Spain bags best short in Berlin

3rd December 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 December 2007, BERLIN/GIJON - Romanian cinema was the big winner at this weekend's 20th edition of the European Film Awards in Berlin, when director Cristian Mungiu picked up the honours for European Film 2007 and European Director 2007 for his Palme D'Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Mungiu's biggest rival (with six nominations), The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, scooped the award for Best Actress.

3 December 2007

BERLIN/GIJON - Romanian cinema was the big winner at this weekend's 20th edition of the European Film Awards in Berlin, when director Cristian Mungiu picked up the honours for European Film 2007 and European Director 2007 for his Palme D'Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Mungiu's biggest rival (with six nominations), The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, scooped the award for Best Actress.

But the Spanish film industry also made its presence known at Saturday night's Berlin gala ceremony with Best Short going to the director, writer and producer Eduardo Chapero-Jackson for his Alumbramiento (Childbirth). This short film about fear and death was inspired by the loss of the director's grandparents three years ago.

The award is especially significant given the Spanish Academy's decision to cut its Best Short Film prize from the next Goya Awards ceremony to be held in the New Year. Chapero Jackson said: "The short film is the source of our [Spanish] cinema which should be better looked after. An Academy which doesn't look after its future, doesn't look after itself."

Gijón Film Festival, meanwhile, handed its most prestigious Principado de Asturias best film prize to the Taiwanese director, Lee Kang-Sheng for his Bangbang Wo Aishen (Help Me Eros). Help Me Eros is a tale of urban solitude and the breakdown of sentimental relationships which follows Ah Jie as he loses everything in the stock market due to a severe economic crisis. Locked in his apartment, he smokes joints and tends the marijuana plants that he secretly grows in his wardrobe. In desperation, he calls a suicide helpline. Moments of grimly black comedy, eroticism and existential futility ensue.

The special jury prize went to El silencio antes de Bach (The silence before Bach), the musical and groundbreaking offering from the Catalan Pere Portabella.

Best Director was awarded to the Russian Alexéi Balabanov for his Cargo 200, a gloomy examination of the moral breakdown of the Soviet Union. Best Script was granted to the Argentine feature, El otro (The Other) by Ariel Rotter, while the Fipresci prize went to the Mexican production, Cochochi from Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ ROCÍO GARCÍA / JORDI COSTA 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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