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San Sebastian Unveils Seven International Titles in Competition

The San Sebastian Film Festival, the most prestigious film event in the Spanish-speaking world, unveiled Thursday the first seven international titles that will vie for a Golden Shell in competition.

They are Francois Ozon's "The New Girlfriend," Bille August's "Silent Heart," Mia Hansen-Love's "Eden," "Phoenix," by Christian Petzold, Shim Sung-bo's "Haemoo," Michael R. Roskam's "The Drop" and "Casanova Variations," by Michael Sturminger.

A Golden Shell winner in 2012 with "In the House" and A 2009 Special Jury Awardee with "Hideaway," Ozon, one of France's bestselling foreign-language auteurs, returns to San Sebastian with suspense film "The New Girlfriend," based on a short story by British author Ruth Rendell, about a woman who makes a surprising discovery after visiting her late friend's husband.

Foreign-language Oscar and Cannes' Palme d'Or winner Bille August will compete with intimate drama "Silent Heart," about a family who gathers for one last weekend with the family's ailing matriarch, who plans to take her own life when the weekend is over. Pic toplines Paprika Steen ("The Celebration"), Pilou Asbaek ("A Highjacking") and Danica Curcic, chosen as a 2014 European Film Promotion Shooting Star.

In contempo drama "Eden," France's rising star director Mia Hansen-Love, winner of Cannes 2009's Un Certain Regard with "Father of My Children," recreates the French electronic music landscape in the '90s, focusing on the rise and fall of a DJ. "Eden" is being sold by Paris-based Kinology.

Germany's Christian Petzold, winner of a Berlin Silver Bear for director with drama "Barbara," will present in San Sebastian "Phoenix," his latest collaboration with star Nina Hoss. Set in post-WWII Berlin, drama turns on a singer searching for her husband, a pianist, after reconstructing her face, who was completely disfigured in a concentration camp.

"Haemoo," South Korean Shim Sung-bo's directorial debut, is a real-events-inspired, melodramatic thriller about a young crewman who tries to save a female immigrant being smuggled across the border when their fishing boat has an accident. Film is co-penned and produced by Bong Joon-ho, helmer of chiller "Memories of Murder," whose script Shim Sung-bo co-wrote.

Also in San Sebastian's main competition: Crime thriller "The Drop," Belgian Michael R. Roskam's Hollywood debut, toplining Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini in his last role for feature film. Roskman's debut feature, 2011's "Bullhead," won best film at the Austin Fantastic Fest and was nominated for a best foreign-language film.

Starring John Malkovich both as himself and playing Giacomo Casanova, Michael Sturminger's "Casanova Variations" boards the myth of the great seductor based on his book "Histoire de ma vie." The story is told both through fiction and on-stage performances, using arias from Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte.

The San Sebastian Festival, which runs Sept. 19-27, will announce new main competition titles by next week.

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