‘Jauja,’ ‘Sciences,’ ‘Princess’ Play San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos

Showcase delivers swath of coming-of-age films


Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja,”  Matias Lucchesi’s “Natural Sciences” and Matias Pineiro’s “The Princess of France” will screen at Horizontes Latinos, the San Sebastian Fest’s contempo Latin America showcase.

Horizontes’ lineup underscores the strength of Latin American cinema: Six of its 14 titles won major prizes at top fests.

Showcase also has a swath of coming-of-age movies this year, at least six make the cut, or center on teens’ difficulties. The remainder are dramas, plus a thriller.

Co-productions -11 – also abound. By countries, Argentina participates in eight features, both France and Germany in six, Mexico in three; Chile and Colombia in two, and Spain in just one movie, highlighting a radical plunge in Spain’s Latin American co-production presence.

Of entries, the remarkably acted “Casa Grande” marks documaker Fellipe Barbosa’s fiction debut, depicting a wealthy Brazilian family’s breakup. “Casa Grande” preemed at Rotterdam Fest, to a highly upbreat critical reception, and took Audience and Fipresci awards at the Toulouse Cinelatino Rencontres this year. Brooklyn’s Visit Films sells.

Also a first feature, Argentine Lucchesi’s UDI-sold “Natural Sciences” topped the Guadalajara fest scooping best picture. “Sciences” is a road movie/coming-of-age movie about a young girl’s odyssey with her teacher to find her father.

After a 10-year fiction feature hiatus, Argentine helmer Martin Rejtman (“Rapado”) comes back with an seriocomedy, “Two Shots Fired,” a Locarno and Toronto player which examines the consequences – unexpected, absurdist – of a teen’s (failed) attempt to shoot himself.

Franco Lolli debuts with another family-drama “Gente de bien.” With a script penned at Cannes’ Cinefondation Residence, film focuses on a 10-year-old boy who finds himself living with his father, a modest handyman working for an upper-class household. “Gente” preemed at Cannes Critics’ Week.

Also youth-focused, Mexican Alonso Ruiz Palacios’ Berlin arthouse hit “Gueros,” is a b&w coming-of-age comedy sold by Mundial.

Enrolling genre components, Buenos Aires born Benjamin Naishtat’s Visit Films-sold “History of Fear” – a sober sociological thriller with echoes of Michael Haneke – competed at Berlin.

The third film from Chile’s Alejandro Fernandez Almendras questioning revenge drama-thriller “To Kill a Man” has proved a plaudit breakout, winning a Sundance 2014 Grand Jury Prize, Locarno’s Carte Blanche and Rotterdam’s Fipresci. A Film Movement U.S. pickup, “Man” is sold by Film Factory.

Argentine Alonso offers his first feature shot with a professional cast in “Jauja,” starring  Viggo Mortensen, who also is co-producer. A metaphysical road movie that won a Cannes Un Certain Regard Fipresci award, “Jauja” is sold by Mexico’s NDM.

Brazilian Karim Ainouz likewise worked with a pro cast (Wagner Moura, Clemens Schick) for the first time on “Future Beach,” a three-chapter sensual gay love story and a Match Factory sales item.

World premiering at Locarno, “August Winds,” the first film brought on to the market by new sales label Figa/Br, marks a poetic reflectin on the passage of time, sensed by two teens in a coastal village.

Centering on a confused teenager struggling to break free from a disintegrated family, the Martin Scorsese exec-produced and Match Factory-sold Celina Murga’s “The Third Side of the River” competed at Berlin. “River” delivers a coming-of-age drama focused on a confused teenager struggling to break free from a disintegrated family.

The Locarno opener this year “The Princess of France,” helmed by Pineiro (“Viola”), is the third installment in his Shakespeare project “The Shakespereads,” turning on the passionate female heroines in the Bard’s comedies. Cinema Guild took U.S. distrib rights just before the Swiss fest.

Last year’s winner at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, “La Salada,” helmed by debutant Juan Martin Hsu, criss-crosses three stories on immigrants at the largest outdoors market in Argentina.

World-premiered and well-received at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, the fourth feature of Diego Lerman, “Refugiado” tells the story of a woman and her 7-year-old kid fleeing from a violent husband and father through Argentina. Memento Films Intl. handles sales.

Horizontes Latinos winning pic will take a €35,000 ($46,200) cash prize, $33,000 for its Spanish distributor and $13,200 for its director.

The 62nd San Sebastian Fest runs Sept. 19-27.