Declaration of War, the French candidate for the Oscars, and El Estudiante, a low budget political satire and drama, won ex aequo the 49 edition of the Gijón Film festival, which ended this weekend in the Spanish city of Asturias.
The films also won other Gijon prizes: El Estudiante won for Best Script and the award given by the Youth Jury. The film is directed and written by newcomer Santiago Mitre. Declaration of War also won the prize for Best Actress, for director Valérie Donzelli, and Best Actor, for Jéremie Elkaïm.
El Estudiante, set in contemporary Buenos Aires, follows the political rise of an ambitious student and is a psychological drama with thriller elements. It was introduced in Toronto. Declaration of War, already a great box-office success in France, portrays the struggles of a young couple whose son has been diagnosed with cancer. This title opened Cannes Critics Week.
Other winners of this edition were best director for Ruben Ostlund for Play, a special jury prize for Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter; and a jury mention to Spanish film Iceberg by Gabriel Velazquez.
More than 74,000 spectators gave the event its best attendance so far and seemed to guarantee the festival’s future despite political changes and spending cuts in the region.
El Estudiante has no distribution yet in Spain but is likely to close a deal soon. Also drawing buzz was French drama Tomboy, about a girl who pretends to be a boy, which won the Rellumes section and was lauded by critics and the public.