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(Votes count 158)

(Rating average 2,94)

  • The competition includes the latest feature films by Andrei Konchalovsky and Marco Bellocchio, and will feature again Brillante Mendoza and Jan Hrebejk
  • Danis Tanovic, Nate Parker and Sacha Wolff arrive at the Gijón competition backed by the prizes they won at the international festivals circuit
  • The Festival will show two Spanish productions: Migas de pan, by Manane Rodríguez, and Sicixia, by Ignacio Vilar
  • Mijke de Jong's Layla M radical Islamist portrait inaugurates the Gijón contest
  • The closure of the FICX will host the world premiere of Spain's Muna, by Santiago Zannou
  • Mercedes Sampietro, Mujer de Cine Prize of the 54th edition of FICX

The Sección Oficial has made the Gijón International Film Festival a point of reference for those who like the most suggestive, organic and sharp cinema. Films without a twist which move, amuse or aware. The competition of the 54th edition gathers 15 titles, many of them endorsed by the prizes obtained in the most prestigious festivals of the international circuit, such asCannes,Berlin,Venice or Sundance, in addition to the critic and public. We meet some well-known names like Andrei Konchalovsky, Marco Bellocchio and Brillante Mendoza. The competition will also feature independent film reference directors such as Danis Tanovic, Manane Rodriguez, Sacha Wolff and Kenneth Lonergan.

The competition gathers productions of relevance from every corner of the planet. Migas de pan, by Manane Rodríguez, and Sicixia, by Ignacio Vilar will represent the national production as well with two titles: The European talents will show in Gijón films like Mercenaire, The Teacher, Hotel Europaor Heaven Will Wait. The poster surpasses the European borders with works of countries such asMexico (Almacenados),Iran (Inversion) orPhilippines (Ma'Rosa). TheUnited States will participate with The Birth of a Nationand Manchester by the Sea.

Santiago Zannou will be in charge of the 54th closing ceremony (Madrid, 1977) and its last feature film, Muna, will be shown in it.Gijon will host the world premiere of this film which Zannou shot inEthiopia after collecting a Goya, recording the Spanish national team and a successful advertisement of the Christmas Lottery. The film gives visibility, through different stories, to the African women. They all tell the day-to-day of these daily heroines who -in silence and communion- work hard to cope with their lives and support those around them.

Muna is filmed as a story: far from interviews with fix cameras and letting the reality speak by itself. An account of minimal –but essential- stories, with a letter as unifying element of all of them and which together make up the idiosyncrasy of the women of Ethiopia. A story about women who challenge the difficulties of the world in which they have had to live with perseverance, effort, dignity, sensitivity and much firmness.

The competition

Layla M, by Mijke de Jong (Holland,Belgium,Germany,Jordan). The official competition of the 54th edition will open Jong's (Rotterdam, 1959) new film. The new heroine of the director of Bluebird is a young Moroccan who lives with her parents inHolland and is seduced by the darkest side of Islam. Starring the debut of Nora El Koussour, the film uses the nicab as a provocation to speak not only of radical Islam, but also of the search for a decent belief system.

Paradise,by Andrei Konchalovsky (Russia,Germany). The legendary Konchalovsky (Moscow, 1937) comes to the competition of Gijón with this reflection on the eternal evil with which he earned the Silver Lion for Best Director inVenice. It's not another movie about cross stories or another title about World War II. The director immerses himself in the Holocaust with discomfort and nihilism, he said at the Mostra, to see how the cinema has frivolized with Nazi extermination. Konchalovsky returns to give a lesson of sobriety with this production that representsRussia in the race for the Best Foreign Film award at the Oscars.

Fai bei sogni, by Marco Bellocchio(Italy). The competition of the Sección Oficial also counts with the awarded Bellocchio (Piacenta, 1939). For its latest feature film, the director of Blood of My Blood has set his sights on the homonymous bestseller of the journalist Massimo Gramellini, an autobiographical story of the search for denied truth, family strength, memory and loss. With Bérénice Bajo (The Artist) and Emmanuelle Devos (Read my lips).

Ma'Rosa, by Brillante Mendoza (Philippines). A new incursion ofMendoza (San Fernando, 1960) in the contest of the Sección Oficial. This director is one of the best portraitists of the Southeast Asian film landscape and, after the trap set in Taklub, the FICX awarded director in the 52nd edition does not skimp on this exercise of miserableness in the alleyways ofManila. The protagonist, Jaclyn Jose, won the award for Best Actress in Cannes for her role as a tender and mother of four children who sells drugs with her husband, whom Julio Diaz gives life (we saw him in Taklub). Second nominee for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in the competition of the 54.

