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‘I Am Not Madame Bovary’ Wins San Sebastian Festival: Complete List of Winners

Spain’s Eduard Fernandez takes actor for ‘Smoke & Mirrors,’ Fan Bingbing actress for “I Am Not Madame Bovary,” and Hong Sang-soo director

SAN SEBASTIAN — Marking a year when Asian cinema pretty well cleaned up on top plaudits at San Sebastian, “I Am Not Madame Bovary,” from vet Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, (“The Banquet,” “Assembly,” “Aftershock”), won the top Golden Seashell Saturday night at the 64th San Sebastian Film Festival.

Saturday night’s topped a 64th San Sebastian edition marked by a mass presence of new directors and across-the-board growth – in star presence, prizes, industry programs and news. Beyond actors’ kudos, 20 out of 31 film awards announced Saturday went to first features.

Chinese megastar Fan Bingbing, who plays a woman cafe proprietor who takes on the Chinese legal system, scored best actress for “I Am Not Madame Bovary.”

A marked move to more artistic realms by Feng, China’s best-known film director abroad, “I Am Not Madame Bovary” had scored a FIPRESCI prize at Toronto, but was not a competition front-runner in San Sebastian Spanish critics’ polls whose favourites were Jonas Trueba’s world premiering “The Reconquest,” a nostalgia-laced love story, and William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth,” a nineteenth-century set chronicle of merciless love-lust which was a breakout critical and sales hit at Toronto.

“I Am Not Madame Bovary” portrays Chinese customs. “There are good and bad customs, but I have been shut up in a cage and not allowed to express what I want,” Feng said Saturday night, accepting the Golden Seashell from Jury president Bille August, in apparent reference to censorship. The film’s Chinese release has been pushed back from Sept. 30 to Nov. 14, though no official explanation has been forthcoming.

The latest tale of dysfunctional romance from the prolific Hong Sang-soo, sometimes dubbed a Korean Woody Allen, “Yourself and Yours,” won him the best director plaudit for a romantic comedy about a painter suffering from near delirious jealousy sparked by his girlfriend.

Prompting the biggest applause of the night, Eduard Fernandez,

regarded in Spain as one of the finest actors of his generation, took best actor for Alberto Rodriguez’s mid 1990s-set espionage thriller “Smoke & Mirrors,” where he plays Francisco Paesa, a real-life smooth talking ETA arms-dealer, gigolo, thief and former Spanish secret agent shopped by his own government and out for revenge.

“Every gleaming nut and bolt of its assembly advertisers its helmer’s suitability for U.S. studio fare,” Variety wrote of “Smoke & Mirrors” which, like so much big Latin fare these days, is distributed in its country and increasingly abroad by U.S studios, who are also more and more keen to take equity in projects.

Two first features, both curiously drawing on Western tropes – Argentine Emiliano Torres’ “The Winter,” and Swede Johannes Nyholm’s “The Giant” – shared San Sebastian’s Special Jury Prize. Set in a snowbound Patagonia and a face-off between an aged park warden and the man brought in to substitute him, “The Winter” also scooped best cinematography for Ramiro Civita.

Half neo-documentary, half near psychedelic fantasy, “The Giant” turns on a 30-severely deformed man suffering from autism who hopes that wining the Scandinavia petanque championship, imagining the prize would allow him to reunited with his mother.

Coming into the Festival on the back of great buzz, “May God Save Us,” a harrowing Madrid-set serial killer procedural probing different iterations of male violence, won best screenplay for director Rodrigo Sorogoyen and co-scribe Isabel Peña. Warner Bros. again handles Spanish distribution.

While Asia scored big in major plaudits, women directors took the key awards at San Sebastian’s biggest parallel sections: its New Directors Competition and Horizontes Latinos showcase, as well as a Youth Award, proving some of the most talked-up of new titles. Greek Sofia Exarchou’s “Park,” about teens who hang out in Athens’ run-down Olympic Village, abandoned to their fate, like the installations, snagged San Sebastian’s coveted New Directors Award, which carried a €35,000 ($39,000) cash prize.

