'Half Moon,' 'Mons fils a moi' take Golden Shell

See Winners

Bahman Ghobadi’s “Half Moon” and Martial Fougeron’s “Mons fils a moi” shared the top Golden Shell at the 54th San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival, which closed Saturday.

Jury prexy Jeanne Moreau’s announcement of “Half Moon’s” plaudit drew a dribble of applause at the prize press conference. A Kurdish road movie banned in Iran, pic also took a Fipresci best film nod.

But Moreau’s hushed confirmation of the Shell for “Mons fils” brought a barrage of boos from local press.

Not that “Mons fils” was hugely disliked. Its high note, a tour-de-force perf from Nathalie Baye as a tragically smothering mother, won her a deserved actress trophy.

For most critics, however, the French drama paled before a brace of competish entries — often the world preems of clever, cross-grained comedies from on-form name directors — that made this year’s San Sebastian one of its strongest editions in recent years. One of these, Tom DiCillo’s “Delirious,” with Steve Buscemi nailing his role as a paparazzo, took prizes for director and screenplay. At fest’s closing ceremony, DeCillo accepted the helmer award near to tears, recalling how he had to fight six years to make the film.

Argentine Carlos Sorin’s whimsical road movie “El camino de San Diego” scooped fest’s special jury prize.

Other applauded competish contenders went home virtually empty-handed, however, including John Boorman’s atmospheric identity-theft thriller “The Tiger’s Tail”; Agnieszka Holland’s “Copying Beethoven,” a heady portrait of Beethoven sweating over his 9th Symphony and his luscious femme copyist (Diane Kruger); and Dutch Heddy Honigmann’s “Forever,” a witty docu about Paris cemetery Pere Lachaise.

Spaniard Juan Diego won the actor prize for Victor Garcia Leon’s “Vete de mi,” a downbeat portrayal of the ethically squalid relations between a hapless father (Diego) and his importuning son. Lionel Bailliu took the Altadis New Directors Award, worth $114,000, for “Fair Play,” an intense thriller about yuppies who go canyoneering.

Underscoring the quality of Brazilian filmmaking, fest’s Horizontes prize, for Latin American film, went to Sao Paulo social realist drama “The 12 Labors” from Ricardo Elias.

Other awards settled on three offbeat comedies, a trend this year.

Dane Peter Schonau Fog’s “The Art of Crying,” a quirkily comic incest tale, won the Volkswagen Youth Award. “Little Miss Sunshine,” from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, took home the TCM Audience Award. Yen Yen Woo and Colin Goh’s And “Singapore Dreaming,” a graceful satire on western capitalism in the east, bagged the Montblanc New Screenwriters Award.

(Jonathan Holland contributed to this report.)

And the winners are…

GOLDEN SHELL
“Half Moon,” Bahman Ghobadi (Iran-Iraq-Austria-France)
“Mons fils a moi,” Martial Fougeron (France)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“El camino de San Diego,” Carlos Sorin (Argentina)

SILVER SHELL, DIRECTOR
Tom DiCillo, Delirious (U.S.)

SILVER SHELL, ACTRESS
Nathalie Baye, “Mon fils a moi”

SILVER SHELL, ACTOR
Juan Diego, “Vete de mi,” (Spain)

PHOTOGRAPHY
Nigel Bluck and Crighton Bone, “Half Moon”

SCREENPLAY
Tom DiCillo, “Delirious” (U.S.)

OTHER MAIN PRIZES:

ALTADIS NEW DIRECTORS AWARD
“Fair Play,” Lionel Bailliu (France)

TCM AUDIENCE AWARD
“Little Miss Sunshine,” Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (U.S.)

HORIZONTES AWARD
“The 12 Labors,” Ricardo Elias (Brazil)

MONTBLANC NEW SCREENWRITERS AWARD
“Singapore Dreaming,” Yen Yen Woo, Colin Goh (Singapore)

VOLKSWAGEN YOUTH AWARD
“The Art of Crying,” Peter Shonau Fog (Denmark)

FIPRESCI (INTL. CRITICS’ ASSN) PRIZE
“Half Moon”

SIGNIS AWARD
“Delirious”

CICAE 2005 PRIZE
“Cashback,” Sean Ellis (U.K.)

FILMS IN PROGRESS INDUSTRY AWARD
“The Wandering Bride,” Ana Katz (Agentine)

CINEMA IN MOTION MIKROS IMAGES, CNC, CCM, AMIENS AND FRIBOURG FESTIVALS AWARD
“Ne restent dans l’Oued que ses galets,” Jean-Pierre Lledo (Algeria)

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