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ZEROVILLE directed by James Franco
ZEROVILLE directed by James Franco

James Franco, winner of the Golden Shell for The Disaster Artist (2017), returns to the Official Selection of San Sebastian International Film Festival with Zeroville, another movie set in the film world. The 67th edition of San Sebastian International Film Festival will also include films by six filmmakers as yet to compete at the San Sebastian Festival: Louise Archambault, Guillaume Nicloux, José Luis Torres Leiva, Ina Weisse, Adilkhan Yerzhanov and David Zonana.

Louise Archambault (Montreal, Canada, 1970) will compete with Il pleuvait des oiseaux (And the Birds Rained Down), based on the novel of the same name by Jocelyne Saucier, a tale of intertwined destinies where love can happen at any age and new life emerges in unexpected places. This is the third feature from the author of Familia (2005), Best Canadian First Feature Film, selected for the official competition in Locarno, and Gabrielle (2013), winner of the Prix du Public at the same event as well as being her country’s Academy Awards candidate.

Zeroville, marking the return of James Franco (Palo Alto, United States, 1978) to the San Sebastian competition, is also a literary adaptation, in this case of Steve Erickson’s homonymous novel. The Golden Shell winner for The Disaster Artist (2017) directs and stars in this fiction set in the changing Hollywood of the late 60s with  Megan Fox, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Jacki Weaver and Dave Franco in the cast.

With the same transgressive spirit as shown in his film L’enlèvement de Michel Houellebecq (The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, 2014), the director Guillaume Nicloux (Melun, 1966, France) once again puts the famous French author before the camera, who plays himself in Thalasso with Gérard Depardieu as his fellow cast partner. The two meet at a sea water therapy centre where they struggle to survive the strict health regime imposed by the establishment; but events will soon derail their routine.

José Luis Torres Leiva (Santiago de Chile, 1975) has used the name of a poem by Cesare Pavese for the title of his film Vendrá la muerte y tendrá tus ojos (Death will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes), one of the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum projects in 2016. The film looks at the love relationship between two women when one of them is in the last moments of her life. The characters are played by Amparo Noguera and Julieta Figueroa, who has already worked with the director in titles such as El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia (The Sky, the Earth and the Rain, 2008) and Verano (Summer, 2011).

Nina Hoss (Phoenix, Barbara) stars in Das Vorspiel / The Audition, second film from the also actress Ina Weisse (Berlin, 1968), whose debut behind the camera was the award-winning Der Architekt (The Architect, 2008). This time round she tells the tale of a female violin teacher obsessed with a boy student to whom she ends up paying more attention than to her own family.

The filmmaker Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, 1982) presented The Owners (2014) at the Cannes Festival as one of its Special Screenings, and The Gentle Indifference of the World (2018) released at Un Certain Regard. Now he’ll compete in San Sebastian with A Dark, Dark Man, a film set around a police inspector and a journalist who investigate the death of a child in a Kazakh village.

Lastly, having directed several shorts, David Zonana (Mexico City, 1989) makes his feature debut with Mano de obra (Workforce), produced by the filmmaker Michel Franco. The cast of his first feature film combines professional and non-professional actors to portray the drift of a group of construction workers affected by precarious employment.

These seven titles join those already announced a few days ago, La trinchera infinita (The Endless Trench, Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño, Jose Mari Goenaga), Mientras dure la guerra (While At War, Alejandro Amenábar) and La hija de un ladrón (A Thief’s Daughter, Belén Funes), the three Spanish productions competing for the Golden Shell.

Furthermore, Diecisiete (Seventeen, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo) will participate out of competition, and there will be a special screening of La odisea de los giles (Heroic Losers, Sebastián Borensztein). In the coming weeks, the Festival will announce the rest of the titles making up the Official Selection at the 67th edition, to run from 20-28 September.


Cast: Daniyar Alshinov, Dinara Baktybayeva, Teoman Khos

A boy is murdered in Kazakh village. Detective Bekzat wants to wrap up the investigation quickly: after all, the perpetrator has already been found by local police officers. But when a journalist arrives from the city, everything falls to pieces. For the first time in his career, Bekzat must conduct a real investigation according to procedure.


Cast: Nina Hoss, Simon Abkarian, Ilja Monti

Anna teaches violin at a school for young musicians in Berlin. Despite her colleagues’ opposition, the teacher approves the admission of Alexander, a young boy in whom she sees remarkable talent. She teaches Alexander with great dedication and affection, and is soon devoting more time and attention to him than to her own 10 year-old son. Rivalry arises between the two youngsters as Anna’s marriage hits the rocks. But where she failed, her gifted student must succeed, and as an important audition approaches, Anna becomes increasingly obsessed with driving him to new heights.


Cast: Andrée Lachapelle, Gilbert Sicotte, Rémy Girard, Eve Landry, Éric Robidoux, Louise Portal

Three elderly hermits live deep in the woods, cut off from the rest of the world. While wildfires threaten the region, their quiet life is about to be shaken by the death of the eldest among them, Boychuck, and the arrival of an octogenarian unjustly institutionalised her whole life. A photographer charged with interviewing survivors of the region’s deadliest forest fire finds their hiding place. The two women will discover hundreds of paintings by Boychuck narrating his tragic past in the wildfires. ​Film based on the novel And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier.


Cast: Luis Alberti, Hugo Mendoza, Jonathan Sánchez

Francisco and a group of construction workers are building a luxury house in Mexico City. Following the accidental on-site death of his brother, Francisco learns that his widowed sister-in-law will not receive compensation from the wealthy owner of the house. After enduring a succession of further abuses against himself and his colleagues, and having made several attempts to obtain justice, he finally takes the law into his own hands – but will the world he’s fighting against end up consuming him?


Cast: Michel Houellebecq, Gérard Depardieu, Maxime Lefrançois, Mathieu Nicourt, Daria Panchenko

It’s been five years since The Kidnapping of Michel Houllebec. Michel and Gérard Depardieu coincide at a sea water therapy centre in Cabourg. Together they try to survive the health regime that the centre attempts to impose upon them. While Michel remains in constant contact with his kidnappers, a series of unexpected events will derail their routine. 


Cast: Amparo Noguera, Julieta Figueroa

Two women who have spent their whole lives together must deal with the illness affecting one of them. The sick woman decides not to have treatment and they move into a cabin in the woods to wait for the day that death will come into their lives. The situation sees the resurfacing of the love that time had buried under the routine. Gradually their relationship will strengthen as death bides its time outside the cabin.


Cast: James Franco, Megan Fox, Seth Rogen, Joey King, Jacki Weaver, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson

Based on the novel by Steve Erickson, Vikar, a socially awkward architecture student inspired by the few films he has seen, rides the bus into Hollywood. With a tattoo of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor as they appear in A Place in the Sun on his shaved head, Vikar makes an impression on the beautiful actress Soledad. Soon breaking into film as a designer and eventually a film editor, Vikar begins a dreamlike journey into the world of films that eventually ends in tragedy and almost horrific discovery.

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