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The San Sebastian Film Festival on Friday added six titles, including Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy and Tuva Novotny’s debut Blind Spot, to the list of candidates for the top prize in its competition lineup.
Louis Garrel’s A Faithful Man, Liu Jie’s Baby, Brillante Mendoza’s Alpha, the Right to Kill, and Peter Strickland’s In Fabric also join the competition.
Previously announced films in the program include the latest works from Iciar Bollain, Claire Denis, Simon Jaquemet, Kim Jee-woon, Naomi Kawase, Isaki Lacuesta, Benjamin Naishtat, Valeria Sarmiento, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Markus Schleinzer, Juan Vera and Carlos Vermut that will compete for the Golden Shell.
Beautiful Boy is the first film shot in English by Van Groeningen, who presented The Misfortunates (2009) in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and Alabama Monroe (2013) in the Panorama section of the Berlinale, where he won the Audience Award. The film was also nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Beautiful Boy, based on the true story of a father’s struggle to rescue his son from drugs, stars Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet and is produced by the winners of the Academy Award for Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave (Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner).
French actor and director Garrel will present his second feature as a moviemaker after Two Friends (2015), selected for the Critics’ Week in Cannes. Garrel stars in Faithful Man alongside Laetitia Casta and Lily-Rose Depp.
Jie, winner of the Orizzonti Award in Venice for his first film, Courthouse on Horseback, uses Baby to tell the story of a 19 year-old girl determined to save a sick girl in the context of the birth control imposed by the Chinese Government.
After competing in Cannes, Berlin and Venice, Mendoza (San Fernando, Philippines, 1960) will do so for the first time in San Sebastian with Alpha: The Right to Kill, set against the backdrop of the Philippine Government’s crackdown on drugs. Last year, Mendoza produced Daniel Palacio’s debut, Underground, which competed in New Directors.
Swedish actress Novotny, who recently starred in Annihilation (2018) and Borg/McEnroe, makes her directorial debut with Blind Spot, looking at the blind spots of the mind through the relationship between a mother and daughter.
Strickland has become a cult author with only three movies: Katalin Varga (2009), which competed in Berlin and was recognized with the European Discovery of the Year award, Berberian Sound Studio (2012), a competitor in Locarno, and The Duke of Burgundy (2014). His fourth feature film, In Fabric, follows the trail of a cursed dress.
San Sebastian, which runs Sept. 21-29 in northern Spain’s Basque region, now has 18 films that will compete in its Official Selection. The festival is expected to reveal the closing film later this month.
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