Viggo Mortensen is the first announced recipient of San Sebastian’s prestigious Donostia Award for this year’s 68th edition. In addition to picking up the career recognition award, Mortensen will also present his directorial debut “Falling” for its European premiere at the festival.
A three-time Oscar nominee for his work in David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises,” Matt Ross’ “Captain Fantastic” and most recently Peter Farrelly’s best picture winner “Green Book,” Mortensen is best known for saving Middle Earth as Aragorn, ranger and abdicated heir to the throne of Isildur, King of Gondor, in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-winning “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
When not in front of the camera, Mortensen is an established painter, poet, photographer and musician who speaks seven languages. His “Lord of the Rings” payday also allowed him to start his own publishing label, Perceval Press, which specializes in art, critical writing and poetry. “Falling” is his fourth turn as a producer, having previously served in that role on David Oelhoffen’s “Far from Men,” Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja” and Ana Piterbarg’s “Everybody Has a Plan.”
Having closed Sundance and been selected as one of this year’s Cannes Festival official selections, “Falling” has been well reviewed by critics, including Variety’s Peter Debruge who said: “More deeply felt than your typical American debut, ‘Falling’ is unpretentious and perfectly accessible to mainstream audiences. Mortensen’s patience, his way with actors and his trust in our intelligence are not unlike late-career Eastwood, which isn’t a bad place to be so early in one’s directing career.”
Lead actor Lance Henriksen’s performance is being called a career best by many outlets. In the film, he plays no-nonsense father Willis, an incendiary aging man who still casts a heavy shadow over generations of his family. Suffering the onset of dementia, the patriarch heads to California into the home of his estranged son John (Mortensen), his partner Eric and their adopted daughter Monica. John’s homosexuality has been a point of contention between the two since the boy came out years before, and is just one of several issues the two, as well as John’s sister Sarah (Laura Linney), must reconcile.