Bittersweet Rain

Source: Courtesy of MDPIFF

Bittersweet Rain

Brazilian Haroldo Borges’ exploration of thorny adolescence in Bittersweet Rain took the best film award at the 37th Mar del Plata International Film Festival (MDPIFF) which wrapped Saturday. 

Also a winner of industry prizes at Guadalajara and Ventana Sur and Málaga’s work-in-progress sections, Bittersweet Rain follows fatherless 15-year-old Bruno from a small town as he faces a degenerative eye disease.

Moreover, the drama claimed the audience award and received a special mention for the entire cast. Shot with non-professional actors, it is Borges’ first solo directorial outing after Son Of Ox and Noches desveladas. International sales are handled by Habanero.

MDPIFF, the only event in the Latin American region classified as ‘category A’ by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Association, ran from November 3-13.

The festival’s best director prize went ex-aequo to Ana García Blaya’s La Uruguaya and Melisa Liebenthal’s The Face Of The Jellyfish. Blaya’s second feature after The Second Intentions – which premiered at San Sebastian and Toronto – is an adaptation of the same-title novel by Pedro Mairal and is the first feature produced by Argentina’s Orsai Audiovisual, supported by the crowdfunded money of 1,961 partners.

Liebenthal’s fiction debut is an experimental comedy on identity produced by Argentina’s Gentil Cine, the company behind Albertina Carri’s The Daughters Of Fire.

US writer-director Andrew Bujalski, godfather of the so-called mumblecore movement, took the best screenplay award for There There, a pandemic dramedy which premiered at Tribeca and is sold by The Film Sales Company. Magnolia Pictures acquired US rights in June.

The film chosen for the opening gala was Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless as part of the tribute that MDPIFF dedicated to the late French auteur. This edition of MDPIFF was devoted to the memory of much-beloved Argentinian musician, producer, singer and director Leonardo Favio, whose film career included titles such as Chronicle Of A Boy Alone (1965), El Romance Del Aniceto y La Francisca (1967) and El Dependiente (1969), which are considered some of the best Argentinian movies ever.

Colombian debutante actress Sonia Parada received the best performance prize for The Ones From Below, directed by Bolivian Alejandro Quiroga.

Argentinian production Trenque Lauquen took the best film award in the Latin American competition, and About The Clouds was honoured with the main award in the Argentina Competition sidebar.

Romantic thriller Trenque Lauquen is two linked features centring on two men searching for the woman they love, Laura, who has gone missing in The Pampa. It was nominated this year for the Venice Horizons award and is the second solo feature from Citarella, whose Dog Lady – co-directed with Verónica Llinás – competed at Rotterdam. El Pampero Cine and Grandfilm produced and Luxbox represents international sales.

About The Clouds is the second feature from María Aparicio after The Streets (2016), which took best director award at Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (BAFICI). Awarded the best film prize at Valdivia in October, About The Clouds offers a poetic rumination on four characters’ daily life in the city of Córdoba, Argentina. It is a production of Trivial Media.

Mar del Plata presented seven world-premieres in international competition. Argentinean actress Cecilia Roth, one of Pedro Almodóvar’s first muses, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Labyrinth Of Passion, Oscar-winning All About My Mother, both by Almodóvar, Adolfo Aristarain’s Oscar-nominated A Place In The World, and Marcelo Piñeyro’s Ashes Of Paradise are among Roth’s credits in a career spanning more than 50 features.



Best Film
Bittersweet Rain (Bra), dir. Haroldo Borges

Special Jury Prize
Three Brothers (Arg-Chil), dir. Francisco J. Paparella

Special Mention
Money Exchange (Arg), dir. Lautaro García Candela

Best Director (ex-aequo)
Ana García Blaya, La Uruguaya (Arg-Ur)
Melisa Liebenthal, The Face Of The Jellyfish (Arg)

Best Performance
Sonia Parada, Los de abajo (Bol)

Special Mention
Cast of Bittersweet Rain

Best Screenplay
Andrew Bujalski, There There (USA)

Bittersweet Rain


Best Film
Trenque Lauquen (Arg), dir. Laura Citarella

Special Jury Prize
Dry Ground Burning (Braz-Por), dirs. Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós

Special Mention
Anhell69 (Ger-Col-Fr-Rom), dir. Theo Montoya

Best Short
Anima (Cub), dir. Manuel Mateo Gómez 

Special Mention
Silences Of Childhood (CR-Chil), dir. Sofía Quirós Ubeda


Best Film
About The Clouds (Arg), dir. María Aparicio

Best Director
Leandro Listorti, Herbaria (Arg-Ger)

Best Short
Flesh Of God (Argentina, Mexico) Dir. Patricio Plaza


Best Film
Geographies Of Solitude (Can)

Special Mention
The Newest Olds (Arg-Can), dir. Pablo Mazzolo
Private Footage (Bra), dir. Janaína Nagata

Work In Progress (En Transito)
Best Project
Do Or Die (Arg), dirs. Toia Bonino and Marcos Joubert

Special mention
Punku (Per), dir. Juan Daniel Fernández Molero
Big Shadow (Arg), dir. Maximiliano Schonfeld.