Georgian director DitoTsintsadze's German film Gun-Shy wasthe controversial top winner on Saturday night of the Donostia-San SebastianInternational Film Festival's Golden Shell prize, while local favourite
As has become customary in San Sebastian, the prizescountered local expectations and some were met with derision. "Traditionally,taking home the Shell means taking home the jeers," wrote one local critic.Another national headline tagged the Golden Shell for Gun-Shy (Schussangst)"scandalous."
One jury member, presumably in reference to IciarBollain's acclaimed domestic abuse drama TakeMy Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos),said festival rules limiting competition films to a maximum of two prizes hadrestricted the jury's selection.
Impressively, Bong Joon-ho was recognized as boththe best new director and the best director by two separate juries for hisSouth Korean box office hit Memories Of Murder(Sa-Lin-Eui Chu-Eok). He called the dual nods a recognition of "all newKorean cinema." The director also won the FIPRESCI prize.
Per Fly, Kim Leona, Mogens Rukov and Dorte Hogh wonthe Silver Shell for best script for Inheritance(Arven), director Fly's intentionally cold portrait of upper class Danishsociety. Eduardo Serra took home an applauded best photography nod for PeterWebber's well-received Girl With A PearlEarring, which should help Pathe International close on one of the offersfor Spanish distribution it was fielding in San Sebastian.
Spanish actors Tosar and Marull received the warmestapplause of the night for their matching Silver Shell prizes, which bothdedicated to director Bollain. The film, co-scripted by Bollain and Alicia Luna,also received a nod from the Film Writers' Circle (CEC) and was eliciting buyerinterest for international sales handler Sogepaq.
The Competition jury gave a special prize to TomMcCarthy's The Station Agent "forbeing a film which talks about loneliness in a simple, funny and miraculouslyunsentimental way," while the New Directors' jury opted for two specialmentions to Michaela Pavlatova's FaithlessGames and Oliver Paulus and Stefan Hillebrand's When The Right One Comes Along (Wenn Der Richtige Kommt). Localcritics lamented that Cesc Gay's Barcelona-set In The City (En La Ciudad) went home empty-handed.
The fracas surrounding the Golden Shell was only thelatest in a edition dotted with potholes, from a shortage of world premieres inthe Official Section to the last-minute cancellation of jury president ChazzPalminteri; from the politically-motivated controversy over Julio Medem'sBasque documentary La Pelota Vasca, LaPiel Contra La Piedra evenbefore the festival opened, to a noisy labour strike at the central MariaCristina Hotel.
Yet the festival ultimately came off smoothly, witha number of titles earning critical kudos and social activities - as well assome VIP guests - transferring to the nearby Hotel Londres. Retrospectives werewell-attended and the festival reconfirmed its importance as a showcase forSpanish and Latin American talents.
Kevin Costner was on hand to present closing film
Additional nods included the new ARTE prize of Euros92,000 as an immediate advance on broadcasting rights for the Frenchdistributor of Joaquin Oristrell's activist actors tale Los Abajo Firmantes. Achero Manas' November (Noviembre) won the youth award, while the public prize -worth Euros 30,000 for Spanish distributor Amanda Films - went to Koreanforeign-language Oscar nominee Kim Ki-duk's Spring,Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring.
The Latin Horizons award of Euros 18,000 went toArgentina's Gaston Biraben for Captive(Cautiva), with specialmentions for Damian Szifron's The BottomOf The Sea (El Fondo Del Mar) and Jose Henrique Fonseca's
The World Catholic Association for Communicationaward went to Suite Havana withspecial mentions to The Station Agentand Take My Eyes; the InternationalConfederation of Cinema and Art & Essay's prize went to