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Spain bestows pic prize on Verdu

Actress wins National Cinema Prize

MADRID — Actress Maribel Verdu has won the National Cinema Prize awarded by the ICAA Spanish Film Institute, which comes with a E30,000 ($42,000) cash prize.

The prize was awarded for outstanding work or achievement in 2008, a year when Verdu, after four nominations, finally won a best actress Spanish Academy Goya for Gracia Querejeta’s “Seven Billiard Tables”; played the femme lead in Jose Luis Cuerda’s hit “The Blind Sunflowers”; and starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro,” which opened Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year.

The prize tops multiple awards throughout a 25-year career. Verdu grabbed public attention in 1986 for Montxo Armendariz’s “27 Hours,” in which she played a junkie, and Fernando Trueba’s “The Year of Awakening,” in which she was the love interest.

Damned by good looks, which meant Verdu was regarded for years as a sex symbol as much as an actress, Verdu has delivered some of her best performances in a mid-career flurry of pics that includes Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y tu mama tambien,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Tetro.”

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