Report on the recently ended BCN FILM FEST by Conxita Casanovas
I’ll begin by quoting Cocteau when he said: “They did it because they didn’t know it was impossible.” After wrapping up with such a great vibe and congratulating the organizers for another edition of the BCN FILM FEST, the fourth, which, for obvious reasons, was a veritable pole vault and one we’ll never forget, which is precisely what came to mind when the time came for everyone to bid farewell.
Everything went off without a glitch, not one dodgy microphone, not one faulty connection. We made “La lista de los deseos” and it worked. All the winners, including Best Actor Josh O’Connor, who couldn’t find a better spot to record himself than in his car, sent their messages on time, citing and reciting the wonderful city of Barcelona, the city of wonders, where still, anything is possible if the project has a filmmaker and a crew as enthusiastic behind as the one here.
The audience didn’t fail us either, the spectators who returned to the cinema without fear and, during eight days of vertigo, gave life to the Verdi theatre and its surroundings, enjoying the films we chose to pamper them with. From the get-go, the excellent “One For All”, scheduled for release at the end of the month, to the last “Sound of Metal” that had audiences glued to their seats. And, is there any possible better way to bring the curtain down on a Festival and more impeccably, coming from where we came from, than with a film like that of Darius Marder which reflects on silence and about a drummer who loses his hearing from one day to the next? The trip we took with Riz Ahmed was a huge impact and total success. That British rapper whose eyes we will not be able to forget either.
And the jury came up roses too. Mercedes Sampietro, Judith Colell and Gerard Quintana had plenty to choose from between pink rabbits and wooden dolls, they fell in love with what they thought was the Best Film, the magnificent “Return to Hope Gap” by British director William Nicholson who, adapting and filming his own play and engaging in “less is more”, told us a tale of a couple breaking up, with apparent simplicity but in such a poetic and profound way and with a majestic air we haven’t seen in movies for a long time. Devastating, like the script for the ground-breaking “True History of The Kelly Gang”, a neo-western from Justin Kurzel, already available on screens or Jan Komasa’s “Corpus Christi” which earned the Critics’ Award commanded by Nuria Vidal, Laura Blanco and Tonio L. Alarcón and the Castell de Perelada Festival Prize for Best Soundtrack. Rosamund Pike got the best ROI from the most powerful character, a recently biographed Madame Curie, who never recognized inferiority before men and showed, in a three-minute greeting, that her IQ was at the level of the scientists whom fortunately, we are once again beginning to value.
In that long-distance race that was this year’s Festival, the first post-Covid face-to-face event, we have felt the press and the industry behind us more than ever. We meet at the same round table, talking about cinema and theater, aces like Josep María Pou, Jordi Galcerán, Marta Buchaca, Cesc Gay and Joel Joan. Thanks to online, which has come to stay and we were experimenting as a back-up, we managed to discover a little more about the boy who amazed the world with “1917”, George MacKay, and we connected with Berlin, London – to speak with Peter Cattaneo and Kristin Scott Thomas – Paris… even Tasmania! Major stars like Lambert Wilson, who walked in the shoes of De Gaulle, and directors like Marjane Satrapi opened the doors of their apartments to us, in the wee hours of the morning, extending their interventions without a care in the world, because they were super comfortable, conversations that included an excellent attendance from moviegoers and question galore. Féodor Atkine, another luxury of European cinema, like Emmanuelle Devos, who sent us his “perfume”, mischievously recalled that while they were filming “Pauline at The Beach”, how Éric Rohmer gave preference to the actresses whom he invited to have a drink.
What more could one ask for? We even received a visit from the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, who, relaxed and cordial, presented “Maragall i la Lluna”. Àlex Brendemühl didn’t complain about the heat either when he presented “The Diver Inside” on one of those days when the sun was beating down mercilessly, and he wasn’t missing Ibiza where the film was shot. We sang happy birthday to Emma Suarez in the cinema when she came along to present “Window To The Sea” for us and Cesc Gelabert gave us goose bumps when he revealed that Merce Cunningham had performed ages ago in the Prado cinema in Sitges.
There are so many images that we packed in this year, a year in which we re-released cinema and all its magic, that I almost forgot to tell you about how much and how heartily we laughed during the presentation of the novels by Toni García Ramón, “Mata a tus ídolos” (Kill your idols) and Gemma Nierga and Jaume Figueras, in “El cine que ens va obrir els ulls” (The Cinema that’s going to open our eyes). Or the youthful energy discharged during the simultaneous presentation in several theatres of Oriol Puig’s “El sitio de Otto” with his actors-screenwriters.
More than a thousand people passed through the cinema every day with us and we reached more people than those who reserved for the week. This small festival, where cinema and literature go hand-in-hand so elegantly, will continue to strive to grow without getting inebriated and always striving for excellence. Next year, with more momentum if possible, we will return to our usual month of April. We have already set dates, if the universe allows it, we will open on the 17th and close the day of Sant Jordi to join forces with the most fantastic party of the year.
Amazing what it takes to bring the curtain down. What if, to make things easier, we simply sign off with an “Hasta la vista”?