Hotel Europa, by Danis Tanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Tanovic's new film (Zenica, 1969) took the Silver Bear and the FIPRESCI Award at the last Berlinale. Inspired by the homonymous play by the controversial Bernard-Henri Lévy it is centered on the essay of a speech on the centenary of the murder of the archduke Frank Ferdinand. Tanovic embraces the spirit of Lévy's work, but expands his ideas. In addition to competing in Gijón, the director faces with this film his fourth attempt to win the Oscar for best non-English film.

Mercenaire, by Sacha Wolff (France). There are mercenaries who weigh between 110 and 150 kilos and fit a 48 size of shoe. They are not soldiers but they make war with an oval ball. These are the mercenaries portrayed by Wolff (Strasbourg, 1981): rugby players which the French professional league seeks in as far away latitudes as Wallis and Futuna, for example. Impressive and surprising debut work which won the Label Europa Cineas award in Cannes Directors' Fortnight.

The Birth of a Nation, by Nate Parker (United States). In 1831, a literate slave named Nat Turner becomes a preacher and his owner takes him through plantations in the middle South to lecture other black captives. Parker (Norfolk, 1979) focuses on this historical fact to tell the most important (and least known) rebellion of theUnited States, which won two awards at the last Sundance (the public and the Grand Prix Of the Jury). Parker (immersed in a media gale by an old accusation of rape) gives life to this African-American Spartacus, in a cast with the participation of Penelope Ann Miller and Armie Hammer.

The Teacher, by Jan Hrebejk (Slovakia andCzechRepublic). Hrebejk (Prague, 1967) already competed in the official FICX section in 1994 with Sakalí Léta and won the jury's special award. Twenty-two years later she returns to the competition with a story about the eternal moral dilemmas that exist in any political regime, in this case, the dilemma appears in aCzechoslovakia primary school in the latecommunist period, in which a teacher manipulates her students to satisfy all kinds of appetites. The protagonist, Zuzana Mauréry, triumphed inKarlovy Vary with this role of a perfect manipulator.

Manchester by the sea, by Kenneth Lonergan(United States). The third feature film as a director of the screenwriter of Gangs of New York and You Can Count on Me (for both works was nominated for the Oscars) is one of the best positioned for the Gotham, to be known at the end of the 54th edition of FICX. Lonergan (New York City, 1962) signs this story of pain and hope through a working class family based inMassachusetts. With Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler.

Migas de pan, by Manane Rodríguez (Spain,Uruguay). The last film of the director of Los pasos perdidos stops in the dams of the dictatorship of Bordaberry. Rodríguez (Uruguay, 1954) focuses on the story in Liliana, to which the actresses Cecilia Roth and Justina Bustos give life in two different stages of her maturity. A great occasion to return to see on the big screen Patxi Bisquert, the unforgettable Tasio. This co-production is also in the race for the Oscar for the best non-English-speaking film: it representsUruguay.

Sicixia, by Ignacio Vilar (Spain). The periphery is where the world becomes different, not where it ends. Sicixia portrays the Costa da Morte between fiction and reality. Vilar (Petin de Valdeorras, 1951) performs a visual and sonorous tour through this Galician region through the love story of a sound engineer and a young girl from the area who guides him in his search for records. Its female protagonist, Marta Lado, took the best actress award in the Toulouse Cinespaña.

Almacenados, by Jack Zagha (Mexico).The third feature film of Zagha (Mexico D.F., 1979) is a minimalist dramatic comedy about useless works that do not make sense. Based on a play by the Spanish David Desola Mediavilla, both protagonists (the veteran José Carlos Ruiz) spend 5 days in a huge empty warehouse of a masts selling company. A very simple - but very deep - story,.

Glory, by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov (Bulgaria,Greece). After his lucky (and rewarded) debut with La Lección, this tandem presents in Gijón the second film of what will be their first film trilogy. Grozeva (Sofia, 1976) and Valchanov (Plovdiv, 1982) confront in Glory authorities and corrupt officials with the honesty of a railway worker who finds one million Levs and decides to do the right thing.

Heaven Will Wait, by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar (France). The capture of French citizens by jihadism is approached by this director through the phenomenon of radicalization of adolescents and the reverse movement of de-radicalization. The problem is dealt with dramatism and also with pedagogy. For its new film, the director counted on Noémie Merlant and Sandrine Bonnaire, actresses who won two prizes Cesar by previous works.

Inversion, by Behmam Behzadi (Iran). A day of extreme pollution inTehran serves Behzadi (Borujen, 1972) to spin a neorealist story that brings us closer to the two protagonists, one of them suffering from serious respiratory problems. The pollution will be the trigger for the men of the family to try to change the lives of both women.

