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San Sebastian: Hosoda, Wheatley, Hadzihalilovic Set For Competition

San Sebastian Fest revealed bulk of international Golden Shell contenders on Friday

Three rising stars of international filmmaking – Japan’s Mamuro Hosoda, U.K.’s Ben Wheatley and France’s Lucile Hadzihalilovic – will see their latest films play in San Sebastian’s main competition this September.

Terence Davies “Sunset Song,” “Moira,” from Georgian vet Devan Tutberidze and “21 Nights with Pattie,” the eighth film from French bros Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu, also make up cut.

But with two more second feature, beyond Hadzihalilovic’s “Evolution,” also vying for San Sebastian’s top Golden Shell, plus already announced films from Cesc Gay, Federico Veiroj and Pablo Aguero, the competition of the 63rd San Sebastian Festival looks to be serving witness to a process of generational renewal.

“The Boy and Beast,” the latest animated feature from Hosoda (“Wolf Children,” “Summer Wars”) – who is fast ramping up its fan-base as one of Hayao Miyazaki’s most outstanding disciples — will be the first toonpic to play in competition at San Sebastian.

Released by Toho, “Beast” topped B.O. charts in Japan on its mid-July release, beating out Paramount’s “Terminator Genisys,” and has so far grossed about $30 million from an outstanding 3 million tickets sold. A coming-of-ager, the Gaumont-sold feature turns on a lonely lad Kyuta, and Kumatetsu, a lonesome beast who lives in Jutengai, an imaginary world and becomes Kyuta’s master and friend.

A five-minute promo of “Boy” was received with enthusiasm at June’s Annecy Animation Fest. Gaumont will release the movie in France on 200 playdates in January.

The latest from one of Britain’s hottest talents, director of “Sightseers” and “A Field in England,” thriller “High-Rise,” an adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel chronicling mounting violence in a modern tower-block, “High-Rise” stars Tom Hidldleston (“The Avengers”). Jeremy Thomas produced “High-Rise” is sold by HanWay.

Hadzihalilovic’s “Evolution,”’ a follow-up to “Innocence,” which Wild Bunch also sold, is set on a island inhabited only by women, and young boys, who never reach adulthood. Described by Wild Bunch’s Maraval as “like a Japanese genre movie, a mysterious and atmospheric film on the border between genre and reality,” “Evolution” was a buzz title at January’s UniFrance Paris Rendez-vous With French Cinema, whera a promo reel was screened.

Not tied to the world premiere requirements for 100% Spanish titles in San Sebastian competition, many of the new international contenders will hot Toronto’s market or official section before hailing into San Sebastian for their European premieres in a now consolidated double fest act.

One title formed up for Toronto, for example, is “Sunset Song.” Billed as an intimate epic, Terence Davies’ awaited adaptation of a cherished 1932 Scottish novel is set in Scotland on the cusp of World War I. Sold by Fortissimo, “Sunset Song” stars Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan and Kevin Guthrie.

Among sophomore outings, and sparking good word of mouth at January’s Goteborg Works in Progress, Runar Runarsson’s “Sparrows” is a coming of age tale set in Iceland’s spectacular Westfjords, Runarsson’s debut, “Volcano,” bowed at Camnes Directors’ Fortnight in 2011. Versatile handles world sales rights.

Turning on children’s fears, both real and imaginary– a subject little treated in cinema, its Canadian director Philippe Lesage has maintained – “The Demons,” his second feature, is described by Lesage as a near autobiographical horror film.

Another take on 40-something sexuality, the Larrieus’ “21 Nights with Pattie” turns on a 40-year-old Parisian woman forced to hole up in a sleepy valley in France’s deep south to bury her mother who us introduces to an earthier way of lifer by her mother’s cleaner.

From Georgian vet Devan Tutberidze, “Moira” charts an ex-con’s attempts to drag his family out of poverty.

 

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