A San Sebastian 2015 Films in Progress player, Chilean Pepa San Martin’s debut “Rara” won a hard-fought Horizontes Award in a section, Latinos Horizontes, which features the best Latin American films of the year. Centering on a Chilean judge who loses custody of her children due to her sexual orientation, “Rara” already won a Berlinale Generation Kplus International Jury Grand Prix in February.

A further Horizontes Latinos player, Rotterdam Tiger winner “Alba,” from Ecuador’s Ana Cristina Barragan, took a Horizontes special mention for her tender father-daughter reconciliation drama.

“Bar Bahar” (“In Between”), Maysaloun Hammond’s female friendship dramedy turning on three modern Palestine-Israeli women sharing a flat in central Tel Aviv, won the Eroski Youth Award and TVE’s Another Look Award.

“These strong, modern, sexually active women, living independently in the center of Tel Aviv, away from their families and the weight of tradition, struggle to be true to themselves when confronting the expectations of others,” Variety said in a review.

“In Between” “tries to spotlight a new generation in Palestine Israel and the Arab world too. We are sick of dictatorships giving us rules,” director At the beginning of Arab spring, when I started writing, you could feel the wind of change,” Hamoud said on stage in one of the longest acceptance speeches on Saturday night, adding that change has not been complete. “We must free our minds. Promote anonymity and freedom for women,” she added.

In further awards, Morgan Simon’s “A Taste of Ink,” about the bitter confrontation between an authoritarian father and hardcore punk singer son, took a New Directors’ special mention. Its visions of a disaffected and disenfranchised youth was echoed in multiple movies by a large number of new or young directors at Sebastian, most notably “Playground” and “Jesus” in competition. That focus followed through from line-up to awards Eight of its 17 competition titles were first features or made by directors under 40.

A movie from one first-timer, Swiss Claude Barras’ animated feature “My Life as a Courgette” added to its top Golden Crystal at France’s Annecy Animation Fest this June, scooping Best European Film in the DSS 2016 European Capital of Culture 2016 Audience Award category.

Bucking the new director trend, Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake” continued its remarkable festival career, taking the major Audience Award prize in the same category, having won Cannes’ 2016 Palme d’Or and an Audience Award at Locarno.

“This is an incredible festival,” Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval, “I, Daniel Blake’s saes agent said of San Sebastian, adding that Loach’s career had been built on festivals like San Sebastian.

Marking the biggest star presence in years, Sigourney Weaver and Ethan Hawke received career achievement Donostia Awards at San Sebastian; Gael Garcia Bernal collected fest’s new Jaeger-LeCoultre Latin Cinema Award. Also on hand: Javier Bardem, who produced “Bigas X Bigas,” a portrait of the larger-than-life Spanish director Bigas Luna; Richard Gere (for “Time Out of Mind”), Joseph Gordon Levitt (“Snowden”) Ewan McGregor and Jennifer Connelly (“American Pastoral”) and Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”).

Beyond the Jaeger-LeCoultre plaudit, San Sebastian added three other new prizes, one at Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, two more in its Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum, whose increased backing reflects in now consolidated status.

The biggest industry presentation was made by Telefonica’s pay TV unit, Movistar Plus, presenting the writer-directors behind its first six original TV series. If they fulfil their artistic ambitions, these look set to mark a milestone in upscale TV fiction in Spain.

The 64th edition also saw a surge in deals on Basque film projects, as the festival’s local Basque industry attracts international interest, often from Europe, from sales agents and co-producers alike. That adds more industry heft and a new San Sebastian-Europe axis, to an event which is already established a key bridge between Europe and Latin America.

The 64th San Sebastian Festival ran Sept. 16-24.

