The first time Agustí Villaronga was asked to present The belly of the sea at the Malaga festival they told him that he would participate in the official section, but out of competition. “What are we going for then? I thought. I have already done a lot of cinema, but the film is not just mine: there are actors, actresses or technical team. For many it is their first time here ”, explained this week the Balearic director. He fought to go to competition and he got it. The jury has given him the reason: his work has won the Golden Biznaga for the best Spanish film, endowed with 10,000 euros. She is the great winner of the contest with five other prizes. Villaronga has obtained the silver biznagas for best director and best screenplay – shared with Alessandro Baricco, author of the original text on which the work is based -, while Roger Casamajor has won the award for best male performance, Marcús JGR for best music and Josep María Civil and Blai Tòmas the one with the best photography. The Golden Biznaga for the best Ibero-American film has been for Karnawalby Juan Pablo Félix.
‘The Belly of the Sea’, Villaronga’s Weirdest Movie
Another of the most awarded works has been Flash Bravío, by Ainhoa Rodríguez, who defined hers as “a life project” during her visit to Malaga with several of the leading women, all of them residents of the municipality of Puebla de la Reina, located in Tierra de Barros (Badajoz). The work has received the special award from the jury and has also obtained the silver biznaga for best montage, a work carried out by José Luis Picado. For her part, Tamara Casellas has been considered the best female interpreter for her role in Love, directed by Julia de Paz. The jury has been made up of Carles Torras, Elena S. Sánchez, Rafael Cobos and Valèrie Delpierre, as well as Nora Navas, who has served as president.
Never has a movie gotten six biznagas in Malaga. With The belly of the sea Villaronga thus increases his extensive cinematographic record. The film is based on the chapter of the same name included in the book Ocean Sea, by Baricco. It recounts a historical event that occurred at the beginning of the 19th century off the coast of Mauritania. Then, the French frigate Mèduse ran aground on a poorly captained sandbar. Four boats carried the passage ashore, but a wooden raft built for 147 people who were promised the same journey, was left adrift. The hell those 146 men and one woman lived through was recounted by two of the few survivors, Officer Sevigny and Private Thomas. His story, full of despair, hatred, hope or cannibalism is the one that disembowels the film through a very theatrical montage and sometimes dreamlike images accompanied by a beautiful photograph.
For its part, the film Karnawal is the debut feature of the Argentine director and producer Juan Pablo Félix. The work was premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and since then it has gone through more than forty competitions, with awards in Guadalajara or Toulouse. It is the story of a con artist who unexpectedly visits his son, who wants to become a professional Malambo dancer. Together with their mother, the three of them start a family reunion trip through Los Andes, until a series of events lead them to rethink their future together. It stars Martín López, Mónica Lairana, Diego Cremonesi and the Chilean Alfredo Castro, who has won the silver biznaga for best supporting male performance. The female has fallen to María Romanillos for The consequences.
In 2022, back to normal
In the official documentary section, the prize for the best film, endowed with 6,000 euros, has gone to Bosco, by Alicia Cano, while Mo Scarpelli has received the best director for his work in The father as himself. The jury has awarded its special mention for In the other sideby Colombian Iván Guarnizo, who sets out on a journey to try to find the guerrilla who kept his mother kidnapped for 603 days. The play has also received the Audience Award. All the prizes will be awarded at the closing gala on Saturday night, in which Santiago Segura will present a preview of his comedy To full train! Destination Asturias and that it will include Antonio Banderas among its guests.
In ZonaZine, Luke, by Álex Montoya, has been named the best Spanish film – it has also received the audience award – while the best Latin American film has been The Motitosby Inés Barrionuevo and Gabriela Vidal. The Biznaga for Best Director has been awarded to Mauricio Franco Tosso for Samichay, in search of happiness, the best female performance for Carla Gusolfino (The Motitos) and the masculine one for Jorge Motos (Luke). There is also a special mention of the jury for the entire cast —that is, Ana María Otálora, Silvia Varón, Marcela Robledo, Diana Wiswell and Ana María Cuéllar— of Leading Ladies, by the Valencian director Ruth Caudeli, who lives in Bogotá.
The director of the Malaga festival, Juan Antonio Vigar, has assured that this has been a “very happy and very bright” edition. “We wanted to be prudent and we have once again demonstrated that the culture is safe.” Vigar has confirmed that the contest will return to its usual dates, at the beginning of spring, in 2022. It will be between March 18 and 27 and will be the twenty-fifth edition “which will be a celebration of life.” The organization hopes that after two years marked by sanitary restrictions, the next one will serve to recover normality and some of the identity of the appointment can be recovered again, such as meetings and social events and, above all, the red carpet in front of the Cervantes Theater.