Chicago Fest applauds ‘Silent Night’

Reygada film wins Gold Hugo award

CHICAGO — “Silent Light,” scripter-helmer Carlos Reygadas’ tale of sudden passion in a Mennonite community in Mexico, won the Gold Hugo for film at the 43rd Chicago Film Festival on Sunday.

Although the fest runs until Wednesday, awards — except the audience prize — are handed out early in order to “give Chicagoans a chance to see the winners,” said the event’s founder and artistic director, Michael Kutza.

Special jury prize went to “Tuya’s Marriage,” written, directed and edited by China’s Wang Quanan. Yu Nan won actress honors for her perf as a woman struggling to land a new provider for her rural family.

The U.K.’s “Control” took a Silver Hugo for actor Sam Riley’s portrayal of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, and a Silver Hugo for Matt Greenhalgh’s screenplay, which was based on the book by Curtis’ widow, Deborah.

Swede Roy Anderson won the Silver Hugo for helmer for “You, the Living,” his ode to deadpan despair and slow-burn quirkiness.

A Silver Plaque “in recognition of a dynamic new talent in Latin filmmaking” was awarded to Chico Teixeira of Brazil for his feature debut “Alice’s House,” about a put-upon manicurist.

In the New Directors Competition, the Gold Hugo went to “In Memory of Myself,” the story of a tormented seminarian’s travails from Italian scripter-helmer Saverio Costanzo.

Brazil’s Philippe Barcinski won a Silver Hugo for his feature debut, “Not by Chance,” a tale of intersecting lives in Sao Paolo.

Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side,” an indictment of torture being condoned at the highest levels of American government, took the Gold Hugo for documentary.

Additional docu awards presented: a Silver Hugo to Brett Morgen for “Chicago 10”; a Gold Plaque to director Darryl Roberts for his disturbing look at the beauty and cosmetics industries, “America the Beautiful”; a Gold Plaque for cinematography to Martijn van Broekhulzen, d.p. on “4 Elements,” from the Netherlands; and special jury prizes to two American films — “Operation Filmmaker,” by Nina Davenport, and “A Walk Into the Sea,” by Esther Robinson.

This year’s edition was dedicated to film critic Roger Ebert, who was presented with a lifetime achievement Gold Hugo on opening night, Oct. 4. Native son John Cusack received a Silver Hugo for career achievement on Friday before the Chicago premiere of “Grace Is Gone.”

On Saturday, thesp Jeffrey Wright was presented with a Silver Hugo for career achievement during the 11th Black Perspectives Tribute.

Next year’s festival runs Oct. 9-22.