Films From Chile, Argentina and Cuba Among The Winners of FIDOCS 2013

The week went by and FIDOCS happened, and while there's still some movies that I plan to review, the festival is over and it was a cinema party, as always. 

With more than 90 films playing for six days, the organizers always had in mind that people should have the opportunity to see every movie they wanted to see. And so, this past Saturday evening, the winners of all the competitions were awarded. The most important winner is the one of the Chilean Competition; the prize was given to El otro día (The Other Day), directed by famed Chilean documentary director Ignacio Agüero (El diario de Agustín, Cien niños esperando un tren).

Last year I had the chance to see the winning film, thanks to a friend, and it made my top 20 of the year. Here is what I had to say about it at the time:

[It is] a complicated film that talks about many things that start to happen in a man's life, specially when you start to look back on the history of your parents, your life, coincidences and your own family. The way these themes are explored are through a gimmick: every person that knocked on his door would be received and then asked if Ignacio, the director, could visit them at their own house. So there we see a bunch of different individuals as the director travels to many places of Santiago, visiting his postman, a homeless guy, a woman who sweeps the streets, and an art director that would like to work for the production company of Ignacio Agüero. This last segment, the one with the female art director, is easily the best one, as it has a cinematic and truth quality about the access to education and the filmmaking business in Chile. I would be really sad if this movie never gets out of the festival circuit.

Gladly, I was wrong. The film will have a release on more than 10 screens coming next week through the initiative MiraDocs that releases documentaries to the general public, an opportunity that many other films didn't have in past years. That is just one of many other films that are planned to be released this year, and among them are other winners of present or earlier editions of FIDOCS.

The Latinamerican Competition prize was given to Argentinian film La multitud (The Multitude) directed by Martín M. Oesterheld, while the audience award in the same competition was given to the Cuban documentary Mejunje by Spanish filmmaker Juan Manuel Gamazo, which also had some Chilean collaboration in its production. I also had the chance to see this movie at the festival, I thought it was a good portrait of a small place in Cuba, a cultural center called Mejunje, that housed musical and artistic interpretations for the people of the small town in which it was located. At times it wanted to be too broad on the situation of Cuba, while it was better when it was centered around the musings of the artists and the people who assisted in the events.

The rest of the awards are as follows:

· Honourable Mention of the Jury, Chilean Competition: ¿Qué historia es esta y cuál es su final? (What story is this and how does it end?) directed by José Luis Torres Leiva.

For the simplicity in which it registers a veteran documentary filmmaker talking about his ouvre and his working method in general

· Special Jury Prize, Chilean Competition: Las cruces de Quillagua (The Crosses of Quillagua) directed by Jorge Marzuca.

For the sobriety and formal beauty in which it refers to an ecological disaster as a launching pad for the story of a community's destruction.

· Audience Prize, Chilean Competition: La última estación (The Last Station) directed by Cristián Soto and Catalina Vergara.

· Best Musical Composition of the Chilean Competition: Pena de muerte (Death Penalty) score by Micky Landau, directed by Tevo Díaz.

Let's look forward to an even better FIDOCS 2014!

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  • dustinchang

    I watched and loved José Luis Torres Leiva's El cielo, la tierra y la lluvia some years ago at a film festival. It's a pity that we don't get to see much South American films here in general. I'm sure there are wealth of great films we will never get to watch. Thanks for this report. I'll definitely be on the lookout for these titles and directors.

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