WINNERS OF THE 64th SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL, OFFICIAL AWARDS

COMPETITION PRIZES

GOLDEN SHELL

“I Am Not Madame Bovary,” Xiaogang Feng, China

SILVER SHELL, DIRECTOR

Hong Sang-soo, (“Yourself and Yours,” South Korea)

SILVER SHELL, ACTRESS

Fang Bingbing, (“I Am Not Madame Bovary,” China)

SILVER SHELL, BEST ACTOR

Eduard Fernández, (“Smoke & Mirrors,” Spain)

SPECIAL JURY SPECIAL AWARD

EX AEQUO:

“The Giant,” Johannes Nyholm, Sweden, Denmark

“The Winter,” Emiliano Torres

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Ramiro Civita (“The Winter,” Argentina, France)

SCREENPLAY

Isabel Peña, Ricardo Sorogoyen (“May God Save Us,” Spain)

OTHER MAIN PRIZES

KUTXABANK NEW DIRECTORS’ AWARD

“Park,” Sofia Exarchou, Greece, Poland

SPECIAL MENTION

“A Taste of Ink,” Morgan Simon, France

HORIZONTES AWARD

“Rara,” Pepa San Martín, Argentina, Chile

SPECIAL MENTION TO

“Alba,” Ana Cristina Barragán, Ecuador, Mexico, Greece

ZABALTEGI-TABAKALERA AWARD

“Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words,” Thorsten Schütte, France, Germany

SPECIAL MENTION TO

“The Disco Shines,” Chema García Ibarra, Turkey

DSS 2016 EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2016 AUDIENCE AWARD

“I, Daniel Blake,” Ken Loach, U.K., France, Belgium

AUDIENCE AWARD FOR AN EUROPEAN FEATURE

“My Life as a Courgette,” Claude Barras, France, Switzerland

IRIZAR BASQUE FILM AWARD

“Pedalo,” Juan Palacios, Spain

EROSKI YOUTH AWARD

“In Between,” Maysaloun Hamoud, Israel, France

INDUSTRY AWARDS

FILMS IN PROGRESS 30TH INDUSTRY AWARD

“Rey’s Education,” Santiago Esteves, Argentina

5TH EUROPE-LATIN AMERICA CO-PRODUCTION FORUM BEST PROJECT AWARD

“7:35 am,” Javier Van De Couter, Argentina

SPECIAL MENTION

“Hogar,” Maura Delpero, Argentina, Italy

EFADS & CACI EUROPE-LATIN AMERICA CO-PRODUCTION GRANT

“Malambo King,” Juan Pablo Felix, Argentina, Spain, France

ARTE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

“Hogar”

OTHER AWARDS

FIPRESCI INTL. FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS’ PRIZE

“Lady Macbeth,” William Oldroyd, U.K.

TVE ANOTHER LOOK AWARD

“In Between,” Maysaloun Hamoud, Israel, France

SPANISH COOPERATION AWARD

“Oscuro Animal,” Felipe Guerrero, Colombia, Argentina, Greece, Germany, The Netherlands

SPECIAL MENTION TO

“Era O Hotel Cambridge,” Eliane Caffé, Brazil, France, Spain

“Dark Skull,” Kiro Russo, Bolivia, Qatar

TOKYO GOHAN AWARD 2016

“Theater of Life,” Peter Savek, Canada

FEROZ CINEMALDIA AWARD

“Smoke & Mirrors,” Alberto Rodriguez, Spain

BEST BASQUE SCRIPT

“Fifth Floor,” Mikel Rueda, Spain

LURRA-GREENPEACE AWARD

“The Odyssey,” Jérôme Salle, France, Belgium

SIGNIS AWARD

“Nocturama,” Bertrand Bonello, France, Germany, Belgium

“A Monster Calls,” J.A Bayona, Spain

SEBASTIENE AWARD

“In Between,” Maysaloun Hamoud, Israel, France

HONORARY AWARDS

DONOSTIA PRIZES-2016

Ethan Hawke, Sigourney Weaver

JAEGER-LECOULTRE LATIN CINEMA AWARD

Gael García-Bernal

ZINEMIRA AWARD

Ramon Barea

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