VALLADOLID, Spain – Paolo Virzi’s Cannes Directors’ hit “Like Crazy” and “Don’t Call Me Son,” Brazilian Anna Muylaert’s lauded follow-up to “The Second Mother,” swept many major prizes at the 61st Valladolid Film Festival which wrapped Saturday night with double plaudits for Argentine Oscar entry “The Illustrious Citizen.”
The story of two vastly different women who share time in an Italian mental health facility and find unlikely friendship, “Like Crazy” received an upbeat Cannes critical reception. “Neither Valeria Bruni Tedeschi nor Micaela Ramazzotti have been better,” Variety said in a review. This opinion was reiterated at Valladolid when the duo shared kudos for best actress, adding to the film’s Audience Award and best feature Golden Spike, the top award of the festival. “Like Crazy” has sold healthily for Bac Films.
Sold by Loco Films, “Don’t Call Me Son” matched that top tally with three awards of its own; Best actor, director and a Rainbow Spike. Already a Berlin Festival hit, “Son” follows a teenager’s struggling with gender identity when, suddenly, his life is turned upside-down after he learns of his true parentage.
Egypt’s Oscar submission, Mohamed Diab’s “Clash,” following a successful run at Cannes, was the final film to collect three awards at this year’s fest: New director, the Sociograph Award, chosen by the public, and director of photography. On Pyramide Films sales slate, “Clash” takes place exclusively inside a police van during a riot after the Egyptian military toppled the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. Variety’s take: “This is bravura filmmaking with a kick-in-the-gut message about chaos and cruelty.”
A Venice best actor winner for Oscar Martinez and domestic B.O. hit for Disney in Argentina, the Latido Films-sold “The Illustrious Citizen” is shaping up as one of Latin America’s most promising movies of international impact this year. The Argentine Oscar candidate follows a Europe-based author in his journey back to his hometown in rural Argentina where he encounters all matter of praise and detraction. Its Valladolid Silver Spike- fest’s effective runner’s-up trophy – and a best screenplay award will do no damage to the film’s ambitions going forward.
Valladolid’s 2016 prizes suggest the ability of the festival, Spain’s biggest platform for straight-arrow arthouse fare, to select films just below the category of the biggest and most obvious upscale prizewinners of the year but which certainly deserve more platforming for eager fest audiences.
Here are 5 takeaways from this year’s festival followed by the 2016 winners:
ARGENTINA OSCARS ENTRY BUILDS BUZZ:
Argentina’s Academy Awards submission was one major early fest title. “The Illustrious Citizen” screened to positive reactions from press audiences alike. In Valladolid, directors Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn and lead Martínez praised Andrés Duprat’s script as the highlight of the film: “It’s a good script, it’s all in there. All I had to do was perform the character,” offered Martinez.
“LAS FURIAS” (THE FURIES)
Valladolid’s 2016 opener and first feature from Spain’s writer/actor Miguel del Arco is the story of a family in turmoil, forced to face dormant demons when its matriarch makes moves to sell the ancestral home. “The Furies” boasts a powerhouse cast of Emma Suarez, Macarena Sanz and Mercedes Sampietro, all present at the festival’s opening gala. The film itself received a standing ovation from the packed crowd at Valladolid’s Carrión Theater.
In Valladolid to receive an Honorary Golden Spike, one more award to add to a litany collected over a 64-year career, Chaplin also gave a masterclass. Although some of the world still sees the revered actress as the daughter of Charlie Chaplin, in Spain she is one of their own. She studied Spanish from an early age and has had a home in Madrid for years, the city where her daughter, Oona Chaplin (“Game of Thrones”) was born. Chaplin has received acclaim for performances in J.A. Bayona’s “The Orphanage” and “A Monster Calls.”
Kiarostami died on July 4, but his spirit lives on in tribute after tribute, including one at Locarno in July, a sign of his seminal importance to arthouse cinema worldwide. Valladolid’s homage included a retro and a documentary, “76 Minutes & 15 Seconds With Abbas Kiarostami,’ by friend Seifollah Samadian. In addition, a round table grouping Valladolid organizers and fellow directors reflected back on his illustrious life and career.
CINE Y VINO
International film festivals rarely lack in local flavor, Valladolid’s – its wine – was obvious from the get-go. At the opening gala, Spanish actress and comedian Ana Morgande organized a vote on theatre concessions. The gala audience ruled popcorn unacceptable as a movie snack; wine was deemed not only appropriate but even enhancing to the movie-going experience. Many festivals sponsors were local wine producers. On Wednesday, for the third consecutive year, they held, a Cine & Vino Gala. Documentary “Priorat” screened; afterwards tastings were held of a variety of local wines.
Winners of the 61st Valladolid Film Festival, Official Awards
“Like Crazy,” Paolo Virzi, Italy, France
‘MIGUEL DELIBES, BEST SCREENPLAY
Andrés Duprat, (“The Illustrious Citizen”, Argentina, Spain)
“The Illustrious Citizen,” Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn, Argentina, Spain
‘PILAR MIRÓ PRIZE, BEST NEW DIRECTOR
Mohamed Diab (“Clash”, Egypt, France, United Arab Emirates)
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Naomi Nero, (“Don’t Call Me Son,” Brazil)
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Micaela Ramazzotti (“Like Crazy,” Italy)
BEST DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Ahmed Gabr, (“Clash”, Egypt, France, United Arab Emirates)
EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY SHORT FILM NOMINEE PRIZE
“Fight on a Swedish Beach,” Simon Vahine, Sweden
GOLDEN SPIKE, SHORT
“Il silenzio,” Famoosh Samadi, Ali Asgari, Italy, France
“Cheimaphobia,” Daniel Sánzchez Arévalo
SILVER SPIKE, SHORT
“How Long, Not Long,” Michelle Karnot, Uri Karnot, Denmark
OFFICIAL SECTION AUDIENCE AWARD
“Like Crazy,” Paolo Virzi, Italy, France
OFFICIAL SECTION YOUTH JURY AWARD
“The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi, France, Iran
“Clash,” Mohamed Diab, Egypt, France, United Arab Emirates
RIBERA DE DUERO BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
Anna Muylaert (“Don’t Call Me Son,” Brazil)
MEETING POINT BEST FEATURE
“Quite Starring at my Plate,” Hana Jušić, Croatia, Denmark
MEETING POINT BEST FOREIGN SHORT
“Half a Man,” Kristina Kumrić, Croatia, France
A NIGHT OF SPANISH SHORTS’ PRIZE
“The App,” Julián Merino, Spain
MEETING POINT AUDIENCE AWARD
“Junction 48,” Udi Alonoi, Israel, Germany, United States
MEETING POINT YOUNG JURY AWARD
“One Last Afternoon,” Joel Calero, Perú, Colombia
TIME OF HISTORY FIRST PRIZE
“Shadow World,” Johan Grimonprez, United States, Belgium, Denmark
“Gulîstan, Land of Roses,” Zaynê Akyol, Canada, Germany
TIME OF HISTORY SECOND PRIZE
“Dancing Beethoven,” Arantxa Aguirre, Switzerland, Spain
AWARD TO A SHORT FILM FROM CASTILE AND LEON
“The Invitation,” Susana Casares, Spain
SEMINCI JOVEN AWARD
“At Eye Level,” Evi Goldbrunner, Joachim Dollhopf, Germany
SPECIAL MENTION DOC SPAIN
“Sasha,” Félix Colomer, Spain
“Don’t Call Me Son” Anna Muylaert, Brazil