Latin American Films Awarded at Chicago

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the winners of its 51st edition, which included several Latin American selections.

In the international competition, the Silver Hugo, Special Jury Prize was presented to the Argentinean film Paulina (pictured left) by Santiago Mitre. "A beautifully realized film from Argentina which poses complex political questions that sidestep easy moralizing, causing us to stop and consider how far we would go to preserve our own sense of moral justice" said the jury.

The Silver Hugo for Best Director was awarded to Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín for his film The Club / El club (pictured right) "for masterful direction of actors and assured handling of suspense which stares into the abyss of human depravity." The film was also presented with Silver Plaque, Best Ensemble, "for this incredibly powerful assemblage of great Chilean actors," and the Silver Plaque for Best Screenplay “for delivering a truly profound reality of revenge and compassion."

In the documentary competition, the Mexican film Time Suspended / Tiempo suspendido by Argentinean-born Natalia Bruschtein won a Gold Plaque Special Mention, “a film that combines archival with vérité footage to explore the tension between trauma and memory through the experience of a compelling individual who confronted political dictatorship and memory loss.”

The Gold Hugo, top prize for live action short film was presented to the Colombian film Leidi by Simón Mesa Soto. “A character study set in a broad urban landscape framed by mountains, this portrait of a day in the life of a teenage mother in Medellin, Colombia immerses the audience in its heroine’s concerns and yearnings. Simón Mesa Soto’s sensitive direction gives weight to the subtle and meaning to the unspoken,” said the jury.

The Silver Hugo, Documentary was awarded to the American-Colombian film Santa Cruz del Islote by Luke Lorentzen, while the Gold Plaque, Documentary was awarded to the Chilean short film A Tale of Love, Madness and Death by Mijael Bustos Gutiérrez.

The 51st edition of the Chicago Film Festival took place October 15-29.