MARRAKECH — Dominik Graf’s “The Red Cockatoo” took two of the four main plaudits at the 6th Marrakech Intl. Film Festival on Saturday, winning fest’s top Golden Star for film and best actor for lede Max Riemelt.
While prizing lesser-known pics — “Bobby” and “The House of Sand” went home empty-handed — the Roman Polanski-led jury spread its awards across a wide range of films.
In the vein of “Good Bye, Lenin!,” “Red Cockatoo,” is a tale of rock ‘n’ roll and repression in 60s East Germany. Fest’s jury prize went to Romanian Radu Muntean for “The Paper Will Be Blue.”
Less populist than “Cockatoo,” the neo-docu “Paper,” memorable for its low-to-no lighting, records an armored car militia unit patrolling Bucharest on the night after dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s fall in 1989, capturing the soldiers’ boredom, bickering and blarney, the night’s chaos and its sobering chance deaths.
Best actress went to Faou N’Diaye who delivers some romance as a hotel waitress in Robert Favreau’s “A Sunday in Kigali,” a semi-fictionalized time-jumping take on Rwanda’s massacres in 1994.
Marrakech offers just four main prizes. Of lesser-seen competish players films, Rene Feret’s “Il a suffit que maman s’en aille,” which world preemed Friday at Marrakech, proved an affecting, sometimes sharply-observed, portrait of a 59-year-old father who’s unwilling to admit his age or cede custody of his intelligent young daughter to his estranged wife.
A Piazza Grande player at Locarno, comedy “My Brother’s Getting Married,” the fictional deb of multi-prized Swiss docu helmer Jean-Stephane Bron (“Le Genie helvetique”), found some supporters for its ironic story of a dysfunctional Swiss family desperately feigning harmony as the mother of Vinh, their adopted Vietnamese Boat People son, arrives for his marriage.
Playing at a packed audience screening, “Wake Up Morocco” from Narjiss Nejjar (“Cry No More”) brought the house down, but disappointed critics. Set in an idyllic island village, pic has two memorable set-pieces — a dance-scene and a brutal attack on a girl — but morphs into agitprop, albeit for a good cause — Morocco’s modernization — as it imagines, very schematically, Morocco’s winning the 2010 soccer World Cup.
The large question confronting the Marrakech festival is where it goes from here.
After six years, it has something of a name plus an established and tested formula, balancing star punch with a competish lineup packed with new or new-ish filmmakers who reflect the richness and latest currents of filmmaking worldwide.
“We’ve now established the base of a serious organization that functions. From next year, we’ll start another phase — of growth,” fest co-vice president Nour-Eddine Sail told Variety.
There are various options for expansion: a mini-mart, more juries, a Morocco showcase, which would be welcomed by foreign journos and fest directors; or round-the-year training activities driven by the Marrakech Festival Foundation.
Fest ran Dec. 1-9.
6TH MARRAKECH INTL. FILM FESTIVAL, DEC.1-9, 2006
GOLDEN STAR, BEST FILM:
“The Red Cockatoo,” Dominik Graf (Germany)
“The Paper Will Be Blue,” Radu Muntean (Romania)
Fatou N’Diaye, “A Sunday in Kigali” (Canada)
Max Riemelt, “The Red Cockatoo”