48th Gijon Film Festival Official Selection: 17 unavoidable dates
The new talents of Spanish cinema make their way in Gijón. The Official Selection includes three feature films in competition and the premiere of No controles, the last feature by Borja Cobeaga, which will close the festival. For the first time in fifteen years, three of the sixteen films in competition are Spanish: Todos vós sodes capitáns, Todas las canciones hablan de mí and La mitad de Óscar. And together with the Spanish representatives the latest productions of relevancy coming from all around the world. Movies like Alamar or Año Bisiesto show the potential of Mexican cinema in a selection in which Rumania takes place with Aurora and Tuesdaty After Christmas. United States is represented by the polemic I'm Still Here, along with two more titles Meek's Cutoff and Blue Valentine. The french participation has a big name Mammuth. Other titles show the new sap of European cinema, like The Robber, How I Ended This Summer and Tilva Ros. To complete the selection Animal Kingdom and Los Labios, titles with which the contest travels to Australia and Argentina.
Borja Cobeaga (San Sebastián, 1977) comes back to Gijón nine years after having won the Youth Jury prize with his short film La primera vez. He does so to close the 48th edition with the première of his latest feature No controles, a romantic comedy in which the director is back in the billboard after the good results obtained with his former film, Pagafantas, which appears among the twelve most seen Spanish films in 2009 and with a box office takings of nearly two millions euros. Produced by Telespán 2000, No Controlesis starred by Unax Ugalde and Miguel Ángel Muñoz.
After signing scripts of films like Vete de mí and El baile de la Victoria, Jonás Trueba (Madrid, 1981) makes his debut in directing with Todas las canciones hablan de mí, produced by Gerardo Herrero and starred in by Oriol Vila and Bárbara Lennie. La mitad de Oscar, whose world première has just taken place in the even more essential and selective Toronto Film Festival, is the coming back to fiction of Manuel Martín Cuenca(El Ejido, 1964). With his documentaries and feature films, the director of La flaqueza del bolchevique and Malas temporadas adds up to dozens of prizes in international festivals. Oliver Laxe (París, 1982) will present his opera prima Todos vós sodes capitáns in which he received Fipresci prize in Cannes Quinzaine des Réalisaterus. The director took part in Llendes in 44th edition with his short Grrr!Nº 7 ...y las chimeneas decidieron escapar, co-directed by Enrique Aguilar.
After his polemic presence in Venice, Casey Affleck arrives in Gijón to inaugurate the contest and compete with I'm Still Here, a fake documentary about Joaquin Phoenix descent to hell after the announcement of his retirement from cinema to devote his time to hip-hop. In this film, the winner of a Golden Globe and twice nominated to the Academy Awards, faces the most complicated role in his professional career, performing for 24 hours for several months. Phoenix appears drunk, stoned, throwing up and humiliated.
The director Cristi Puiu (Bucarest, 1967) is considered by critics as one of the essential names of the new Rumanian Cinema and is always present in the most prestigious festivals, out of which he has come out as a winner, like in Cannes, Berlin or Buenos Aires. He competes in Gijón for the first time with Aurora, an acid portrait of todays Rumania through the disintegration of the main character's family life. Also from Rumania Tuesday alfer Christmas, an intimate portrait of a couple in crisis signed by Radu Muntean.
Pedro González Rubio (Bruselas, 1976) brings to Gijón Alamar, a subtle film awarded in Rotterdam and in Bafici. Shot in the coral reef of Banco Chinchorro (Mexico). In a lyric way it tells the emotional bond that is created between a man and his little son once away from his mother, during a holiday reunion in the fathers' home. They are both accompanied, as one more character, by the wild peaceful nature of the Mexican natural park. On the other side of this paradise we find Año Bisiesto, by Michael Rowe, an erotic drama shot in seventeen days, which won the last Golden Camera in Cannes as the best opera prima. With an explicit sexual content, the film tells the story of a young woman who explores her sexuality to reach sadomasochism.
In the Official Selection of this 48th edition three titles come to be the renewal of classic genres, for instance, western with Meek's Cutoff, by the North American Kelly Reichardt, who comes back to Gijón's contest with a heterodox, nearly abstract portrait of the first Western settlers; a realistic look on a moment of American history which has usually been distorted in the big screen. Another interesting proposal is the one done by the Australian David Michôd in Animal Kingdom: a film about organised crime with lots of emotional burden for a story in which crime becomes the law in a family from Melbourne, and with which the director obtained the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance. And from Australia to Germany. Taking after the so called Berlin School, but going slightly further character cinema, we find The Robber, by Benjamin Heisenberg, who achieves to re-change robbery genre with an intense film that transforms the classical concept of bank robbers.
Everybody's eyes should focus on the heart-breaking Blue Valentine, with which the North American Derek Cianfrance makes his debut in directing, and in which he screens the love hate story of a couple throughout time. In its premiere critics were moved by the subtle performances of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams
Comedy arrives with the French Mammuth, a role written for Gérard Depardieu by Benoît Delepine and Gustave Kerven. With great doses of black humour, the film invites us to follow a retired Depardieu who, in order to draw his pension, he must get all his temporary jobs' pay slips.
Between documentary and fiction, harmoniously linked scene by scene, we find Los labios, by Santiago Loza and Iván Fund, which tell us not only in a sensitive way but also in a cruel one, the story of three social workers in a very poor landscape of inner Argentina, in which forgotten people survive. His three main actresses left Cannes with the shared prize for Best Actress of Un Certain Regard.
The two main actors of How I ended this summer, by Alexej Popogrebsky, also shared the glory in Berlin. The only Russian representative of the Official Selection is set in the desolate Artic tundra, where the two inhabitants of a weather station turn their life together into a claustrophobic hell under a cloak of silence and lies.
Perhaps, the film in the contest which has more in common with young people may be Tilva Ros, by the Serbian Nikola Lezaic, who focuses on two friend skaters from a mining area in decline at the beginning of their pre university summer. Awarded in Sarajevo, the film takes us closer to city bands of the Balkan country, closer to the lack of vital perspectives and the rivalry among buddies.