MADRID — In what is now a two-decade old tradition, the competition lineup for the 51st San Sebastian Film Festival will focus largely on contempo social realities and boast a strong array of Spanish-lingo art pics.
This year’s official section also features a considerable number of emerging directors who are consolidating their reputations on the fest circuit and with domestic audiences.
“One of our aims, and this is almost a declaration of principles, is to help new or newish directors be better known, and this year’s section features a range of high-profile emerging directors who are still in a relatively early part of their careers but are renewing filmmaking all over the world,” festival director Mikel Olaciregui told Daily Variety.
But two potential competition standouts come from veteran filmmakers: Jacques Rivette’s dream world-set romancer “L’Histoire de Marie et Julien” pairing thesps Emmanuelle Beart and Jerzy Radziwilowicz, and the Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films production “Veronica Guerin,” helmed by Joel Schumacher and toplining Cate Blanchett as the real-life Irish crime journalist who was murdered in 1996.
Another pic that may add some Euro star power to the Basque resort event is Peter Webber’s debut film, “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” with Colin Firth playing the painter Vermeer.
As usual, Latin American helmers loom large in the official section: Peruvian Francisco Lombardi will compete with “Ojos que no ven” (What the Eye Doesn’t See), a six-part take on corruption in Peru; Cuban Fernando Perez has “Suite Habana,” a re-creation of daily life in the city; and Argentina-born Edgardo Cozarinsky will present the Paris-set tale “Dans le rouge du couchant,” with Marisa Paredes.
Emerging directors in competition include Per Fly with “Arven” (Inheritance), the second part of his Danish social trilogy following the admired “Baenken” (The Bench), Georgian Dito Tsintsadze with absurdist vengeance drama “Schussangst” (Gun-Shy), and the Netherlands’ Alex van Warmerdam with the comic tale of the occult “Grimm.”
The newly announced competish titles are rounded out by first-time director Tom MacCarthy’s Sundance Audience Award winner “The Station Agent,” and two pics from up-and-coming auteurs: German Jan Schutte’s “Super Tex,” about the heir to a textile empire, and Korean Bong Joon-ho’s serial-killer drama “Sa-Lin-Eui Chu-Eok” (Memories of Murder).
Spanish films in the official section were announced previously. Fest’s opening and closing movies have yet to be confirmed. Fest runs Sept. 18-27.
“Dans le Rouge du Couchant,” Edgardo Cozarinsky, France/Spain
“The Galindez File,” Gerardo Herrero, Spain/United Kingdom/Italy/Portugal/Cuba/Puerto Rico (Out of competition)
“Girl With a Pearl Earring,” Peter Webber, United Kingdom/Luxembourg
“Gun-Shy,” Dito Tsintsadze, Germany
“Grimm,” Alex van Warmerdam, Netherlands
“L’histoire de Marie et Julien,” Jacques Rivette, France
“Inheritance,” Per Fly, Sweden/Denmark
“In the City,” Cesc Gay, Spain
“Memories of Murder,” Bong Joon-ho, South Korea
“My Eyes Are Yours,” Iciar Bollain, Spain
“November,” Achero Manas, Spain
” The Station Agent,” Tom MacCarthy, USA
“Suite Habana,” Fernando Perez, Cuba/Spain
“Super Tex,” Jan Schutte, Germany/Netherlands
“Veronica Guerin,” Joel Schumacher, USA/United Kingdom/Ireland
“What the Eye Doesn’t See,” Francisco Lombardi, Peru/Spain