Cannes: ‘Paulina,’ ‘Land and Shade’ Top Cannes Critics’ Week

Latin America scoops top plaudits at 2015 Cannes Critics' Week.

Paulina Cannes Critics Week
Courtesy of Semaine de la Critique Cannes

Making good on its director’s large promise, “Paulina,” the second feature from Santiago Mitre, whose “The Student” was one of Latin America’s standout recent debuts, topped the Cannes Film Festival’s 54th Critics’ Week, taking its Nespresso Grand Prix on Thursday.

Sold by Versatile Films and produced by Argentina’s La Union de los Rios, Paris-based Full House, Walter Salles’ VideoFilmes and Telefonica Studios, “Paulina” centers on a woman lawyer in a humble neighborhood who is brutally attacked but refuses to give up on her social work.

In a double whammy for Latin America, “Land and Shade” scooped both the France 4 Visionary Award and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers SACD Prize. The slice-of-life feature debut from Colombia’s Cesar Acevedo is a family drama set on a blighted sugarcane plantation, portraying a rural way of life condemned to extinction. Burning Blue’s Diana Bustamante (“Crab Trap,” “Refugiado”) produced.

Clement Cogitore’s “The Wakhan Front,” a contemporary mystery war drama set in Afghanistan, won the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution. A metaphysical or metaphorical thriller, “Wakhan” stars Jeremie Renier as a French army captain who begins to lose his nerve as his soldiers disappear.

“Ramona” took the Canal Plus Award for best short. Also playing the short-medium feature section, Italian Fulvio Risuelo “Chickenpox” nabbed the Sony CineAlta Discovery Prize.