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Diego Luna’s “Abel” to Open San Sebastian’s Latin American Sidebar; 10 More on Tap

Diego Luna's "Abel" to Open San Sebastian's Latin American Sidebar; 10 More on Tap

Eleven films from Latin America are slated for the San Sebastian Film Festival’s Horizontes Latinos section, with “Abel” by Diego Luna and produced by Gael Garcia Bernal opening the sidebar, which will offer a €35,000 prize. Horizontes Latinos showcases a selection of Latin American films produced over the past twelve months, with a number of titles backed by awards received on the festival circuit this year. Films in the section are features totally or partially produced in Latin America and either directed by movie makers of Latin origin or set around the framework or subject of Latin communities throughout the rest of the world. All are at least Spanish premieres.

“Abel” premiered in the International Premieres section at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and traveled to Cannes as a Special Screening in the Official Selection in May.

Other films that have screened on the festival circuit include: “Por tu culpa” (It’s your fault, Berlinale – Panorama Specials); “La mirada invisible” (The Invisible Eye, Cannes – The Directors’ Fortnight); “Lo que más quiero” (Bafici); “Octubre” (October, Cannes – Un Certain Regard); and “Nostalgia de la luz” (Cannes – Official Selection, Special Screening). “Post Mortem” will compete at Venice.

The 58th San Sebastian Film Festival takes place September 17 – 25.

The full list of the Horizontes Latinos lineup with descriptions courtesy of the San Sebastian Film Festival:

Abel” (Opening film, in competition) Mexico
Director: Diego Luna
Cast: Geraldine Alejandra, Karina Gidi, Christopher Ruíz-Esparza, Gerardo Ruíz-Esparza, José María Yazpik
Abel is a 9 year-old boy whose behavior and refusal to speak ends in his admission to a mental hospital near home. Convinced that reuniting him with his brother and sister could help his situation, his single mother persuades Abel’s doctor to let the boy out for a week. With no father on the scene, Abel becomes a rather unconventional paternal figure who succeeds in drawing the family closer together. Opera prima. Produced by Gael García Bernal, this film was a participant in the International Premieres section at Sundance and was shown as a Special Screening in the Official Selection at Cannes.

A Tiro De Piedra” (A Stone Throw Away) Mexico
Director: Sebastián Hiriart
Cast: Jacinto Medina, Gabino Rodríguez
Jacinto Medina is 21 and bored with his life as a shepherd in northern Mexico. He finds a key on the ground. Taking it as a message, he sets out on a journey lasting thousands of kilometers. Opera Prima. Selected for Films in Progress 16.

Agua Fría de Mar” Costa Rica – France
Director: Paz Fábrega
Cast: Montserrat Fernández, Lil Quesada Morúa, Luis Carlos Bogantes
On New Year’s holidays, Mariana (21) and Rodrigo (30) drive to the Pacific coast. There, late at night and in the middle of nowhere, they find Karina (7) who ran away from home. The couple decides to stay the night and deal with the situation in the morning. But by dawn, the girl’s gone. Opera prima. Presented at Films in Progress 16, this work landed the VPRO Tiger Award at Rotterdam Festival and was screened at the Bafici and Guadalajara Festival.

A scene from Delfina Castagnino’s “Lo Que Más Quiero.” Image courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival.

Lo Que Más Quiero” Argentina
Director: Delfina Castagnino
Cast: Pilar Gamboa, María Villar, Esteban Lamothe, Leonardo Castañeda
Pilar lives in the south. She recently lost her father and is now on her own. María came to visit her, to keep her company and take a break from the boyfriend she’s on the point of leaving. Neither has the wherewithal to comfort the other. Neither knows what they want. They barely know what they don’t want. They don’t want to go back to their lives. They don’t want to think about the future. They don’t want to be alone. They don’t want their holiday to end. A timber yard about to close, a horse and a dog, a few men, a little alcohol and the cold waters of the southern lakes. Opera prima. Pilar Gamboa and María Villar won the Best Actress Award at the Bafici.

La Mirada Invisible” (The Invisible Eye) Argentina-Spain-France
Director: Diego Lerman
Cast: Julieta Zylberberg, Osmar Núñez, Marta Lubos, Gaby Ferrero
In the Argentina of 1982, María Teresa is a teacher at the Colegio Nacional in Buenos Aires. When María Teresa, hounded by a slight, perhaps non-existent smell of tobacco, starts hiding in the boys’ toilets to catch the smokers and have them punished, she gradually discovers a darkly exciting habit. Her eyes miss nothing. The eyes of the jailer, of the master… of a pervert. From the director of “Tan de repente” (Silver Leopard at Locarno 2002) and “Mientras tanto” (Official Selection, Venice 2004). “La mirada invisible” was screened as part of The Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2010.

