San Sebastian Film Festival Unveils Seven Competition Titles

San Sebastian Awards - H 2011
Fabrizio Maltese for THR

The Spanish festival will screen films from Francois Ozon and Bille August, among others, in its competition section.

MADRID –Bille August’s Silent Heart and Francois Ozon’s The New Girlfriend will vie for the Golden Shell Award at the 62nd San Sebastian International Film Festival in September, organizers announced Thursday as they unveiled the first seven international titles in the competition lineup.

Academy award winner August comes to San Sebastian with a family drama that sees three generations reunited for a weekend to grapple with a terminally-ill mother's desire to die before her disease worsens, while last year's Golden Shell winner Ozon returns with a story of a friend's attempt to honor her deceased friend's final wish to care for her family.

Five other titles from France, Germany, Austria and South Korea round out the list announced Thursday.

John Malkovich stars in Michael Sturminger's Casanova Variations, based on Histoire de ma vie by Giacomo Casanova and with arias from Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte, the famed seducer's story is told both through fiction and on-stage performances.

Christian Petzold, winner of the Silver Shell for Best Director at the Berlin Festival in 2012 with Barbara, will compete in the Official Section with Phoenix, once again starring Nina Hoss. The films tells the story of a singer who is betrayed and sent to a concentration camp. She returns with her face completely disfigured and asks a distinguish surgeon to reconstruct it in order to regain her former appearance as closely as possible only to discover other difficulties in rebuilding her life.

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Belgian filmmaker Michael R. Roskam's Hollywood debut The Drop adapts a novel by Dennis Lehane and stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini in his last movie role. The Drop takes an inside look at organized crime’s use of local New York City bars as money-laundering “drops.” 

South Korea's Bong Joon-ho co-writes and produces the directorial debut of Shim Sung-bo, Haemoo, about a fishing ship crew's attempts to smuggle in illegal migrants which ends in a catastrophe. Mia Hansen Love's Eden focuses on a young DJ making his way in the Paris house music scene.

Spain's only A-list film festival, which previously announced three Spanish titles in competition, runs Sept. 19-Sept. 27 in the seaside town in the Basque region.