Guerra’s “Embrace of the Serpent” Sweeps Platino Ibero-American Film Awards

Ciro Guerra continues to slither his way to the awards stage…

The 35-year-old film director and screenwriter’s critically acclaimed Embrace of the Serpent, which earned an Academy Award nomination, swept the 3rd Platino Ibero-American Film Awards on Sunday night in Uruguay, taking home seven of the eight categories for which it was nominated.

Ciro Guerra's Embrace of the Serpent

Although the awards had no clear favorite, Embrace of the Serpent, with Ixcanul, had scored the most nominations and its plaudit sweep did not seem to surprise many.

Shot in widescreen in 35 mm and in black and white Serpent claimed best picture, director, editing (Etienne Boussac, Cristina Gallego), art direction (Angélica Perea), original music (Nascuy Linares), cinematography (the film was shot by David Gallego) and sound (Carlos García, Marco Salavarría).

The story of Karamakate, a shaman who is the last survivor of his tribe and asked, 30 years apart, by two explorers – based on the figures of Theodor Koch-Gruenberg and Richard Evans Schultes – to help them discover the yakuna plant, Embrace of the Serpent charts the devastation of the Amazon by colonial powers, whether Colombian rubber companies or a crazed Spanish priest, but more particularly the loss of indigenous knowledge as whole peoples disappeared under the influx of invasion.

“The ravages of colonialism cast a dark pall over the stunning South American landscape in Embrace of the Serpent, he latest visual astonishment from the gifted Colombian writer-director Ciro Guerra,” Variety wrote in its Cannes Film Festival review.

Ciro Guerre’s third movie has won a string of significant festival, Academy and pan Latin American awards, including a Mexican Silver Ariel, Fénix Film Awards, and plaudits at the Mar del Plata and Palm Springs fests, among others.

Platino acting awards went to two Argentine talents who most certainly deserve wider recognition, Dolores Fonzi, star of Santiago Mitre’s Cannes Critics’ Week winner Paulina, who plays a young lawyer who refuses to compromise her principles when raped while working as a rural teacher, and Guillermo Francella, who portrays a real-life family patriarch and psychopath in Pablo Trapero’s The Clan, who continues for personal profit Argentina’s Dirty War practice of kidnapping and murder after the fall of Argentina’s military junta.

A third Argentine actor, Ricardo Darin, took the Platino Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We have the talent. We just need to have confidence in ourselves,” Darin said on stage, receiving the plaudit. ”That’s why we and Ibero-America need these awards,” he added.

A searing but crafted indictment of the tribulations of a young pregnant and unmarried girl in rural Guatemala, Berlin Silver Bear winner Ixcanul, the feature debut of Jayro Bustamante, once more confirmed its audience appeal, at least with the who have seen it, taking the Platinos’ Audience Award, plus best first feature.

BEST PICTURE
“Embrace of the Serpent,” (Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela)

BEST DIRECTOR
Ciro Guerra (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

BEST ACTOR
Guillermo Francella (“The Clan,” Argentina, Spain)

BEST ACTRESS
Dolores Fonzi (“Paulina,” Argentina)

ORIGINAL MUSIC
Nascuy Linares (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

BEST ANIMATION MOVIE
“Capture the Flag,” (Enrique Gato, Spain)

BEST DOCU FEATURE
“The Pearl Button,” (Patricio Guzmán, Chile, Spain)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Pablo Larraín, Guillermo Calderón, Daniel Villalobos (“The Club”)

FIRST FEATURE
“Ixcanul” (Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, France)

EDITING
Etienne Boussac, Cristina Gallego (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

ART DIRECTION
Angélica Perea (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
David Gallego (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

SOUND
Carlos García, Marco Salavarría (“Embrace of the Serpent”)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Ricardo Darín

PLATINO AWARD FOR FILM AND EDUCATION IN VALUES
“The Second Mother,” (Anna Muylaert, Brazil)

AUDIENCE AWARDS

FEATURE
“Ixcanul,” (Guatemala, France)

ACTRESS
Penélope Cruz (“Ma ma,” Spain)

ACTOR
Ricardo Darín (“Truman,” Spain, Argentina)

Puenzo’s “The German Doctor” Earns 10 Sur Awards

Lucía Puenzo has 10 reasons to celebrate…

The 40-year-old Argentine author and filmmaker’s latest project The German Doctor was the top winner at the Argentine Film Academy awards ceremony, picking up 10 Sur Awards including best film and best director.

Lucía Puenzo

Puenzo’s film, Argentina’s entry into the Oscar race in the Foreign Language Film category, also picked up best actor in a leading role for Alex Brendemühl, and seven other statutes for best makeup, editing, art direction, costume design, breakthrough performance by an actress, supporting actor, and supporting actress for Elena Roger.

Produced by Historias Cinematograficas, the film portrays a fictional story based on true events, about Nazi criminal Josef Mengele (played by Brendemuhl) and the time he spent in Argentina hiding after World War II.

The German Doctor

In the story adapted from Puenzo’s own novel, Mengele meets a local family in Southern Argentina and becomes obsessed with their young daughter, to whom he secretly delivers a genetic treatment.

Oscar winner’s Juan Jose Campanella’s Foosball, a 3D animated film with the highest budget ever for a local production, picked four Sur awards, including best original score, sound design, cinematography, and adapted screenplay.

Corazon de Leon, starring local comedian Guillermo Francella, won Best Actress in a Leading Role and Breakthrough Performance by a Male Actor.

Jose Luis Garcia’s The Girl From the South, about South Korean activist Lim Sukyung, won best documentary, while Daniel Gimelberg’s Before grabbed Best Opera Prima.

The original Argentine Film Academy of Motion Arts and Science was founded in 1941 during the country’s golden era of film production, and later banned by the dictatorship in 1955. It was re-founded in Buenos Aires in 2004, and is currently headed by Juan Jose Campanella.