A great film, Small Country, by French director Eric Barbier, has won the 5th Barcelona-Sant Jordi International Film Festival (BCN FILM FEST), which over the course of two weeks has screened a notable selection of current film production simultaneously in the Catalan capital and in Madrid.
With this fifth edition, A Contracorriente Films is consolidating its commitment to documentary films, which uncover events or decisive happenings that barely make the front pages of the mainstream media. And, of course, for fiction based on so-called real events. The festival's top award goes to a film that is an adaptation of Gaël Faye's novel, which tells the story of the happy life of a boy in Burundi, but whose life changes radically when violence breaks out in Rwanda in 1993, the biggest massacre of the 20th century on the African continent.
Isabelle Kabano, who stars in this film, shares the award for best actress with Denise Gough, who plays the leading role in another great Danish film, 'The Good Traitor', a production that tells the story of Henrik Kauffmann, Denmark's ambassador to Washington in 1939 when World War II breaks out. Played by Ulrich Thomsen, who also won the award for best actor, in that atmosphere of unqualified antagonism, the diplomat Kauffmann declares himself to be the true representative of a free Denmark in opposition to the Nazis.
The other big winner is the Portuguese film 'Sombra' by director Bruno Gascón, which won the Critics' and Film-History Award for its historical values. With a cast headed by a superb Ana Moreira, the film delves into the lacerating drama of the kidnapping of babies in maternity wards. With a great narrative pulse, Bruno Gascón describes the struggle of a mother who, years after the disappearance of her son, is still trying to find him after a kidnapping that justice cannot solve, while she moves in a universe that is determined to force her to mourn a child she believes is still alive.
In addition to the 60 films screened, of which 4 were world premieres, 1 international, 3 European, 17 Spanish and 7 Catalan, Barcelona has hosted meetings and talks with celebrities such as Isabelle Huppert, Johnny Depp, Eric Barbier, Fernando Trueba, Fernando Colomo, Karra Elejalde, Toni Acosta, Carmen Chaplin, Clara Lago and Eduard Cortés.
Johnny Depp has made a firm commitment to this Festival, presenting his two latest films. In the latest, 'The Minamata Photographer', he plays the role of a photojournalist in the midst of one of the many attacks committed daily against health and the environment, which threaten life on our planet. A narrative with no concessions to the epic, which makes it closer to the reality experienced by the reporters who let us know what is going on behind our backs. In this respect, it is inevitable to evoke, with a heartfelt tribute of remembrance, the last two Spanish reporters murdered in Burkina Faso: David Beriáin and Roberto Fraile.
The festival was also an opportunity for scriptwriters and other film industry professionals to hold intense colloquiums and round tables, all of which gave rise to a hopeful optimism that, in addition to the new formats and exhibition platforms, cinema will once again have the essential physical presence of spectators in its natural habitat: the cinemas and their big screens. Despite the restrictions, the festival had 11,000 spectators at its 121 public screenings, 37% more than the previous year. An undoubtedly encouraging figure.