'Play,' 'Declaration,' 'Giants' prove standouts at Gijon
GIJON, Spain — Swedish helmer-scribe Ruben Ostlund is prepping “Tourist,” his follow-up to breakthrough hit “Play.”A Swedish-French language movie, “Tourist” is set up at Ostlund’s Gothenburg-based Plattform Produktion. Plattform is in talks for Philippe Bober’s Coproduction Office to co-produce and handle “Tourist’s” international sales, as on “Play,” Ostlund said at Spain’s Gijon Festival, which kicked off its 49th edition Friday. Plattform’s Erik Hemmendorff and Marie Kjelson will produce. The Swedish Film Institute and Swedish regional fund Film I Vast, which has put up development costs, are backing “Tourist.” A three-part movie, “Tourist” highlights “behavior that people have seen in others — mostly in conflict areas — think they’ll never resort to, and then have to admit that they have that side to their character,” Ostlund told journalists at Gijon. One part includes what Ostlund hopes to be the most spectacular avalanche in film history. It turns on a happy Swedish family — father, mother, two kids — holidaying in the French Alps. An avalanche sparks a spontaneous act of cowardice from the father, who can’t understand why he reacted that way. Ostlund, a professional ski filmmaker, is currently working on the screenplay. Plattform aims to trigger the avalanche this winter, combining shots with bluescreen vfx. Principal photography is skedded for spring, Ostlund told Variety. A discomfiting chronicle, based on true events, of five black boys robbing three white kids — “the idea was to open up discussions about something which people have difficulties talking about, Ostlund said — “Play” was one Competition standout during Gijon’s early running. Valeria Donzelli’s French B.O. breakout “Declaration of War” confirmed its overseas potential, drawing applause and even tears at a press screening. Belgian Bouli Lanners “The Giants” elicited glowing press plaudits: “A work of genius,” reported Asturias’ El Comercial. Playing Monday, Gijon’s first major world preem, “Iceberg,” from Spaniard Gabriel Velazquez (“Sud Express”), proved a contemplative three-story coming-of-age drama, set beside Salamanca’s placid Rio Tormes, in which three adolescents face their first character-shaping big problems in life. Underscoring a new industrial model in Spain of ratcheting down budgets to limit exposure to a severely contracting local market, Velazquez said that, while he took a risk going into production on “Iceberg” before closing its budget, the drama was eventually fully-financed by incentives. In the Rellumes sidebar, the near phantasmagoric docu “Hollywood Talkies,” from Barcelona’s Oscar Perez and Mar Ribot — turning on the creation of Spanish-language version of early sound pics — also had its fans. “Copito,” a 3D live-action/toon movie from Filmax, one of Spain’s foremost forces in feature film animation, world preems later this week. Fest fetes eclectic Austrian helmer Michael Glawogger (“Whore’s Glory,” “Contact High”), Bertrand Bonello (“House of Tolerance”) and festive New York-based indie cineaste Marie Losier, who presented her feature “The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye.” Spaniard Montxo Armendariz — whose films have nearly always twinned critical and commercial success in Spain — will pick up the Nacho Martinez National Cinema Prize. Fest closes Saturday with thriller “The Woman in the Fifth,” from Pawel Pawlikowski, whose “The Last Resort” topped Gijon in 2000.