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Debuts dominate Rotterdam awards

'Finisterrae,' 'Eternity,' 'Journals' win Tigers

BRUSSELS — Debut features have taken all three Tiger awards at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Winners were announced Friday, with the fest continuing to Sunday.

“Finisterrae” by Sergio Caballero is the absurdist tale of two Russian-speaking ghosts traveling across Spain in order to be reincarnated.

Pic was a talking point during the fest, but not universally loved. Jury commended it for “searching for the boundaries in this festival, for the edgy, the off-beat.”

“Eternity” by Sivaroj Kongsakul views a courtship through the eyes of a distraught ghost wandering the Thai countryside. Result is “a beautiful and delicate love story,” the jury said, “with a great sense of cinematic duration.”

Film was supported by the fest’s Hubert Bals Fund.

“The Journals of Musan” by Park Jung-Bum recounts the struggle of a North Korean defector to find a place in South Korean society. Jury commended its strongly constructed narrative.

“Journals” edged out the other South Korean contender, “Bleak Night” by Yoon Sung-Hyun, which was one of the favorites among professionals and critics visiting the fest. The two films shared the New Currents Award at Pusan last year.

Among fest’s other prizes, “Oki’s Movie” by Hong Sang-Soo and “Club Zeus” by David Verbeek shared the Return of the Tiger award. This one-off prize, for former Tiger competitors returning with new films, was part of the fest’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Fest’s audience award and the Dioraphte award for best film supported by the Hubert Bals Fund will be announced Saturday.

Front-runners in the public voting on Friday were foreign-language Oscar contenders “Incendies” and “Biutiful.”

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