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Isabel Coixet’s ‘The Bookshop’ Tops Spain’s 2018 Goya Awards

Basque period drama ‘Giant’ sweeps nine prizes

MADRID — Just three hours after female talent was amply awarded at Sweden’s Göteborg Festival, Scandinavia’s biggest film event, Isabel Coixet’s “The Bookshop” topped the 32nd Goya Awards Saturday night, winning best picture, director and adapted screenplay.

Healthily sold abroad by Celsius, and a sturdy box office performer in Spain, where it has earned $2.9 million, “The Bookshop” is produced by Spain’s A Contracorriente Films and Diagonal TV and Zephyr Films. A big-screen makeover of Penelope Fitzgerald’s quietly subversive 1978 novel, about a widow opening up a bookshop in a sleepy coastal town, “The Bookshop’s” triumph represents only the second time an English-language movie has won a best picture Goya. The first was Coixet’s “The Secret Life of Words” in 2006.

A coming-of-ager – and ode to diversity – hailed by Variety as a “delicate sleeper,” Carla Simon’s debut “Summer 1993” took first feature at the Goyas, as well breakthrough actress (Bruna Cursi) and supporting actor (David Verdaguer). It is one of the flagships of the newest generation of Catalán filmmakers, many of whom are women.

Women did not, however, exactly sweep the board at the 32nd Goya Awards. A flagship for the modern Basque cinema, Jon Garaño’ and Aitor Arregi’s “Giant” produced by Irusoin and Kowalski Films swept most plaudits. Set in 1836 in a backward rural Basque Country, “Giant,” about two brothers’ deep affective bonds surviving grinding poverty, romantic rivalry, war and wrenching modernization, swept original screenplay, breakthrough actor (Eneko Sagardoy), and eight technical awards.

Javier Gutiérrez’s scooped best actor for Manuel Martín Cuenca’s “The Motive” where he plays a talentless wannabe novelist, who manipulates the lives of his neighbors to inspire his prose.

Nathalie Poza took actress for her performance in dramedy “Can’t Say Goodbye,” beating out Emily Mortimer (“The Bookshop”) and Penelope Cruz (“Loving Pablo), just as Bill Nighy and Javier Bardem lost out in the best actor race. Beyond Bardem’s win for “Biutiful,” there is little tradition of the Goyas  awarding foreign or Hollywood-based actors.

It was, however, women and their campaign in Spain to swell their presence in its cinema, which proved the insistent trending topic of the 2018 kudos ceremony.With female attendees sporting bright red fans with #masmujeres slogans, multiple Spanish film industry attendees, J.A. Bayona among them, called for women to receive 50% of governmental film subsidies in Spain. They waved them, making the auditorium look as if it had been invaded by red butterflies, roaring on Spanish Academy vice-president Nora Navas as she attacked gender violence in one speech.

“I’m in favor of all kinds of quotas and anything which can contribute to change,” Cruz said on the red carpet. “If a man earns 20 and  a woman 10, the woman should denounce that, supported by the man,“ added Bardem.

Almodóvar muse Marisa Paredes (“The Flower of My Secret”) accepted an honorary Goya, bringing the Goya Awards audience to its feet.

In its battle for larger gender balance, Spain is a long way off, however. It was notable that the screenplay for a ceremony which served as a platform for the revindication of women’s rights was written by five men. Of the 2,270 people making the 154 features presented for 2018’s Goyas, 24% were women. Drilling down, women made up 16% of their directors and 26% of their producers, according to a study by CIMA, Spain’s Women’s Audiovisual Assn. Only four women have won best director awards in 32 Goya editions. Of the 25 highest-budgeted Spanish films last year, none were directed by a woman, said actress Pepa Charro.

2018’s highest-grossing Spanish movie, earning $21.3 million in Spain, and backed by Telecinco Cinema and Movistar +, Enrique Gato’s adventure romp “Tadeo Jones 2,” won best animation feature, as animation promises some of the biggest movie titles from Spain in upcoming years.

Julita Salmerón provided some of the best comedy of the night in a impromptu acceptance speech for son Gustavo Salmerón’s docu-feature winner, of which she is the star, “Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle,” which she dedicated to all mothers. The title already won best documentary at Karlovy Vary.

Oscar-nominated “A Fantastic Women” took best foreign Spanish-language film, accepted by its Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. “Rebellion, resistence and love,” said star Daniela Vega, in maybe the shortest acceptance speech of the night. Ruben Ostlund’s “The Square,” a Palme d’Or winning Oscar nominee, took best European film.

The longest applause of the night, however, went to Reyes Abades, the dean of Spanish VFX, who died this week, having won nine Goyas after learning his craft on such films as “Patton.”


And the winners are:


“The Bookshop,” (Isabel Coixet)


Isabel Coixet


Carla Simón, (“Summer 1993”)


Nathalie Poza, (“Can’t Say Goodbye”)


Javier Gutiérrez, (“The Motive”)


Adelfa Calvo, (“The Motive”)


David Verdaguer, (“Summer 1993”)


Aitor Arregi, Andoni de Carlos, Jon Garaño, José Mari Goenaga, (“Giant”)


Isabel Coixet, (“The Bookshop”)


Javier Agirre Erauso, (“Giant”)


Pascal Gaigne, (“Giant”)


Eneko Sagardoy, (“Giant”)


Bruna Cusí, (“Summer 1993”)


“Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas,” David Alonso, Enrique Gato


“A Fantastic Woman,” (Sebastián Lelio, Chile, U.S., Germany, Spain)


“The Square,” Ruben Östlund (Sweden)


“Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle,” Gustavo Salmerón


Marisa Paredes


“Mother,” (Rodrigo Sorogoyen)


“Woody & Woody,” (Jaume Carrió)


“The Inherited,” Laura Ferrés


Laurent Dufreche, Raúl López (“Giant”)


Ander Sistiaga, (“Giant”)


Saioa Lara, (“Giant”)


Mikel Serrano, (“Giant”)


Aitor Berenguer, Gabriel Gutiérrez, Nicolas de Poulpiquet, (“Verónica”)


Ainhoa Eskisabel, Olga Cruz y Gorka Aguirre, (“Giant”)


Jon Serrano y David Heras, (“Giant”)


“La llamada,” Leiva (“Holy Camp”)

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