'Maria Full of Grace' wins Deauville film fest

13th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 12 (AFP) - "Maria Full of Grace," a compelling tale of a Colombian girl who becomes a drug mule in an attempt to escape her country for the United States, won the Grand Prize at the Deauville film festival in France Sunday.

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 12 (AFP) - "Maria Full of Grace," a compelling tale of a Colombian girl who becomes a drug mule in an attempt to escape her country for the United States, won the Grand Prize at the Deauville film festival in France Sunday.  

The first-full length feature by Joshua Marston walked away with top honours at the 30th annual festival, the showcase for independent US movies in France, the jury announced at the closing ceremony. It also took the international critics' prize and an audience award.  

The jury prize went to Nicole Kassell's "The Woodsman", which stars Kevin Bacon as a paedophile trying to start a new life after 12 years in prison.  

Winning best screenplay was the science fiction drama "The Final Cut" by Omar Naim, starring Mira Sorvino and Robin Williams as characters in a world in which specialised memory chips implanted in the brain record people's every second on the planet.  

Speaking of "Maria Full of Grace", which stars debutante Catalina Sandino Moreno as Maria, the 36-year-old Marston said it was much more than the tale of a drug runner in one of the world's biggest producers of cocaine and heroin.  

It was "the story of a young woman who feels trapped by the confines of life in a small town and is looking for a way out -- searching for a situation where she feels more truly at home," he said ahead of the festival.  

Seventeen-year-old Maria becomes pregnant, leaves her dead-end job and moves to the capital Bogota, desperately searching for a way to earn some money to help out her family -- and swallowing heroin pellets for a drug dealer seems like the terribly risky but financially rewarding ticket.  

"I get the joke. (We won) because we were the only team to stay until the end of the festival," Marston quipped on Sunday in perfect French as he accepted the three prizes for his film.  

Michael Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, won the top audience award, and Frederikke Aspoeck's "Happy Now" took the short film prize.  

The 30th edition of the festival was largely overshadowed by the Mostra in Venice, Europe's second-largest film festival after Cannes, which concluded Saturday with top awards for Mike Leigh's moving abortion drama "Vera Drake."  

Deauville was mainly a springboard for US blockbusters ahead of their European releases.   It also allowed Hollywood's big stars to gain a bit of extra publicity for their films without making two trips to Europe.  

Steven Spielberg presented "The Terminal" in both Venice and Deauville, with star Tom Hanks by his side. Nicole Kidman dropped in on both festivals to promote her latest effort, "Birth".  

Other films screened out of competition included "The Bourne Supremacy" starring Matt Damon, "The Notebook" with James Garner and Gena Rowlands and "Catwoman" starring Halle Berry.  

Spielberg and George Lucas, who worked together on the wildly popular "Indiana Jones" trilogy, were both honoured in Deauville with special screenings of their past blockbuster hits.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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