Valladolid goes for ‘Honeymoons’

Goran Paskaljevic pic wins Golden Spike

MADRID — Goran Paskaljevic’s “Honeymoons” took the top Golden Spike and Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics prizes at the 54th Valladolid Film Festival.

The double kudos extends Paskaljevic’s own particular honeymoon with Valladolid: The Serbian director won the Golden Spike in 1995 with “Someone Else’s America” and again in 2006 with “The Optimists.”

The victory for “Honeymoons” underscored one of Valladolid’s main achievements in its second year under Javier Angulo: a competition peppered with films — Argentininian Diego Rafecas’ “Paco,” Moroccan Nour-eddine Lakhmari’s “Casablanca” and Mona Achache’s “Hedgehog” — that plumb social issues but still pack a satisfying dramatic punch.

“Hedgehog” scooped the audience award, demonstrating crowd-pleasing potential beyond arthouse auds.

The other big winners were Danish director Annette K. Olesen’s “Little Soldier,” a drama about a small-time pimp and his daughter, a soldier, which took the fest’s second prize, the Silver Spike. Also prevailing were Trine Dyrholm for actress, and Robert Guediguian’s French Resistance drama “The Army of Crime.”

A lively competition mixed name auteurs, still-to-break directors and an interesting, if not universally praised, bevy of Spanish films.

Two local pics scored kudos: Felix Sabroso and Dunia Ayaso’s portrait of a dysfunctional family, “La isla interior,” which took actor for Alberto San Juan, and “Estigmas,” a redemption tale that earned Adan Aliaga the prize for new director.

Valladolid’s main Meeting Point and Time of History sidebars boasted multiple highlights.

One was the feature film directorial debut, at the age of 74, of indefatigable Spanish producer Elias Querejeta (“The Hunt,” “The Spirit of the Beehive”). His “Cerca de tus ojos” is a wakeup call that illustrates a litany of contraventions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ranging from torture to terrorism to suppression of press freedoms.

Pic mixes footage of actual events, dramatic re-creation and a to-camera presentation by actress Maribel Verdu, playing a journalist, and its pre-Valladolid press screening left its audience in numb horror.

Fest ran Oct. 24-31.

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