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San Sebastian shores up slate

'The Damned,' 'La muer sin piano' snag berths

MADRID — The latest films from two young left-of-field Spanish helmers — Isaki Lacuesta’s “The Damned”  and Javier Rebollo’s “La mujer sin piano” — will compete for San Sebastian’s top Golden Shell.

Also snagging a competition berth is “The Secret of Their Eyes,” from Argentine heavyweight Juan Jose Campanella, plus Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro’s “Me Too.”

One of 2009’s most awaited Spanish films, Fernando Trueba’s “The Dancer and the Thief,” will screen out of competition. Pic marks Trueba’s return to directing after a seven-year hiatus.

“Damned” turns on an Argentine political exile who travels back to his homeland to search for the remains of a comrade who went missing under Argentine’s Junta dictatorship. It is produced by Catalonia’s Benece, Sagrera and Versus.

The second film from Rebollo, whose feature debut, “What I Know About Lola,” competed at San Sebastian in 2006, “La mujer sin piano” portrays 24 hours in the life of a Madrid housewife, played by Spanish TV star Carmen Machi. Pic is produced by Madrid-based Avalon Prods. and Lolita Films.

The first feature from Pastor and thesp Naharro, “Me Too” turns on a young man with Down syndrome who falls in love. Seville-based Promico Imagen co-produces with Julio Medem’s Alicia Produce.

“Eyes” stars Ricardo Darin as a retired criminal-court official remembering a rape and murder case in 1974 Argentina.

San Sebastian also unveiled Friday three Spanish titles in its Zabaltegi New Directors section. Catalan journo Elisabet Cabeza and film historian Esteve Riambau’s return to the fest with documentary “Masks,” after their 2005 film debut, “La doble vida del faquir”; helmer Miguel Angel Jimenez brings his first feature, war drama “Ori”; and TV director Jabi Elortegi also will present his first film, “Perfect Happiness,” based on a book by Basque writer Anjel Lertxundi.

Fest runs Sept. 18-26.

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