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San Sebastian strings Pearls

Cantet, Coen, Leigh films join lineup

Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or winner “The Class,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s Venice opener “Burn After Reading” plus Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” figure in a litany of fest standouts or prize-winners packing out this year’s San Sebastian Zabaltegi-Pearls sidebar.

Pics compete for a TCM Audience Award, worth e70,000 ($102,000) for the Spanish distributor of the winning film. The most voted-for European film receives $51,000.

Also in the running for the main prize are Steve McQueen’s Cannes Golden Camera-winner “Hunger”; Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Tokyo Sonata,” which won a jury prize in Un Certain Regard; Majid Majidi’s “The Song of Sparrows,” which won best actor at Berlin for Reza Najie; Eran Riklis’ “Lemon Tree,” which took Berlin’s Panorama audience kudos; and Fernando Eimbcke’s Berlin Fipresci-prized “Lake Tahoe.”

Also in Zabaltegi-Pearls: Sundance closer “CSNY Deja Vu,” a chronicle of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 2006 Freedom of Speech tour helmed by Bernard Shakey, aka Neil Young.

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The Zabaltegi-Specials section will screen “La frontiere de l’aube,” from Philippe Garrel, the subject of a San Sebastian tribute last year.

It also features “Yakuza eiga — Une histoire secrete du cinema japonais,” a docu on Nippon film noir, which screens as a complement to San Sebastian’s major Japan in Black retrospective.

Zabaltegi-Specials also showcases “Retour a Tullins-Fures.” The comedy, written and directed by Cannes president Gilles Jacob, is a fictionalized biography of Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, intercut with scenes from classic films. Jacob will attend San Sebastian to present “Retour.”

Spain’s most prestigious fest runs Sept. 18-27.

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