MADRID — Taiwanese actor-director Lee Kang-sheng’s sex drama “Help Me Eros” took the top Principality of Asturias prize on Saturday at the 45th Gijon Festival, which underscored the vibrancy and variety of specialty filmmaking worldwide.
Alexei Balabanov won the directing prize for the unrelenting black dramedy “Cargo 200,” a portrait of eve-of-perestroika Russia, which marks a move into the mainstream for the helmer.
Special jury prize went to the high art “El silencio antes de Bach.” vet Catalan Pere Portabella’s rumination on the origins of contempo Euro culture.
One of the most talked-about competition pics, Nicolas Klotz’s “Heartbeat Detector,” which drew a provocative metaphor between the methods and language of the Holocaust and big business, nabbed an actor plaudit for Mathieu Amalric for his chilling perf as a downsizing guru.
Austrian actress Marie-Christine Friedrich won actress for limning the long-suffering wife in first-timer Mia Hansen-Love’s redemption drama “All Is Forgiven.”
Jason Reitman’s “Juno” took Gijon’s Youth Award.
A Fipresci Intl. Critics Assn. jury plumped for “Cochochi,” a neo-realist slice-of-lifer, spoken in Mexico’s Raramuri language, which follows two young brothers’ horseback odyssey across the Sierra Tarahumara.
Attendance at the 10-day fest is not yet in but looks likely to meet or beat last year’s 67,000 admissions, as Gijon becomes a place of pilgrimage for Spain’s hipper young film buffs.
“A generation of spectators and short filmmakers has grown up with the festival,” said its director, Jose Luis Cienfuegos.
A big question for Spain is whether digital cinema, still in its infancy, or legal VOD portals, can snag this audience all the year round.
45th GIJON INTL. FILM FESTIVAL OFFICIAL COMPETITION AWARDS:
“Help Me Eros,” Lee Kang-sheng (Taiwan)
Alexei Balabanov, “Cargo 200” (Russia)
Mathieu Amalric, “Heartbeat Detector,” (France)
Marie-Christine Friedrich, “All Is Forgiven” (France)
“The Other,” Ariel Rotter (Argentina)
“Heartbeat Detector,” Antoine Platteau (France)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“El silencio antes de Bach,” Pere Portabella (Spain)
“Cochochi,” Laura Amelia Guzman, Israel Cardenas (Mexico)
YOUTH JURY PRIZE
“Juno,” Jason Reitman (U.S.)
ENFANTS TERRIBLES FILM AWARD, 6-12 YEAR OLDS
“Kidz in da Hood,” Catti Edfeldt, Ylva Gustavsson (Sweden)
ENFANTS TERRIBLES FILM AWARD, OVER-13s
“This Is England,” Shane Meadows (U.K.)
“A Very British Gangster,” Donal Macintyre (U.K.)