Chilean Film ‘NO’ Wins Havana Film Fest

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — The winner of the first prize Coral Award for fiction at the 34th Havana Film Festival was the film titled “No”, by Chilean director Pablo Larrain. The movie deals with the plebiscite that finally removed Augusto Pinochet from power in 1990.

Larrain (Post Mortem, 2010), won the top award at the emblematic Cuban festival for an original historical reconstruction of the advertising campaign around the referendum that triggered the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1988.

The film, starring Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, recounts the decisive days of the original campaign from the perspective of advertising. “No” was chosen as the winner for “its intelligence in addressing a point in Chile’s past in a way that allows us to understand the present,” stressed the jury’s decision.

In the midst of the virulent political confrontation in the final days of the Pinochet dictatorship, the young son of exiles Rene Saavedra (Garcia Bernal) comes up with a fresh and innovative idea for a campaign to push through the “No” vote in the upcoming referendum. Although fictional characters were created as protagonists in the film, it also uses actual archival footage from that period.

With “No”, Larrain completes his trilogy on the Chilean dictatorship, which began with “Tony Manero”  and was followed by “Post Mortem”.

The second place Coral award in the Best Fiction Film category also went to Chile, “Violeta se fue a los cielos”, by Andres Wood. The feature film was awarded for being a “heartbreaking story of an artist who typifies Chile and all of Latin America,” according to the jury’s decision. The film chronicles the life and death of the singer Violeta Parra, one of the most celebrated voices of Latin American popular song.

The jury’s Special Prize went to Dias de pesca, by Argentina’s Carlos Sorin, “for the humanity and simplicity of the story.”

The third Coral award in the Best Fiction Film category was for the Brazilian movie “Fiebre del raton”, by Claudio Assis.

The Colombian film “La sirga”, by William Vega, walked away with Coral for the Best Debuting Feature Film, while the prize for Best Director went to Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco, for “Despues de Lucy”, which was also produced in Mexico. For Best Screenplay, the honor went to the Cuban “La pelicula de Ana,” by Eduardo del Llano and director Daniel Diaz Torres.

The film looks critically at real life on the island, focusing on the phenomena of prostitution and tourism. Cuban actress Laura de la Uz won a Coral for Best Female Actress for her role in the film, which was very popular among the local public.

Among other awards, the Coral for the Best Male Actor went to Andres Crespo for his role in Pescador, a Colombian-Ecuadorian coproduction.

Following 11 days of film showings, this traditional Cuban event closed Friday night with a gala at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana. However the winning films are being shown at Havana theaters on both Saturday and Sunday.

This year’s edition featured a special musical framework in which performances were given by Argentinean rocker Fito Paez and the Cuban salsa group Los Van Van, as well as other artists and entertainers.

This year’s 34th Havana Film Festival presented nearly 570 films from 46 countries.

See the complete list of major and colateral awards issued at the Havana Film Festival.