HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 16 — During 11 days of retracing their steps through the streets of Havana in search of the best selections — in the drizzle, cold or sun — Cuban movie buffs enjoyed a worldwide panorama on celluloid.
We found ourselves in solidarity with an unemployed Brazilian father of a desperate family (perhaps that solidarity was stronger than ever given the concreteness of the issue these days), we learned about the curative plants of Mexico, heard poems by Keats and listened to the seductive jazz of a lively Spaniard cartoon.
Our bodies moved to the rhythm of capoeira and we learned its history. We traveled through nostalgic times to the ‘90s, and palpably identified with the situation of women in Egypt.
The journey was long and interesting throughout this 32nd edition of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, and this past Sunday, December 12, the awards were officially granted.
La vida útil, by the Uruguayan Federico Veiroj, won the Coral for the best sound track, as well as the first place award for fiction. Other two Uruguayans passed through the festival gracefully: Clever by Federico Borgia and Guillermo Madeiro, who together won the Coral for the best unpublished script; and Gustavo Hernandez’s La casa muda, as a debuting work.
Chile was the country that accumulated the most laurels. The movie Post Mortem by director Pablo Larrain, in addition to receiving the Second Coral, was awarded for the best script (Larrain and Mateo Iiribarren), best female performance (Antonia Zegers) and best male performance (Alfredo Castro). That Andean nation also walked away with the Second Coral Award for documentaries, which was earned by El edificio de los Chilenos, by Macarena Aguilo.
Mexico, for its part, received the Third Coral Award in fiction feature films with Maria Novaro’s Las buenas hierbas, which was also recognized for best original music. Meanwhile, recognition for photography went to Chicogrande, by Damian Garcia, and the First Coral for a premiering work was picked up by Alamar, Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio director.
Accustomed to the presence of Argentina in these festivals, we were not surprised that it received the Editing Coral for Por tu culpa, by Eliane Katz; the second place award in Animation for Marcela, by Gaston Siriczman; and a special award from the jury for the feature film La mirada invisible, by Diego Lerman. The top prize in the documentaries competition went to Pecados de mi padre, by Nicolas Entel.
The Cuban movie Jose Marti: el Ojo del Canario, by Fernando Perez, won the sections for best directing and best artistic direction, as well as best cinema poster. It also won the majority of the secondary awards: the Roque Dalton award, bestowed by the radio station Radio Havana Cuba; El Megano, presented by the National Federation of Cine Clubs of Cuba; UNICEF 2010, conferred by the United Nations Children’s Fund; and the Premio Caminos, which is given by the Martin Luther King Center.
Adding to the recognition of those institutions was the UNEAC Award, from the National Association of Cuban Writers and Artists, and the National Award of the Cuban Association of the Film Press.
Fernando Perez won a Coral 23 years ago with Clandestinos, his debut. In 1990 he won a first place Coral for Hello Hemingway, and in 1994 he received the special award from the jury for Madagascar. Four years later he repeated that success with the first place Coral for La vida es silbar and that of best directing. In 2003, with his documentary Suite Havana, he won the main laurel in that section. All told, this has transformed him into one of the most award-winning directors at these December festivals.
With the delivery of the awards, the festival concluded. As always, the public was left with the sensation of having lived other lives, of having known other people and other idiosyncrasies in a short period of time. That is the magic of the cinema: to transfer the spectator to other places, other worlds (real or not), and to leaves us with the desire to return.
See the complete list of award winners.