MADRID — Strong on docus, directorial debuts and fine French fare, the 45th Gijon Intl. Film Festival will also screen a record two Spanish films in its main official section.
According to Gijon fest director Jose Luis Cenfuegos, a live band will accompany the screening of Jose Luis Guerin’s “Photos in the City of Sylvia,” the stills diary that is a companion piece to Guerin’s Venice competish player, “In the City of Sylvia.”
Fest also features “El silenco antes de Bach,” in which vet Catalan radical Pere Portabella, Guerin’s artistic forbear, ruminates on the origins of contempo Europe’s culture.
The hiked Spanish presence at Gijon is not coincidental.
The fest is Spain’s premier meet for left-of-field or simply out-there films, while Spain, and Catalonia in particular, is experiencing a vibrant left-of-field film renaissance, led by Guerin.
Gijon’s 2007 edition offers a new non-fiction Euros 10,000 ($14,414) prize, co-sponsored by Spanish distributor Karma.
“Fotos” faces stiff competition from two other Official Section docus: Asger Leth’s Haitian gang boss portrait “Ghosts of Cite Soleil,” and Julien Temple’s engrossing Clash and beyond record, “Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.”
Gijon main competition screens two French standouts: Nicolas Klotz’s “Heartbeat Detector,” a big business drama, chronicling the mental meltdown of a corporate shark; and one of the most unusual films of the year, Serge Bozon’s WWI drama and rollicking musical “La France.”
Other highlights are likely to be Ulrich Seidl’s bleak Ukraine-Austria human traffic tale, “Import Export,” David Mackenzie’s agile rites-of-passager “Hallam Foe,” and Chris Fuller’s arresting racial warfare debut, “Loren Cass.”
The 45th edition has a strong line in crowd-pleasers.
That partly reflects some arthouse helmers’ move toward the mainstream, such as in the noirish eve-of-Perestroika “Cargo 200,” from Russia’s Alexei Balabanov (“Of Freaks and Men”).
Of more accessible pics, the competish also features Belgian Nic Balthazar’s Montreal winner “Ben X,” Steve Buscemi’s “Interview,” an acting two-hander with Sienna Miller, U.S. cult director Wes Anderson’s wacky road movie “The Darjeeling Limited,” and Taika Waititi’s “Napoleon Dynamite”-ish losers comedy “Eagle vs. Shark,” from New Zealand.
Fest features two decidedly non-P.C. items: Belgian Koen Mortier’s leering Belgian bad band comedy “Ex Drummer,” and hapless male sexual fantasy drama “Help Me Eros,” from Taiwan’s Lee Kang-sheng.
The official section is rounded up by Hal Hartley’s “Henry Fool” reprise “Fay Grim”; Argentine helmer Ariel Rotter’s Berlin winner “The Other”; “Cochochi,” a directorial double-hander from Mexico’s Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman, about two young boys’ odyssey across northern Mexico; and first-timer Mia Hansen-Love’s father-daughter relationship drama “All Is Forgiven,” from France.
Fest runs Nov.22-Dec.1.