Monday, January 29, 2007

Penelope Cruz and "Volver" take top Spanish film awards

Spanish actress Penelope Cruz poses for photographers after her arrival at the Spanish Film Academy "Goya" award ceremony in Madrid January 28, 2007. [Reuters/Victor Fraile ]

The tragicomic tale of a mother's survival, "Volver" swept to a triumphant victory at Spain's top film awards early on Monday, grabbing best movie, director and best actress for Oscar hope Penelope Cruz.

The movie, set in Spain's barren La Mancha region, won five prizes at the Goya awards ceremony in Madrid, beating off "Pan's Labyrinth", which was last week chosen ahead of "Volver" as a nominee for best foreign language film at next month's Oscars.

"Volver" tells the story of Raimunda, played by Cruz, a young and hard-working wife of an unemployed husband whose roving eye falls upon her teenage daughter, and of Raimunda's revenge.

At the same time, Raimunda's sister has begun seeing the ghost of their dead mother, visions that lead to the unravelling of a mystery that has strained family relations.

Holding back the tears as she gripped her award statue, Cruz thanked Spanish director Pedro Almodovar for one of the best experiences of her life. She will be hoping to make a similar speech in Hollywood on February 25, after becoming Spain's first-ever nominee in the Oscars' best actress category.

Almodovar's award was his second Goya for best director, but the maker of "All About My Mother" stayed away, blaming nerves. In 2005, he resigned his seat at the Spanish Film Academy over the way films were judged for the competition.

"Pan's Labyrinth", by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, scooped seven awards at the glittering ceremony, including best script and best new actress for young star Ivana Baquero.

The film, billed as an "adult fairy tale", is the story of a girl who learns about good and evil from a fawn in the Spanish forest shortly after the country's civil war.

The best leading actor award went to Juan Diego, who plays a father disgruntled at the reappearance of his grown-up son in "Vete de Mi".

He beat Spanish-speaking New York actor Viggo Mortensen, best known as Aragorn in "Lord of the Rings", who starred as swashbuckling Spanish hero "Alariste". The film, the most-expensive ever made in Spain at $28 million, picked up three awards from 15 nominations.

British film and Oscar nominee "The Queen" won best European film beating last year's winning director, Woody Allen, whose film "Scoop" was nominated.


cormac said...

And so they should! I thought this was a beautifully crafted film. The story was subtly insinuating and the casting perfect. I'm not a big Cruz fan - certainly not when it comes to the mainstream - but she's wonderful in this. Also good to see other films in the Spanish tongue making headlines of late... a cultural spin on the Hispanic Menace?!