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‘Sea,’ ‘Skylab’ vie at San Sebastian

Spanish fest unveils first 11 films in competish

Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz,” Terence Davies’ “The Deep Blue Sea” and Julie Delpy’s “Skylab” will compete at the 59th San Sebastian Film Festival.

First competition lineup under new director Jose Luis Rebordinos boasts some San Sebastian hallmarks: accessible arthouse films; a clutch of notable San Sebastian regulars — Davies, Mexican Arturo Ripstein, Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda and Argentina’s Ana Katz; and a predictably strong Ibero-American presence with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s “Intruders” already announced as the opener.

Financed by Telefilm Canada, “Waltz,” a romantic drama with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, is the sole North American title in competition.

It will be up against Katz’s dysfunctional relationship comedy “The Marziano Family” and actress-director Delpy’s “Skylab,” a ’70s-set comedic family reunion tale.

The subject of a tribute-retrospective in 2008, Davies competes with romantic drama “The Deep Blue Sea,” starring Rachel Weisz; Kore-eda weighs in with “I Wish,” about siblings separated by their parents’ divorce. “Wish” is the fourth Kore-eda title to play San Sebastian’s Competition.

Ripstein — a two-time San Sebastian’s Golden Seashell winner with 1993’s “Beginning and End” and 2000’s “The Ruination of Men” — returns with “Corazon,” which adapts the later chapters of Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.”

The competition also includes films from lesser-known directors such as Portuguese vet Joao Canijo’s family melodrama “Sangue do meu sangue”; Swede Bjorn Runge’s “Happy End,” about the psychological and physical abuse of a woman; and Greek Filippos Tsitos’ dramedy “Unfair World,” about an idealistic police officer.

Bound for San Sebastian, Wang Xiaoshuai’s “11 Flowers,” a coming-of-age drama set during Chairman Mao Zedong’s final years, is the first official co-production between France and China.

Also competing, and co-starring Salma Hayek, “Americano” is the directorial debut of French actor Mathieu Demy, who plays a man investigating his deceased mother’s past.

Given Rebordinos’ recent past as director of the San Sebastian Horror Week, fan-boys will be looking for some more genre-grist at the fest beyond “Intruders.”

Some of that may be supplied by the brace of Spanish competition players that will be revealed shortly.

Fest runs Sept. 16-24.

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