The Kings of the world, the second feature film by Colombian Laura Mora, has been crowned with the Golden Shell at the 70th edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival. From the very day of its screening, this road movies about the search for the lost paradise, that promised land that is stubbornly pursued by a group of boys from the streets of Medellin, was among the favorites of the official section of the contest. It is a film of contagious vitality, set against the political backdrop of those displaced by the armed conflict that Colombia has experienced for decades. Full of beautiful moments, such as a jungle road crossed at full speed by some kids on bicycles tied to a truck by a rope or the dance of the five with some old prostitutes, The Kings of the world portrays the endogenous violence of Colombia from the perspective of a director who, in her first film, kill jesus (2017), delved into the tear for the murder at the hands of a hit man of his own father.
The five boys in the film, natural actors recruited from the fringes, take over the screen with their beautiful momentum. Some homeless people hooked on glue and pills who want to find a new opportunity on the piece of land belonging to the grandparents of one of them, a lost place that the boy has managed to reclaim from the State. Shot in Bajo Cauca Antioquia by a team mostly of women, The Kings of the world it is dazzling in its journey to the origins but also in its way of embracing its characters and avoiding gratuitous blood. From his inevitable pessimism, the brotherhood of a group of friends prevails willing to recover lost dignity in their search for a new El Dorado.
The special prize of the jury, the second in importance and also incontestable, went to Runner, American debut film Marian Mathias. Concise in its 76 minutes, with hardly any dialogue, the film embarks the viewer on a landscape of grays and browns in which a child who has just turned 18 carries the leaden legacy of a bankrupt and sick father. The plasticity of the film, its way of evoking through fixed shots a painful and fractured interior landscape, is remarkable.
Another debut, the Japanese Kyakka (A Hundred Flowers), by Genki Kawamura, won the Silver Shell for best direction for a mother-child story about memory loss that, through long sequence shots, confronts a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s with a son trapped in a childhood trauma . The award ex aequo for the best performance it went to two very young performers stuck in the skin of two separate kids forced into an abrupt clash of maturity. The Spanish newcomer Carla Quílez has surprised with her furious work in the motherly, Pilar Palomero’s film about teenage motherhood. Quílez exudes truth in her portrayal of a girl, as stubborn as she is wounded, confronted with her problematic bond with her own mother through the pain of early motherhood. Paul Kircher, son of actress Irene Jacob and with more experience behind him, takes over the screen with force in le lyceen, in which the French Christophe Honoré recreates the traumatic trance of the premature loss of his father.
The award to the girl Renata Lerman for her work in Argentina Alternate enters into the anecdotal, such as highlighting the photography of a film as minor as Pornomelancholy. The conventional Chinese drama Kong Xhiu (A Woman) He scored the best screenplay. They were the three worst decisions of the jury chaired by Argentine producer Matías Mosteirín and made up of French casting director and filmmaker Antoinette Boulat, Danish director and screenwriter Tea Lindeburg, Lesotho filmmaker and visual artist Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, director and screenwriter Icelander Hlynur Pálmason and the Spanish journalist and writer Rosa Montero. The American actress Glenn Close, president of the jury in the beginning, fell out of the group days before the festival began due to a serious family matter. It was a jug of cold water for a sunny festival that opened and closed with two rainy days.
Palmarés and other festival awards
Gold Shell: The Kings of the world, by Laura Moore.
Special Jury Prize: Runner, by Marian Mathias.
Silver Shell for Best Direction: Genki Kawamura, for Kyakka (A Hundred Flowers).
Silver Shell for Best Leading Performance: ex aequo for Carla Quilez (The Maternal) and Paul Kircher (Le lyceen).
Silver Shell for Best Supporting Performance: Renata Lerman, for The substitute.
Best screenplay: Dong Yun Zhou and Wang Chao, for Kong Xhiu (A Woman).
Best Photography: Manuel Abramovich, for Pornomelancholy.
New Directors: Fifi, by Jeanne Aslan and Paul Saintillan.
Latin horizons: I have electric dreams by Valentina Mauriel.
Zabaltegi – Tabakalera: godland, by Hlynur Palmason.
Audience Award: Argentina, 1985, by Santiago Miter.
Youth Award: To the books and to the women I sing, by Maria Elorza.
Fipresci Award: Suro, by Mikel Gurrea.
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