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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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San Sebastian delivers its Conchas

Earlier we said: "If this one (Turtles Can Fly) doesn't take the big prize tomorrow, I for one, will be very much surprised".
CUT TO: Saturday Night. September, 25 -- well: It did!

Prizes. In the final sweepstakes "Turtles Can Fly", the odds-on favorite from Iran, did not disappoint and claimed the Concha De Oro (Golden Seashell) top prize for best film. Director Bahman Ghobadi dedicated his prize to the Kurdish people with a satisfied smile and an upheld fist. Other main prize winners ("Silver Seashells") turned out to be, relatively speaking, "dark horses.
Xu Jinglei was named Best Director for her Chinese version of "Letter From an Unknown Woman"; Best actor and Best Actress both went to the protagonists of Susan Bier's Danish drama "Brothers -- respectively, Ulrich Thomsen and Connie Nielsen; Best Screenplay award went to Guy Hibbert and Paul Greengrass, the writers of "Omagh" an Irish political drama, and Best camera work fell to to Marcel Zyskind of Winterbottom's "Nine Songs" -- (it seems they mistook murkiness for chiaro-oscuro).
The FIPRESCI jury gave their nod to my own personal favorite, "Bombon El
Perro".
A special Jury prize was awarded to "Sam Zimske Noci" (Winter Nights Alone) by Goran Paskajevic of Serbia-Montenegro, and a New Directors prize to Ms. Lucile Hadzihailovic, a France-based Bosnian emigrée, for her quietly moody "Innocence", a tale of an isolated forest Orphanage for pre-adolescent girls somewhere in Belgium -- one of the many films this year centering on children.

A preponderant majority of the roughly 200 titles screened dealt with the basic misery of the human condition around the world and the deep shit much of the world is obviously in at this point in time. The most disgusting film I forced myself to sit through was called "Frio Sol de Invierno" (Cold Sun of Winter) which I mention only as one to avoid like the plague as it contains key scenes such as fishing aborted foetuses out of plugged up toilet bowls. One heavy disguster that is, in a way worth seeing, was called "Sumas y Restos" from Columbia, which, on a violence, garbage mouth and unabated cruelty level, is right up there with Al Pacino's "Scarface", but has the redeeming cognitive aspect that it shows the workings of the Columbian drug cartel from within, and no punches pulled -- hijue puta!

Having earlier yawned my way through a press screening of the gala closer, "Hole in the Floor" I went off instead to a sidebar theater in the old town and staged my own private closeout with an Anthony Mann 70mm spectacular I'd never caught before, "El Cid", 1961, starring Charlton Heston as Cid and a very sloe eyed Sophia Loren as Doña Jimena. Despite the wide screen pageantry, incredible costumes, sets, scenery and authentic castles in Spain, it was pretty hoaky, inauthentic, and slow moving -- nevertheless, given that El Cid is the legendary national hero of Spain, that Heston was at the time the ultimate Hollywood iconic incarner of legends, (Moses, for example), and that this particular Mann very rarely finds its way to an actual cinema screen anymore, this was the absolutely right film I thought, with which to wind up a magic week in Spain...and it was.

Alex Deleon

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