tender, mining-community-set coming-of-ager, “La torre de Suso.”
Docupics “Lucio,” profiling the Robin Hood-like anarchist Lucio Urtubia, and “Querida Bamako,” about a hapless Burkina Faso immigrant in Europe, will screen as Zabaltegi Specials.