Hunt, Kim Ki-duk, Burman in competition
MADRID — Kim Ki-duk’s “Dream,” Daniel Burman’s “The Empty Nest,” Courtney Hunt’s “Frozen River” and Jaime Rosales’ “Tiro en la cabeza” will compete at the 56th San Sebastian Festival.Fest runs Sept. 18-27. Kim’s 15th feature, “Dream” continues the helmer’s fascination, framed in chamber drama, with the quirky, sometimes outre obsessions of the human heart. Japanese star Joe Odagiri plays a man dreaming of a woman — Korean actress Lee Na-young — who acts out his dreams as she sleepwalks. Burman’s “Nest” adds a new twist to the Argentine director’s hallmark son-father chronicles, focusing not on a son but a father, coming to terms with his world after his youngest child flies the family nest. Also co-produced by Spain’s Wanda Films, and portraying the real-life assassination of two Civil Guards by Basque terrorist org ETA, “Tiro” is Rosales’ follow-up to “Solitary Fragments,” which took Spain’s best pic Goya this year. World preeming at San Sebastian, in the heart of the Basque Country, “Tiro” is sure to pour fuel on the already fiery debate of how Spain can rid itself of the ETA. Left-of-field pic may also stir comments on other counts. Pic’s actors were chosen from its crew, and “Tiro”’s longshots reportedly record ambience sound instead of conversations, a metaphor for the lack of dialogue between Spain’s political parties over hot-button issues. Courtney Hunt’s debut, which scored a Sony Pictures Classics buy for North America, “Frozen River” won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize this year. It turns on the friendship between a cash-strapped single mum (Melissa Leo, “21 Grams”) and a widowed Mohawk woman (Misty Upham, “Edge of America”) who team to smuggle immigrant across the icy St. Lawrence River from Canada into the U.S. Announced a month earlier than usual, San Sebastian’s first competish contenders are classic choices for a festival whose competition mixes some of the world’s higher profile auteurs with less or little-known directors. Kim and company will be joined by Gallic auteur Christophe Honore’s “La Belle personne,” a contempo big-screen transfer of “The Princess of Cleves,” “Fear Me Not,” the latest from one-time Dogme 95 cineaste Kristian Levring (“The King is Alive”), and “Laila’s Birthday,” a pointed chronicle of normal life in Ramala, helmed by Palestinian fiction and docu-director Rashid Masharawi (“Waiting,” “Ticket to Jerusalem”).