×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Locarno: Estonia’s ‘Portugal’ Wins Top First Look Prize

Lithuania's 'El Padre Medico,’ Estonia’s ‘The Little Comrade’ also take plaudits

LOCARNO, Switzerland —  Making good on its buzz coming into Locarno, “Portugal,” the debut film feature of renowned Estonian playwright Lauri Lagle, took the top First Look prize on Sunday at Locarno’s Festival, as Locarno’s three day pix-in-post showcase, focusing this year on Baltic Cinema, came to an end.

“Portugal’s” prize, Euros 65,000 ($76,560) in post-production services sponsored by Cinelab Bucharest, marks further recognition for Estonia’s Allfilm. Launched in 1995, Allfilm was the first Estonian production house to snag foreign-language Academy Award and Globo no0minations, both for Zaza Urushadze’s “Tangerines.” The Allfilm-produced “The Fencer” proved also made the Golden Globe foreign-language shortlist.

“Portugal” won for its “originality and look at contemporary life in Estonia,” said a press release. But the malaise it deals with – the evolution of married partners, plus modern woman’s questioning her taken-for- granted family lot – is hardly limited to Estonia.

Playing in competition at Locarno, “Freedom” tackles indeed some of the same issues, but without the comedic beats which lighten “Portugal’s” narrative. In it, Karina, a loving wife, begins to suspect her husband, Martin, of an affair; he hits a mid-life crisis and joins a gym. Karina begins to spruce up the family’s trailer and one day simply ups and leaves on her own without a word of explanation. She doesn’t know what she want; but she does want a new beginning.

“The story touches on different phases of love and dissects the paradox of how to love a person for who they were and for who they’re becoming,” the film’s synopsis reads.

“Portugal” will be ready for delivery in February 2018. In further awards, Vytautas Puidokas’ “El Padre Medico” took two prizes –the Baltic View online platform and the Kaiju- Cinema Diffusion awards coming with international promotion aid and contribution towards key art, respectively.

Produced by Paulius Juočeris’ Ironcat, based out of Vilnius, in Lithuania, in co-production with Brazil’s Lente Viva Filmes and Lithuania’s Dansu Films, “Padre Medico” traces the life of Alexander Ferdinand Bendoraitis (1919- 1998), a man who cut a near saintly figure when he appeared in the Amazon in the 1960s, founding a hospital, acclaimed as a missionary and philanthropist. Yet “from investigation into his real life, it is beginning to appear that Bendoraitis spent all of his life under a false identity, creating countless fake narratives around himself,” Juoceris told Variety.

The documentary promises reveals “a shocking reality reaching far more than just the Padre himself,” he added.

Le Film Français Award, consisting in advertising placements, went to Moonika Siimets’ first feature, “The Little Comrade,” produced by Estonia’s Amrion. It depicts six-year-old Leelo whose mother, a school principal, is deported to a labor camp. The little girl tries to follow her mother’s last instruction to be a good kid. Just what that means in Stalinist Estonia is another matter. “The Little Comrade” won for its “great storytelling, international appeal, the great performance and historical reconstruction.”

The First Look Jury was made up of Cannes Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson, Venice Days’ deputy director Sylvain Auzou and Jenn Murphy, the AFI Fest’s senior programmer.

2017 LOCARNO FESTIVAL FIRST LOOK WINNERS:

“Portugal,” (Lauri Lagle, Estonia),

“The Little Comrade,” (Moonika Siimets, Estonia)

“El Padre Medico,” (Vytautas Puidokas, Lithuania, Brazil)

More Film

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content