Carla Simón has become the winner of the 72nd edition of the Berlin Film Festival with her film Alcarràs. The Catalan director will bring the first Golden Bear to Spain since 1983, when Mario Camus won with Beehive. News that further underpins the success of the national production after the Goyas, the Oscar nominations and the new Film Law that has just been approved. But it hasn’t exactly been a surprise.
From ‘Summer 1993’ to the 2002-2003 academic year: the road to the Goyas that starts at the institute
The jury chaired by M. Night Shyamalan (the protégé, Sixth Sense) has highlighted his interpretations, from the smallest to the elderly, and Simón’s ability to show the importance of values such as sensitivity and family. “I am the daughter of this place, it is my movie house. Every time we come, something great happens,” she thanked from the stage.
The echoes of victory began to sound in Germany as soon as Spanish and international critics were able to see the second film by the Catalan director. Five years ago she debuted with Summer 1993, which earned him three Goya awards and one of them for Best New Director. Also at the 2018 Berlinale, she was highlighted as Best First Feature and received the Grand Jury Prize in the Generation KPlus section. Catalonia, the family and the rich local traditions are once again at the center of the screen, as well as Carla Simón herself.
Yes Summer 1993 recounted his childhood after the death of his mother, Alcarràs pays homage to the cultivation of peaches that gives work to a large part of his family. “Reclaiming her is an emotional need for me”, has said in the media from Berlin, hours before winning the prize. At that very moment, part of the criticism was surrendering at the feet of this 36-year-old woman.
Alcarràs It is based on the town of the same name in the province of Lleida, land of peach trees. The Solè family, dedicated for 80 years to the cultivation of this fruit, meets there for the last harvest together before the trees disappear to be exchanged for a different plantation: that of solar panels.
The film is performed by a choral cast of farmers, not actors, who pose in front of a camera for the first time. And not only do they speak Catalan, but they do so in a specific dialect of that area that the director wanted to respect “because it’s very beautiful and there aren’t that many people who speak it.” “In any case, I think that we all have a family, in all countries there is agriculture and that in the end it has its universal point,” Simón told RTVE, and this has been recognized by the press and the international jury.
The British outlet The Telegraph gave to Alcarràs the highest score and bet from the headline that he should win the top prize at the Berlinale. Variety’s review highlighted that Alcarràseven with a narrative impulse “more adrift” than Summer 1993“confirms the strength and consistency of Simon’s voice.”
It is “a revolution, a monument, one of Michelangelo’s yawning slaves recently extracted from the hard marble of reality. It is cinema that is made and unmade in front of the viewer’s gaze like a miracle of clarity, tenacity, commitment, of simple and elementary beauty”, wrote Luis Martinez in The World. Too Frames gave it five stars pointing out, as the worst, “to imagine, with chills, what it would become if someone happened to double it”.
Alcarras, which will hit theaters on April 28, competed for the Golden Bear alongside Isaki Lacuesta, another Catalan director who moved Berlin with one year one night. Lacuesta’s film addresses the consequences of the attack on the Bataclan theater in Paris, in 2015, and adapts the novel Peace, love and death metal written by a survivor. The protagonists are French, although a good part of the cast is Spanish –including C. Tangana–. “We were obsessed with the idea of not creating more pain,” she said at the presentation.
The third Spanish film competing and premiering at the Berlinale was five wolvesby director Alauda Ruiz de Azúa about a new mother who returns to her native Basque Country to receive help from her parents and remember that she will never stop being a daughter.
“Sometimes it seems that we are appreciated more from outside than we appreciate ourselves and I want Spanish society to deny it. They have already earned being nominated and accepted as important works by the most demanding juries in the world and that is reason for joy, despite some who try to minimize the role of culture as a sector of subsidized and four privileged”, said the Spanish Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, one day before the German award ceremony.
For her part, the Minister of Culture of the Catalan Generalitat welcomed the fact that the films chosen outside our borders are shot in Catalan or in other co-official languages. “Linguistic diversity in Spain has always cost,” she admitted.
– Golden Bear for best film: Alcarràs, by Carla Simón.
– Grand Jury Prize: The Novelist’sFilm, by Hong Sangsoo.
– Jury Prize: gem cloakby Natalia López Gallardo.
– Silver Bear for Best Director: Claire Denis, for Both sides of the blade.
– Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance: Meltem Kaptan, by Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W Bush.
– Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance: Laura Basuki, for lullaby.
– Silver Bear for best screenplay: Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W Bush.
– Silver Bear for artistic contribution: Everything will be okby Rithy Pahn.
– Special mention of the international jury: a piece of skyby Michael Koch.