‘Essential Killing’ tops Mar del Plata fest

Skolimoski's thriller wins prizes for film and actor Gallo

BUENOS AIRES — Poland’s “Essential Killing” scooped the top prize at Argentina’s Mar del Plata Intl. Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

Jerzy Skolimoski’s thriller also won actor honors for Vincent Gallo, who played a political prisoner facing hunger and snowstorms in his escape. Actress went to both Mirela Oprisor and Maria Popistasu for their performances in the Romanian affair drama “Tuesday, After Christmas,” directed by Radu Muntean.

Alexei Fedorchenko scooped the director prize for “Silent Souls,” the story of a writer and a friend on a road trip to bury a recently deceased wife. Film also took screenplay for Denis Osokin.

The public nod for film in the international competition went to Argentine helmer Fernando Spiner’s “Aballay, the Man Without Fear,” a Western about a young man out to avenge his father’s death. It also scooped the second special mention from the jury.

The first special mention went to Serbian Oleg Novkovic’s “White White World,” a relationship drama set in small-town Serbia. The jury awarded special prize to Georgian Otar Iosseliani’s “Chantrapas,” the tale of a filmmaker trying to find artistic freedom away from his Russia.

In the Latin American competition, the film nod was shared between Peruvian helmers Daniel and Diego Vega for “October,” a comedy about a lonely man looking for the mother of a baby found at his door. The other winner was romantic adventure “Transit Love,” the freshman effort of Argentina’s Lucas Blanco. Cuba-set rape drama “Domino Effect” picked up short honors for French helmer Gabriel Gauchet.

Tamae Garateguey’s “Pompeya” — about the making of a gangster film — won in the Argentina competition, while Lucas Turturro’s “A King for the Patagonia,” a documentary about the making of a film in 1972 about a Frenchman who once declared himself the king of Patagonia, snared a jury mention.

And the winners are:

International Competition:

Film: “Essential Killing,” Jerzy Skolimoski

Director: Alexei Fedorchenko, “Silent Souls”

Screenplay: Denis Osokin, “Silent Souls”

Actor: Vincent Gallo, “Essential Killing”

Actress: Mirela Oprisor and Maria Popistasu, “Tuesday, After Christmas”

Special Jury Award: “Chantrapas,” Otar Iosseliani

First Special Mention: “White White World,” Oleg Novkovic

Second Special Mention: “Aballay, the Man without Fear,” Fernando Spiner

Latin American Features Competition:

Film: “October,” Daniel & Diego Vega, and “Transit Love” Lucas Blanco

Latin American Shorts Competition:

Film: “Domino Effect,” Gabriel Gauchet

Argentine Features Competition:

Film: “Pompeya,” Tamae Garateguy

Jury Special Mention: “A King for the Patagonia,” Lucas Turturro

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