Chicago Honors Winners Including "Crimson Gold" and "Olga's Chignon"
by Ali Gitlow
The 39th Chicago International Film Festival, which ran from October 2-16, has announced its winners. In the international feature competition, Jafar Panahi's "Crimson Gold" received a Gold Hugo award. This Iranian film, which won a jury prize at Cannes, tells the story of a pizza delivery man who wants to break free of his low-class status. The Silver Hugo special jury prize was given to Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Uzak" (Distant). This Turkish tale of a city-dwelling reclusive photographer who allows a family member from his home village to live with him while looking for a job won a grand prize at Cannes. The Silver Hugo for best female performance was given to Ludivine Sagnier ("Swimming Pool") for her portrayal of a wannabe film star in "La Petite Lili." Best male performance went to Pierre Boulanger of "Monsieur Ibrahim" for playing a young, working-class Jew in 1960s Paris.
FIPRESCI Awards are given to directors whose first and second films demonstrate continuing talent in the New Directors Competition. Jerome Bonnell's "Olga's Chignon," winner of the FIPRESCI Prize, tells of a French family living in a small town trying to get their lives back together after the mother dies. A special mention was awarded to Peter Hedges' "Pieces of April," which hits theaters on Friday. In the Docufest Competition, the Gold Hugo for best documentary feature went to "My Architect." In this moving film, Nathaniel Kahn, illegitimate son of famed architect Louis Kahn, travels around the U.S. to see his father's buildings and reveal his life story. Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," about the overthrow of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, garnered the Silver Hugo for docs.
In the short film competition, Philippe Barcinski's "The Open Window" (Brazil), about a man contemplating if he did indeed close his window before going to bed, received the Gold Hugo for best short. Mervi Junkkonen's "Barbeiros," about two Finnish barbers, won the Gold Hugo for best student film. The Gold Hugo for best animated film went to Rachel Johnson's "The Toll Collector," which tells of a deformed woman who wants to become a ballerina. The Chicago Award for the best local film at the festival went to John Rangel's "An Assignment." It is about a smart teenage gang member who must choose between his friends and brightening his future.
For a full list of winners and those who received tributes, visit http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com