Norberto Apenas Tarde” (Norberto’s Deadline) Uruguay-Argentina
Director: Daniel Hendler
Cast: Fernando Amaral, Eugenia Guerty, César Troncoso and Roberto Suárez
Fired from his job, Norberto tries his luck as a real estate agent, putting off telling his wife. His new boss recommends that he attend a personal assertiveness course to overcome his timidity and he starts studying acting at a beginners’ workshop. While preparing the 3-monthly show, while he fails in his endeavours to behave credibly towards his clients and his wife, what he does discover is a tremendous ability to lie to himself. Opera prima. TVE Award at Films in Progress 16. Selected for the Cinéastes du Présent section at Locarno 2010.

Nostalgia de la Luz” France-Germany-Chile
Director: Patricio Guzmán
“Nostalgia de la Luz” is a film about the distance between the sky and the earth, between light and human beings and the mysterious comings and goings arising between them. At a height of 3,000 metres, astronomers from all over the world gather in the Atacama Desert to observe the stars of northern Chile. Here, the transparency of the sky means that you can see to the very limits of the universe. Below, the dryness of the ground keeps human remains intact forever: mummies, explorers, miners, Indians and the skeletons of the political prisoners of the dictatorship. While the astronomers seek extraterrestrial life, a group of women move stones: they’re looking for their relatives. Patricio Guzmán previously participated in San Sebastian in 2004 (Zabaltegi-Pearls) with “Salvador Allende.” “Nostalgia de la Luz” was shown in a Special Screening as part of the Official Selection at Cannes 2010.

Octubre” (October) Peru
Director: Daniel Vega and Diego Vega
Cast: Bruno Odar, Gabriela Velásquez, Carlos Gassols
Clemente, a moneylender of few words, is a new hope for Sofía, his single neighbour, devoted to the October worship of Our Lord of the Miracles. They’re brought together over a new-born baby, fruit of Clemente’s relationship with a prostitute who’s nowhere to be found. While Clemente is looking for the girl’s mother, Sofía cares for the baby and looks after the moneylender’s house. With the arrival of these beings in his life, Clemente has the opportunity to reconsider his emotional relations with people. Opera prima. Won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard Section at Cannes 2010.

A scene from Pablo Larraín’s “Post Mortem.” Image courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival.

Por Tu Culpa” (It’s Your Fault) Argentina
Director: Anahí Berneri
Cast: Erica Rivas, Nicasio Galán, Zenón Galán, Rubén Viani, Marta Bianchini, Omar Núñez, Carlos Portaluppi
For young mother Julieta, recently separated from her husband, it’s another normal evening at home, with her two little boys raising hell in the cramped family apartment. But then the youngest boy falls and hurts himself. Boys in tow, Julia heads for the hospital, where help and understanding give way to shattering suspicions… Was presented at the Berlinale Special Section this year and her previous film, “Encarnación” (Incarnation), competed at San Sebastian in 2007.

Post Mortem” Chile-Mexico-Germany
Director: Pablo Larraín
Cast: Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers, Jaime Vadell, Amparo Nobuera, Marcelo Alonso
Mario, 55, works in a morgue typing autopsy reports. In the midst of the 1973 Chilean coup, he fantasizes about his neighbor Nancy, a cabaret dancer, who mysteriously disappears on September the 11th. After a violent Army raid on her family‚s home, he hears about the arrest of her brother and father, a prominent Communist and Salvador Allende supporter. Troubled and madly passionate over the loss of his would-be lover, Mario begins his frantic search for Nancy. Will compete for the Golden Lion at the next Venice Festival. Larraín’s previous film, “Tony Manero,” was presented at Horizontes Latinos in 2008.

Rompecabezas” (Puzzle) Argentina-France
Director: Natalia Smirnoff
Cast: María Onetto, Gabriel Goity, Arturo Goetz,
María’s husband and children give her a puzzle for her 50th birthday. She’s delighted, and finds it a great discovery. Not only does the patient housewife have fun doing the puzzles, she’s also really good at them. Overflowing with enthusiasm for her new-found passion, she goes back to the shop where they bought the gift for another puzzle. There her eye is caught by a notice on the message board: “Partner for puzzle tournament wanted.” María musters her courage and, despite her family’s misgivings, answers the announcement. Opera prima. Casa de América Award winner at Films in Progress 16, this movie participated in the Official Selection at Berlin 2010, at Bafici and at the Guadalajara Festival.

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