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Abel Ferrara's "Mary" and Woody Allen's "Matchpoint" Bookend San Sebastian Fest's Zabaltegi Section

Indiewire By Brian Brooks | Indiewire August 30, 2005 at 6:46AM

Offerings from Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and other international events are to be represented in this year's San Sebastian Film Festival, taking place September 15 - 24 in the Spanish resort town. In all, twelve titles will compete for the festival's "TCM Audience Award," including Abel Ferrara's Venice feature "Mary," which will open the festival's Zabaltegi section. The film is a tale of the filming of a movie about the life of Jesus and how it draws the actress (Juliette Binoche) playing the part of Mary Magdalene into a spiritual crisis of profound consequences involving the director of the film, (Matthew Modine) and a New York journalist (Forest Whitaker). Montxo Armendáriz's "Obaba" will open the event's official selection.
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Offerings from Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and other international events are to be represented in this year's San Sebastian Film Festival, taking place September 15 - 24 in the Spanish resort town. In all, twelve titles will compete for the festival's "TCM Audience Award," including Abel Ferrara's Venice feature "Mary," which will open the festival's Zabaltegi section. The film is a tale of the filming of a movie about the life of Jesus and how it draws the actress (Juliette Binoche) playing the part of Mary Magdalene into a spiritual crisis of profound consequences involving the director of the film, (Matthew Modine) and a New York journalist (Forest Whitaker). Montxo Armendáriz's "Obaba" will open the event's official selection.

Cannes '05 feature "Batalla en el Cielo" (Battle in Heaven) by Carlos Reygadas ("Japon"), described as "tragic love story between a general's driver and daughter, taking recourse to unwonted scenes of explicit sex" will also screen in the Zabaltegi section. From Venice is Italian/American production, "Before It Had a Name" by Giada Colagrande. The film is about a young Italian girl named Eleanora who inherits a house in New York taken care of by Leslie. Eleanora gradually realizes that she didn't really know her boyfriend as she feels increasingly drawn to the mysterious Leslie. Cannes Grand Prix winner "Broken Flowers" by Jim Jarmusch is also in the line up, as well as Bertand Tavernier's adoption drama, "Holy Lola." South Korean director Kim Ki-duk's ("3-Iron") Un Certain Regard film "Hwai" (The Bow), an ethereal film about a man and a woman who live on a boat who receive visits from fisherman is also slated.

From Sundance '05, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey's doc "Inside Deep Throat" will screen along with fellow Sundance alum, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" by Miranda July. Rodrigo Garcia's "Nine Lives" (Locarno Film Festival) tells "nine important moments in the lives of the same number of women," while Hany Abu-Assad's Berlin '05 film, "Paradise Now," is the story of two young Palestinians who volunteer for a suicide mission in Israel. French/Canadian production, "Vers le sud" by Laurent Cantet is set during the Duvalier dictatorship in the '70s where three women practice sexual tourism. Woody Allen's "Match Point" will close the Zabaltegi section.

San Sebastian's "Zabaltegi Specials" include six films from what the fest describes as "telling unconventional stories from a different, personal angle." Sri Lankan Asoka Handagama's melodrama, "A Letter of Fire" (world premiere) as will Ariadna Pujol's "Aguaviva." The film, which takes place in a small Spanish town, centers on the mayor's plan to attract immigrants, particularly Rumanians and Argentineans, so that they can adapt to the local customs and mix with their inhabitants, almost all of whom are elderly. Fellow Spaniard Israel Sánchez Prieto's "Dáas azules" (Blue Days) is about a group of archaeologists and volunteers who excavate in search of the remains of people shot during the Civil War and buried in mass graves.

The Spanish Civil War is again the theme in "La doble vida del faquir" (The Magician) by Elisabet Cabeza and Esteve Riambau, (Spain), while Juan Miguel Gutiárrez's "Bozes lexanas" (Far-Off Voices) takes place in 1950s Spain. Finally, Diego Galán's "Pablo G. del Amo, un montador de ilusiones" profiles the life and work of one of the most prolific film editor in recent Spanish cinema. Pablo del Amo died before the document was finished.

Films in the event's official selection will include Alberto Rodráguez's "7 Virgenes," Fabián Bielinsky's "El Aura," Michael Winterbottom's "A Cock And Bull Story," Per Fly's "Drabet/Manslaughter," Tristán Bauer's "Iluminaos Por El Fuego," Stáphane Brizá's "Je Ne Suis Pas La Pour Etre Aime," Jan Cvitkovic's "Odgrobadogroba" (Gravehopping), Chema de la Peáa and Gabriel Velázquez's "Sud Express," Terry Gilliam's "Tideland," Farida Benlyazi's "La Vida Perra de Juanita Narboni," and Zhang Yang's "Xiang Ri Kui" (Sunflower).

[For more information, visit the San Sebastian Film Festival's website.]

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