The Spanish 'O que arde', winner of the Mar del Plata Film Festival | Culture

The Galician feature film Or that burns, from the director Oliver Laxe, dazzled at the start of the International Competition of Mar del Plata Film Festival and it was not overthrown in the following days. The jury awarded him this Sunday the jackpot, the Golden Astor for the best film, "for the energy with which it takes an ecological disaster of universal dimensions, for the exceptional delicacy and beauty of each shot." The screenplay for the film was also awarded, written four-handedly between Laxe and Argentine Santiago Fillol.

"The fact of having an Argentine filmmaker and a Spanish filmmaker is very significant of how close the relations between the cinema of the two countries are," said the cultural advisor of the Spanish embassy in Buenos Aires, Luis Marina Bravo, when collecting awards on behalf of the absent cinematographic team.

It is the second year in a row that a Spanish film keeps the top prize of this Latin American festival, after Between two waters, by Iñaki Lacuesta, also won the Golden Astor in 2018.

Or that burns he follows a man who returns to his mother's house in a village in Lugo after being in jail for causing a fire. His new life oscillates between the unconditional love of his mother and his dog, the rejection of other inhabitants and the ignorance of newcomers.

The Portuguese Pedro Costa won the award for best director for Vitalina Varela, a grim and poetic film focused on the farewell of a woman to her newly deceased husband. Ventura, who gives life to a priest abandoned by his parishioners in the film, won the Silver Astor for best actor, while Argentina's Liliana Juarez kept the statuette for the best actress for her role as a permanent floor cleaning employee by Ezequiel Radusky.

In the Latin American Competition the first place was shared between the Brazilian To February, by Maya Da-Rin and the Chilean I never went up to the Provinceby Ignacio Agüero. When collecting the prize, Agüero attacked against the president of his country, Sebastián Piñera, and criticized the police and military repression of the Popular protests shaking Chile a month ago.

Agüero's message, which denounced that the Government applies strategies "as in the worst times of the dictatorship", was the hardest of the speeches delivered on the stage with references to Latin American political crises. "Strength and gratitude to the brothers and sisters of Chile, we repudiate the coup in Bolivia," said director Agustina Comedi in a message read in her name after winning the best Argentine short film award for Playback.

Also the artistic director of the festival, Cecilia Barrionuevo, thanked the presence of directors, screenwriters, producers, actors and actresses from neighboring countries who have witnessed what happens throughout the ten days of the festival.

Angelica, Delfina Castagnino, won the award for the best film of the Argentine Competition. Castagnino's second feature film shows a woman in crisis who, after her mother's death, has to empty her childhood home to demolish her. Without knowing how to face it, he takes refuge there in secret and begins to get lost.

The closing gala of the 34th edition of the festival was just over an hour long. It was held in an auditorium with more empty seats than other years and the absence of national, state and film institute authorities on stage.


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