Wednesday, May 06, 2009

6th Indie Lisboa Award Winners

This independent cinema international festival will take place in Lisbon, Portugal from April 23 to May 3 and here are the films in competition.

International Competition

Aguas Mil, Ivo M. Ferreira, Portugal, 2009
While emptying the house where we lived all our life, we can find sleeping memories. Pedro finds a story from the past that connects him and his family to an armed revolutionary organization from the eighties, the period when his father disappeared. Pedro will have to revisit the past and in that journey he will awaken his survivors and bring to life his ghosts. Before, what mattered to his father and to his comrades were their politic ideals. Today, what matters to Pedro is to awake the Human story that everyone tried to hide and forget. One day, one has to do something, unexpectedly. As the “April Showers”.

Aguas Verdes, Mariano de Rosa, Argentina, 2009
“Green Waters” is the name of the seaside resort where Juan plans to spend the summer holiday with his wife and children. But things go wrong. Sexual temptation is everywhere. Juan is consumed by fears of being pushed aside by his family and not being able to protect his daughter from lurking dangers. His Freudian wife explains to him that his fears are a projection of his desire for sex with another woman and urges him to go to a therapist. Juan ignores her. The camera shares Juan’s grotesque-neurotic perspective and in the classic suspense-movie style of past eras the film score evokes the inner life of a paranoid capable of anything.

*Ballast, Lance Hammer, USA, 2008 - Winner of the Grand Prix
A poetic understated movie about tragedy and reconciliation in the Mississippi Delta. Lawrence and his brother live together in a small town next to young James and his mother Marlee. She is a single mother struggling to scratch a living for herself and her son. James roams the rural landscape getting into trouble. The brother’s death causes a profound ripple effect in their lives. Marlee confronts Lawrence using this opportunity to take over the property, but hope rises when she helps Lawrence in reopening his convenience store. The three of them learn gradually to get past their issues and deal with life – as a family.

*Cea Mai Fericita Fata Din Lume, Radu Jude, Romania, 2009 - Winner of the FIPRESCI Award
When working class teenager Delia wins a luxury car in a promotional campaign, she and her parents travel to Bucharest to shoot a commercial in which she must thank the sponsoring company for the car. As the shoot wears on, the car slowly becomes both the object and catalyst of an absurd clash of desire, values, and will between Delia's cash-strapped parents and her youthful self.

Ddongpari, Yang Ik-June, South Korea, 2008
After witnessing the deaths of his mother and sister as a child, Sang-hoon grew up with rage and hatred towards his father who was responsible for their deaths. The shadow of his past overrules his present. One day, he meets a high school girl, Yeon-hee, who is also having a tough life after her mother’s death four years ago. Without realizing how their lives may be connected, Sang-hoon and Yeon-hee share some moments of relief and escape from brutal physical and emotional abuse and pain they face everyday.

Helen, Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, Ireland and UK, 2008
An 18 year-old-girl called Joy has gone missing. Another girl called Helen is asked to “play” Joy in a police reconstruction that will retrace Joy’s last known movements. Joy had everything. A loving family, a boyfriend, a bright future. Helen, parentless, has lived in institutions all her life and has never been close to anyone. Helen begins to immerse herself into the role, visiting the people and places that Joy knew; quietly and carefully insinuating her way into the lost girl’s life. Is Helen trying to find out what happened to Joy that day, or is she searching for her own identity?

Prince of Broadway, Sean Baker, USA, 2008
“Prince of Broadway” is the story of Lucky, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, and Levon, an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant, two men whose lives converge in the underbelly of New York's wholesale fashion district. Lucky's world is suddenly turned upside down when a child is thrust into his life by a woman who insists the toddler is his son. While Lucky copes with his new domestic dilemma, Levon struggles to save a marriage that is falling apart. The seedy side of the wholesale district is revealed through a journey that continually confronts the interplay between what is fake and what is real.

Sumashedshaya Pomoch, Boris Khlebnikov, Russia, 2009
Kind and lazy Jenya comes to Moscow from a small village in Belarus to find work. An incident unexpectedly separates him from his companions leaving him alone without money and documents. He has no friends or relatives in this big and hostile city and is about to end up homeless. But suddenly a miracle happens: a strange old man takes the homeless Jenya to his flat and lets him stay with him. Soon Jenya is invited to join a peculiar fight in which the old man is engaged: a fight against the evil that spoils life in Moscow. The old man’s daughter reveals him the horrible truth about her father.

Una Semana Solos, Celina Murga, Argentina, 2008
Teenagers and children adrift in the territory delimited by a closed neighborhood, a model scale citadel: houses with gardens, a school, a party hall, a pool. A round trip from leisure to tedium, with no fathers or mothers close, the orphaned-for-a-week kids circulate to create their own chaos regime in the commodity of an accepted prison: no one even tries to run away from there. In that everyday state of conformity a stranger joins them, the one from the outside who irrupts, but not even at that point does the traditional conflict come up, rather everything dissolves in an intermittent game of tenderness and cruelty.

Winterstilte, Sonja Wyss, Netherlands, 2008
In a snowed-in log cabin, a widow lives with her four grown-up daughters, all with their own desires for love and intimacy. The strong Catholic faith and their mourning that has tormented them for years have condemned them to a life of chastity. Mysterious deer-men change their existence.

*Zha Lai Nur Er, Zhao Ye, China, 2008 - Winner of the Distribution Award
Jalainur (a Mongolian word meaning “ocean-like lake”), located in the northernmost part of China, near the border of China and Russia, is an open-pit colliery with over-100-years of history, where you can still see the unusual sight of steam trains in service. Now the “huge pit” is almost empty, the steam trains will be retired, and a large number of colliery workers are facing the crisis of being laid off. The two protagonists of this film are Old Zhu, a steam train driver, and his apprentice, Li Zhizhong, a train signalman, they have worked very closely together. The entire film is shot on actual location in Jalainur.

To check all the films in the fest please go here and I suggest to browse the National Competition, Observatory, and Emerging Cinema sections. There are many interesting films that I strongly recommend especially to a dearest friend that lives nearby. Enjoy!

To check the award winners in all the categories please go here.

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