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A nourished Official Selection


(Votes count 695)

(Rating average 2,94)

this is not a film
49th Gijon Film Festival Official Selection 49 strikes a balance between FICXixón names already known to the public of the festival as Jafar Panahi, Todd Solondz, Pawel Pawlikowski, Nicolas Klotz, Jonathan Caouette, Bruno Dumont, Lanners and Mia Hansen-Love, along with European and American indie filmmakers such as Valerie Donzelli, Miranda July, Joshua Marston, Ruben Östlund and Fernand Melgar.
THIS IS NOT A FILM, Jafar Panahi (Mianeh, Iran, 1960) Non competitive selection.
The 49th edition includes in its main category (though out of competition) the latest film from this Iranian director in order to show its solidarity with his actual situation (Panahi was recently sentenced by Teheran's Court to six years of imprisonment and a 20 years disqualification to shoot. With this screening the Festival supports an old friend that not so long ago strolled through the streets of our city as a guest in the 44th Edition with his film Offside (2006), which was awarded by the Youth Jury as Best Film and also received the Best Actress Prize. This was one of the last sweet moments before the nightmare unleashed for Jafar three years later.

In 2009 he was arrested at the funeral of Neda Agha - Soltan, a young Iranian woman killed in election protests in 2009. In February 2010 the authorities of his country denied him the permission to travel to Berlin International Film Festival in which he was supposed to give a lecture about the contemporary situation of Iranian filmmakers. The following month he was jailed along with his wife, daughter and 15 friends, including directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa (released two weeks later). Jafar did not run the same fate. His Government accused him of making a film against the regime, while he defended himself by saying that the project was developed only within his home and had nothing to do with the Islamist government.

Directors, producers, film festivals and institutes around the world wrote letters demanding Iran to release Panahi. Cannes honored him by appointing him chairman of its International Jury and maintaining the empty seat during the entire festival. Finally, after ten days of hunger strike and 88 of imprissonment, in May 25th Panahi could again breathe the air of Teheran after paying his bail. In December 2010 came the sentence that prohibited him to travel abroad or give any interviews. The director appealed, but last October 11th the decision was endorsed by a court in the capital. His lawyer said they would appeal to the Supreme Court immediately.

In This is not a film, Panahi explains his pending projects, and shows his day to day in his home confinement. The Iranian filmmaker delineates the rooms of his home in Tehran with tape, simulating scenarios of pending sequences and tries not go crazy when they have stolen him his only way to express freely.

The competition

17 titles compete in the 49th Official Selection, many of them endorsed by the prizes won in the most prestigious festivals of the international circuit, in addition to the acclaim of critics and audiences.

FAUST, Alexander Sokurov (Podorvikha, 1951)
Venice last Golden Lion Award arrives to Gijon to offer the Spanish audience the clousure of Sokurov's tetralogy about the nature of power. The story is well known: the diabolical provocation on a man of science, the rules and own fears of this Russian director with solid and unwavering career, one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers to premiere Gijon.

LA GUERRE ES DÉCLARÉE, Valerie Donzelli (Epinal, France, 1973)
One of the best French films of 2011. Donzelli opened Critics' Week at Cannes with her second feature, suprising both public and critics. La guerre est déclarée is not only filling theatre rooms, it has also been chosen to represent France at the Oscars. The director and actress nourishes from the nouvelle vague and Truffaut in a particular story of first time parents who have recently discovered that their baby has a brain tumor. Without falling into the drama but with much emotion, this jewel of contemporary auteur cinema breathes optimism even when it declares war against cancer. It is a time bomb that enriches with its explosion the international cinematographic panorama.

DARK HORSE, Todd Solondz (Newark, New Jersey, 1959)
Five years later, one of the most subtle and provocative American independent directors visits Gijon, the city that granted him a retrospective in 2005. In the 43rd Edition the Festival published the book "Todd Solondz: in the suburbs of happiness", by Jordi Costa. Now, Solondz comes back after having triumphed in Cannes, Venice and Sundance, and does so with a black comedy centered on a thirtysomething guy who still lives with his parents. Dark Horse cast includes names such as Justin Bartha (The Hangover), Christopher Walken, Mia Farrow and Selma Blair (who worked with Solondz in Storytelling).

ICEBERG, Gabriel Velázquez (Salamanca, 1968)
This is the only Spanish representative in the competition. The director of Sud Express and Amateurs will present in Gijón his third feature, a look at a group of teenagers that will be marked by their first important decisions. A film that moves back and forth between Larry Clark's Kids and Gus Van Sant's Elephant, in which Gabriel Velázquez depicts the tip of three stories. Salamanca's director believes, like Rousseau, that adolescence is like an adult character forming second birth. To select the young actors and actresses that would play the role of these newborns, the director held a 4.000 participants casting.

VOL SPECIAL, Fernand Melgar (Tangier, Morocco, 1961)
This Spanish-born director (son of Spanish exiles) offers Gijón his third documentary, a polemical critique of the legal system that was awarded by the Ecumenical Jury in Locarno, although the jury president, the producer and actor Paolo Branco, described it as "an accomplice of rampant fascism". Vol Special introduces the viewer in an administrative detention in the canton of Geneva, to show the last leg of a migratory chain. Six African immigrants show their despair as they are put in "home" return special flights organized by the Swiss government. This harsh view on forced evictions in Switzerland earned Melgar the prohibition of screening Vol Special in some Swiss schools.

