Film focuses on theft of Van Gogh painting

BARCELONA — “The Art of Stealing,” from Leonel Vieira, one of Portugal’s most prominent young helmer-producers, will open the 24th Cinema Jove Intl. Film Festival, Spain’s biggest summer sprocket opera.

Breaking with Portugal’s dominant tradition of refined art films, “Art” is an action comedy turning on a couple of small-time crooks trying to rob a Van Gogh still life.

It toplines Flora Martinez (“Rosario Tijeras”), Enrique Arce (“Beyond Re-Animator”) and Ivo Canelas (“A Shot in the Dark”).

In an event that places a big emphasis on shorts, Juanjo Jimenez’s short feature “Rodilla” completes the opening gala lineup.

Set in the Mediterranean city of Valencia, Jove showcases movies from young, often first-time helmers from around the world. Screening mostly groundbreaking edgier cinema, Jove has become a meeting point for up-and-coming talent.

Highlights unveiled to Daily Variety in the fest’s 10-pic competition include Romanian revenge drama “Katalin Varga,” from first-time British helmer Peter Strickland, which was a Berlin standout, and the sophomore outing from Swede Ruben Ostlund (“The Guitar Mongoloid”), the quirkily-humored criss-crosser “Involuntary.”

Mahmut Fazil Cosku’s Rotterdam Tiger winner “Wrong Rosary” turns on the unattainable love between a young muezzin – a Muslim chosen to lead the call to prayer — and a woman raised by nuns.

Also competing is a second Romanian pic, the tragicomedy “The Happiest Girl in the World,” helmed by Radu Jude, a Jove regular who won its top Golden Moon award in 2007 with his short “The Tube with a Hat.”

Other competish pics are German helmer Maren Ade’s comedy “Everyone Else,” Norwegian Rune Denstad Langlo’s comic drama “North,” and comedy “Private Lessons,” directed by Belgian writer-director Joachim Lafosse (“Private Property”).

“This year’s competish films are made by ruggedly individual talents. Many underscore social context but characters and relationships hold stage front and center,” said fest director Rafael Maluenda.

Fest honors Argentinian Albertina Carri (“The Blondes,” “The Anger”), and French director Laurent Cantet (“Entre les Murs,” “Human Resources”).

Sweden’s Bo Widerberg (“All Things Fair,” “Elvira Madigan”) will receive a posthumous retro, organized in association with the Valencian Film Library.

Fest runs June 20-27.

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