Finnish Film Noir ‘Concrete Night’ Wins at Croatia’s Pula Film Festival

Special mention goes to 'Amour Fou' by Austrian helmer Jessica Hausner

LONDON — The Pula Film Festival, one of Croatia’s top movie events, wrapped Saturday with the Golden Arena for international film going to Pirjo Honkasalo’s elegant Finnish film noir “Concrete Night.”

The jury, which comprised leading Icelandic filmmaker Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Variety journalist Leo Barraclough and Croatian director Stanislav Tomic, said the movie had been granted the award “for creating a unique atmosphere in a poetic and visually stunning way.”

The award was collected by lead actor Jari Virman, who plays a young man about to go to prison. He is idolized by his sensitive younger brother, played by Johannes Brotherus. Both thesps deliver standout perfs, but the real star is Peter Flinckenberg’s cinematography.

The film, which also screened at the Toronto Film Festival in the Masters section, is being sold by Xavier Henry-Rashid at Film Republic.

A special mention from the jury went to period tragicomedy “Amour Fou” by Austrian helmer Jessica Hausner “for presenting a society in transition with a special blend of tragic and comic elements.”

Other films that were praised by the jury were Tudor Cristian Jurgiu’s “The Japanese Dog” and Rok Bicek’s “Class Enemy.”

Hu Wei’s “Butter Lamp” won best international short “for tackling serious issues with a warm, humane and witty approach.”

The award for top Croatian film went to Kristijan Milic’s Balkan War actioner “Number 55.” The jury said the film “achieves an authentic and emotional presentation of a true event from the Croatian War of Independence.”

A frisson of excitement rippled through the festival when it emerged that one of the films in competition, Bruno Pavic’s “Vlog,” hadn’t cleared the rights to the music in the film, and was pulled from the fest.

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