, Azazel Jacobs
(New York, 1972)
A comedy about adversity and isolation that triumphed in the last edition of Sundance. Jacobs, son of the legendary Ken Jacobs and director of titles such as Momma's man, shows us the loneliness of an orphaned boy, ridiculed by his classmates and ignored by the teachers. Terri will find his only friend in the character of school's headmaster (played by John C. Reilly), an empathetic adult that will teach him how to enjoy life. An hilarious film by a director that has already been compared by the critics with Kaurismäki, Jarmusch and Tati.

, Markus Schleinzer
(Vienna, 1971)
Regular collaborator of Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl, this Austrian filmmaker presents in Gijon his rough debut, a story of abuse screened in the Official Selection of Cannes. Crude and disturbing, the film tells the story of a man and his attempts to lead a conventional life while keeping a child hostage in his home's basement. Applauded by international critics, this film combines the unmistakable hallmarks of the new Austrian cinema: asepsis, hatchet...

TAKE SHELTER, Jeff Nichols (Little Rock, USA, 1978) Opening Movie
Promising young American independent movie that conquered Sundance and won two awards at Cannes (the Grand Prize of Critics' Week and the Authors Society Award), Take Shelter is an intense psychological thriller about the apocalyptic hallucinations suffered by a small town worker in Ohio, played by Michael Shannon, one of the best actors in the current scene.

THE FUTURE, Miranda July (Vermont, USA, 1974)
Sundance and Berlin loved it. Directed and starred by the creative composer and filmmaker Miranda July, The Future is an experimental cinematographic relationships drama seen through the eyes of a pet. Her first feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know, won the Jury's Special Prize at Sundance and collected tour awards in Cannes, including Caméra d'Or. This young artist's way of filming is considered one of the most emotional sights of the American independent circuit, and her performances, videos and projects have been exhibited in MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum.

WALK AWAY RENEE, Jonathan Caouette (Houston, 1973)
The 49th Edition hosts the much anticipated return of one of the most celebrated authors in this festival. After the applauded Tarnation, Caouette is back again with another psychedelic film that teams with his life and his family. Walk Away Renee uses photos, home videos, Super 8 movies, messages on answering machines and newspapers to describe a delicate moment shared by the director and his mother.

LES GÉANTS, Bouli Lanners (Moresnet-Chapelle, Belgium, 1965)
This intuitive Belgian director has made it again into the Official Selection. Bouli Lanners won the Best Movie Award in Gijon back in the 43rd Edition with his film Ultranova, and received the critics recognition and the applause of the audience with another big title in his filmography: ElDorado. A celebrity in his homeland and also in France, Lanners offers with Les Géants a sweet adventure movie starred by teenagers, in which the spectator will find reminiscences of Rebels and Stand by me.

LOW LIFE, Nicolas Klotz
Another filmmaker that finds his way back to the Official Selection. After premiering in Gijon La question humaine, the French director presents in the 49th Edition a love story between a young woman and an Afghan illegal immigrant in an environment of anarchy and anti system revolts. A movie that has both a dose of intrigue and voodoo.

UN AMOUR DE JEUNESSE, Mia Hansen-Love (París, 1981)
Alter succedding in France, Mia Hansen-Love (Tout est pardonné, 45th Edition) will present in Gijon her most recent feature in which she approaches a story of to summer sweethearts that face love for the first time.

PLAY, Ruben Östlund (Styrsö, Suecia, 1974)
The competition hosts the last film of Sweden's new enfant terrible. Finalist in the European Parliament LUX Award, and winner in Berlin, Moscow and Edinburgh, Ruben Östlund tells a true based store of a group of immigrant kids that terrorised boys and girls through violence and intimidation taking advantage of social prejudice, amongst them delinquency and racism. The film premiered in Cannes last edition.

EL ESTUDIANTE, Santiago Mitre (Buenos Aires, 1980)
Latin American cinematography is represented in the 49th Gijon Film Festival by the first feature of Argentinean Santiago Mitre (writer of Pablo Trapero's movies: Carancho y Leonera). The film, four times awarded in Locarno, is a semi politic thriller in a university environment.

OUTSIDE SATAN, Bruno Dumont (Baillent, Francia, 1958)
After a retrospective at FICXixón in 2006, he brings his last feature, in which he portrays a criminal drama that turns into a film full of the inexplicable through two enigmatic characters, a very spiritual young girl and the homeless man that protects her.

THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD, Joshua Marston (Los Ángeles, 1968)
Awarded with two prizes at the Berlinale, this movie is a drama about asphyxiating cultural traditions. Shot in Albania, the story uses a violent dispute for the right to trespass a private terrain to show the difficulties occasioned by the intolerant cultural conventions of the country and the eternal dream of the young to leave for a better life. Joshua Marston received the Silver Bear at Berlin with his first feature film: María llena eres de gracia.
Palabras clave Festival de Cine, 2011, Turismo