San Sebastian embraces Brazilian cinema

TAULL, Spain — Barry Levinson’s “The Bay,” Keiichi Sato’s “Asura” and Maja Milo’s “Clip” will play in an expanded Zabaltegi Specials sidebar, which lends a new edge to September’s San Sebastian Film Festival.

An Alliance presentation sold by IM Global, Levinson’s found-footage eco-disaster film turns on a mutant parasite plague.

Anime feature “Asura,” a violent child’s redemption tale, is a rare move into social issue filmmaking from Japan’s Toei Animation. Pic competed at the Annecy Animation Film Festival.

Rotterdam Tiger Award winner “Clip” is a controversial portrait of postwar Serbian youth, sold by Wild Management.

Zabaltegi Specials widens the range and reach of San Sebastian, traditionally focused on classic fiction art pics.

Brazilian cinema, which is often near-absent at the fest, receives two special screenings: Cao Hamburger’s “Xingu,” an adventure biopic of Brazilian frontier explorers the Villas Boas brothers, and Marcelo Machado’s “Tropicalia,” a docu about the late 1960s music/art movement, produced among others by BossaNova Films, Revolution Films and L.A.-based Mojo Pics.

Two newly announced works — Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Penance” and Valeria Sarmiento’s “Lines of Wellington” — are TV miniseries. “Penance” is a five-part high-school kidnap drama, while “Wellington,” conceived by Raul Ruiz and helmed by wife Sarmiento after his death, turns on the Duke of Wellington’s Peninsular campaign in the Napoleonic Wars.

Rich in documentaries, Zabaltegi Specials will also showcase Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s “Kern,” about irascible Austrian actor-director Peter Kern; “Magic Words,” Mercedes Moncada’s take on the Nicaraguan revolution; Oskar Alegria’s “The Search for Emak Bakia,” about Man Ray’s house near Biarritz; and “King of Comics,” Rosa von Praunheim’s portrait of German cartoonist Ralf Konig, which is being sold by M Appeal.

Fest runs Sept. 21-29.

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