At least four Spanish films are to compete in the official section of the 50th Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival, which runs from 19-28 September.
Two further Spanish titles have been selected for the Zabaltegi section - dedicated to the most contemporary works available, whether from other festivals or elsewhere.
The initial selection of Spanish films in competition includes, Fernando Leon de Aranoa's Los Lunes Al Sol. Winner of the Silver Shell for Best Director in 1998 with Barrio, Fernando Leon de Aranoa has reverted to fiction after a period dedicated to the making of documentaries (Caminantes) and screenwriting (Fausto 5.0). Los lunes Al Sol is the collective portrait of a group of friends linked by unemployment. Javier Bardem heads a cast featuring Luis Tosar, Jose Angel Egido and Nieve de Medina, among others.
Basilio Martin Patino's Octavia marks the director's return to the festival after 37 years, when his first movie Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Bertha), won the Silver Shell for Best First Film. The reference to the time lapsed since his last visit is significant, as Octavia itself tells the tale of a man, the Argentinean actor Miguel Angel Sola, who returns to his family house after 40 years, only to find himself launched back into a past he can't shake off.
Director Agusti Villaronga is competing for the first time at the San Sebastian Festival. After a long career, started with Tras El Cristal (In A Glass Cage), screened as part of Zabaltegi in 1986, Villaronga presents his latest movie, Aro Tolbukhin, co-directed with Lydia Zimmermann and Isaac P. Racine.
Based on a real character, the Aro Tolbukhin of the title played by the actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho, the film tells the tale a man accused of burning seven people alive at a Catholic mission infirmary in the Guatemala of 1981.
The selection is rounded off with the Spanish-Argentinean co-production, Lugares Comunes by Adolfo Aristarain, winner of the Golden Shell in 1992 for Un Lugar En El Mundo (A Place In The World). Here, a wedded couple - played by Federico Luppi and Mercedes Sampietro, is faced with retirement during the Argentinian economic crisis. Federico Luppi won the Silver Shell for Best Actor in 1997 for the last movie by the same director, Martin (Hache).
The two titles competing in Zabaltegi for the New Directors Award are: Carlos Contra El Mundo, the feature-film debut of short-film maker Chiqui Carabante, (Los Diaz Felices and Bailongas); and El Traje (The Suit), the first single-handed film by Alberto Rodriguez, one of the two directors of the short Bancos and El Factor Pilgrim (The Pilgrim Factor), presented in Zabaltegi 2000.
Further titles selected for the festival are to be announced in the coming weeks.