You can download pictures, trailers and audio of the Seccion Oficial in the following link:

The Competition of Short Films

La Sección Oficial contará en la 54 con 17 cortometrajes a competición, una equilibrada selección de géneros. En este recorrido por el panorama fílmico internacional, destaca Los pasos del agua, de César Augusto Acevedo, ganador el año pasado de cuatro premios en Cannes por el largo La tierra y la sombra. La competición acoge cinco realizadores españoles. El productor Álvaro Longoria (Che, Habitación en Roma) firma Esperanza, sobre un viaje de un barco de Greenpeace al Ártico. Además de clausurar la 54 con su último largo, Santiago Zannou concursa en Gijón con Vernon Walks. El drama de los desahucios aparece sin ambages en Ainhoa, de Iván Sáinz-Pardo. Los cortos de Álex Montoya llevan más de 170 premios en festivales nacionales e internacionales como Sundance, y ahora llega al FICX con Vampiro. La participación española se completa con El hombre de agua dulce, de Álvaro Ron.

The Seccion Oficial will count on the 54th edition with 17 short films competing and a balanced selection of genres. In this tour of the international film scene, we highlight Los pasosdel agua, by César Augusto Acevedo, last year winner of four awards inCannes for the feature film La tierra y la sombra. The competition hosts five Spanish filmmakers. Producer Álvaro Longoria (Che, Habitación en Roma) signs Esperanza, about a trip of a Greenpeace's ship to theArctic. In addition to closing the 54th edition with his last feature film, Santiago Zannou competes in Gijón with Vernon Walks. The drama of the evictions appears unambiguously in Ainhoa, by Ivan Sáinz-Pardo. Alex Montoya's short films have more than 170 awards at national and international festivals such as Sundance, and now he comes to the FICX with Vampiro. The Spanish participation is completed with El hombre de agua dulce, by Álvaro Ron.

In the European itinerary of the section appears the award-winning Balcony (17 awards, among them a Crystal Bear inBerlin), by the British Toby Fell Holden. Penalty, by the Italian Aldo Iuliano, arrives inGijon after receiving three prizes inRome. His compatriot Carlo Sironi is presenting his fourth short,Valparaiso. In addition, La Convention de Genève, by Benoit Martin, and Tunisie 2045, by Ted Hardy-Carnac, arrive fromFrance. Also in the selection of the FICX the Dutch Sprokkelhout, by Lucas Camps and the Swiss Abseits, by Cosima Frei.

Canadians Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still) and François Jaros(Oh What a Wonderful Feeling) complete the competition of short films with their latest works. The Argentinian Mariano Biasin presents El inicio de Fabrizio. Finally, the Lebanese Qualid Mouaness competes with The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf and The Boy.

You can download pictures, trailers and audio of the short films of the Seccion Oficial in the following link:

Mercedes Sampietro, Women's Film Award

The actress Mercedes Sampietro (Barcelona, 1947) will be recognized during the 54th edition of the Gijón International Film Festival with the Women's Film Award 2016. Since 2012, the FICX along with Mujeres de Cine awards this prize that highlights filmmakers who are a generational referent, as in the case of Sampietro, outstanding figure of the interpretation in our country. The protagonist of film as Lugares comunes o Extramuros, will come toGijon to collect the prize next November 26th at the closure ceremony of the festival to be held at the Jovellanos Theater.

This recognition, which already reaches its sixth edition, is one of the fundamental actions of Mujeres de Cine, an initiative that was born in 2010 with the aim of promoting and making visible the work of women in the cinematographic industry of our country. The name of Mercedes Sampietro joins those of the filmmakers and screenwriters Josefina Molina and Cecilia Bartolomé, costume designer Ivonne Blake, editor Carmen Frías and representative Katrina Bayonas to complete the history of this outstanding award.

The actress began in the interpretation in small companies of Catalan theater. In 1970 she made her acting debut as a professional actress, although until seven years later she did not shoot her first film, with A un dios desconocido, by Jaime Chávarri. Her professional accolade was in 1980 with Gary Cooper, que estás en los cielos, by Pilar Miró, director with whom she would work with up to five times.

Sampietro was president of the Spanish Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficasfrom November 2003 to December 2006. In 2009 she debuts as a director and screenwriter with the short film Turismo. Mercedes Sampietro won a Goya in 2003 for Lugares comunes, and has collected prizes inMoscow,San Sebastian, Sitges, Toulouse Cinespaña andMalaga, among other festivals.

It is not the first award that Mercedes Sampietro will collect in Gijón. The Catalan actress earned the Premio Nacho Martínez in 2008.

Palabras clave Festival de Cine, 2016