San Sebastián film festival picks its line-up

Table soccer-themed animation 'Foosball' to open the autumn event

Madrid / San Sebastián -
Carmen Maura (center) stars in Alex de la Iglesia's 'Las brujas de Zugarramurdi'
Carmen Maura (center) stars in Alex de la Iglesia's 'Las brujas de Zugarramurdi'

The line-up for this year's San Sebastián Film Festival is starting to take shape. Spanish-Argentinean animation Foosball, the first film to be directed by Juan José Campanella since he won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for The Secret In Their Eyes in 2010, will kick off proceedings on Friday September 20. It is the first time an animated feature has been chosen to open the event, though Cannes has already done so on two occasions with Up and Shrek 2.

The movie, which is set to be released in Spanish cinemas on December 20 as Futbolín, opened in Argentina under the title of Metegol - as the popular bar game is known over there - last month and attracted over a million people into theaters to see it.

It follows the story of Amadeo, who lives in a small, faceless town where he works in a bar, plays foosball better than anyone else and is in love with Laura, even though she doesn't know it. But his simple routine is disrupted when Grosso, a local youngster who has shot to fame as the world's greatest soccer player, returns home to avenge the only defeat he has ever suffered: in foosball.

Five other Spain-produced films have also been announced in this year's official selection lineup. Like Foosball , the latest from Alex de la Iglesia, Las brujas de Zugarramurdi - set to be known in Witching and Bitching in English - will be showing out of competition. What's more one of its stars, Carmen Maura, will be receiving the Donostia lifetime achievement award at the festival. The horror comedy, about a gang of thieves who fall into the hands of some Basque witches, also stars Hugo Silva and Mario Casas.

Spanish cinema is rich, varied and of quality, as the festival showed last year"

Very much in competition will be David Trueba's Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (Living is easy with eyes closed), which features Javier Cámara in a story that blends the friendship between three people, John Lennon and Almería. Also there are La herida, the debut of Fernando Franco, which tells the story of an ambulance driver suffering from borderline personality disorder; Manuel Martín Cuenca's Caníbal, which stars Antonio de la Torre as a tailor and part-time murderer who finds true love; and Incendies director Denis Villeneuve's Enemy, a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man in crisis who meets his double.

"Spanish cinema is rich, varied and of quality, as we showed at last year's edition," says festival director José Luis Rebordinos. "One of the keys of the San Sebastián Film Festival is its championing of Spanish films."

Among the international movies competing alongside them for the Golden Shell for best film at the Basque Country cine event will be the latest works from François Dupeyron, Bertrand Tavernier and Mexico's Fernando Eimbcke.

Dupeyron, who took the main prize at the festival 14 years ago for his film C'est quoi la vie?, returns with Mon âme par toi guérie (My soul healed by you), about a boy who inherits his late mother's healing gift.

Also from France, Tavernier presents Quai d'Orsay, a political satire based on Lanzac & Blain's comic of the same name. Meanwhile, Eimbcke premieres his third film, Club Sándwich, about the close relationship between a mother and her teenage son and the girl who comes between them.

Also in the mix are Jonathan Teplitzky's The Railway Man , based on the true story of Eric Lomax, a British railway-obsessed former prisoner of war who years later discovers the Japanese soldier responsible for torturing him is still alive. Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine and Stellan Skarsgård star. Lastly, Notting Hill director Roger Michell's Le week-end features Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as a British couple who head to Paris to try add a bit of oh là là to their marriage.

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