Martin Eden wins the 2019 Toronto Platform Prize
by Kaleem Aftab
- Pietro Marcello’s film was awarded by a jury comprising Athina Rachel Tsangari, Carlo Chatrian and Jessica Kiang; other gongs went to Proxima and How to Build a Girl
Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden [+see also:
interview: Pietro Marcello
film profile] has been awarded the 2019 Toronto Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), by a jury comprising award-winning filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian and international film critic Jessica Kiang. The Italian-French co-production is a loose adaptation of Jack London’s 1909 novel about a young proletarian struggling to become a writer. The film stars Luca Marinelli, who won the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday for his portrayal of the aspiring writer.
The jury outlined their reasons for choosing Martin Eden, calling the film “a politically and philosophically provocative story told with extraordinary cinematic invention and grace. It reaffirms a faith that is easy to lose in 2019: that the cinema we know is an iceberg with nine-tenths still remaining to be discovered. This is a classic story told in a novel manner that dips below the surface to find highly unconventional, often archival modes of expression that are irreverent and anachronistic and yet that honour and participate in the history of cinema.”
Director Pietro Marcello told Cineuropa, “We read Martin Eden as a portrait that could anticipate the perversions and troubles of the 20th century.” You can read the full interview here.
Additionally, the jury awarded two Honourable Mentions. One went to Alice Winocour’s Proxima [+see also:
interview: Alice Winocour
film profile], starring Eva Green and Sandra Hüller. The French-German co-production tells the story of an astronaut who must leave her child for a year if she is to fulfil her dream of spending a year living on the International Space Station.
The jury considered the movie “a beautifully down-to-earth, procedural approach to a story about the lure of space vying with the bonds of home, which is for once told from the point of view of a woman who does not apologise for finding as much joy in her vocation as in her family”.
In his review, Fabien Lemercier called the film “striking, captivating and visually accomplished” (read the full review here).
Also given an Honourable Mention was the Canadian-US production Anne at 13,000 ft, directed by Kazik Radwanski, about a day-care worker who has a life-changing experience while skydiving at a friend’s hen party.
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury also announced this year’s prizewinners. The FIPRESCI Prize for the Special Presentations programme was awarded to Coky Giedroyc for her British production How to Build a Girl. Based on Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel, the 1990s-set comedy is a coming-of-age tale about a geeky teenager’s rise to music-critic infamy.
The FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery programme was bestowed upon Heather Young for her Canadian production Murmur, about an isolated woman ordered to perform community service.
Meanwhile, Jojo Rabbit [+see also:
film profile], directed, written by and starring Taika Waititi, won the People’s Choice Award, the audience-voted prize that is seen as a strong indicator for the Oscars. The American film is a World War II satire in which Waititi plays Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, imaginary friend to a ten-year-old boy whose mum is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic. Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite came in second and third, respectively.
The People’s Choice Award in the Midnight Madness section went to the Spanish dystopian horror The Platform [+see also:
interview: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
film profile] by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night was First Runner-up and Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum was Second Runner-up.
The audience voted for Feras Fayyad’s The Cave [+see also:
film profile], with Danish and German co-production partners, as Best Documentary. The film is about a team of female doctors treating casualties in an underground hospital in war-torn Syria. Garin Hovannisian’s I Am Not Alone and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dads took silver and bronze in this category.
The Norwegian co-production 1982 [+see also:
film profile] by Oualid Mouaness was awarded the NETPAC Prize. Finally, the Swiss production All Cats Are Grey in the Dark, directed by Lasse Linder, won the Best Short Film Award.
Here is the full list of award winners:
Grolsch People’s Choice Award
Jojo Rabbit - Taika Waititi (USA)
Marriage Story - Noah Baumbach (USA)
Parasite - Bong Joon-ho (South Korea)
Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award
The Vast of Night - Andrew Patterson (USA)
Blood Quantum - Jeff Barnaby (Canada)
Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award
I Am Not Alone - Garin Hovannisian’s (Armenia/USA)
Dads - Bryce Dallas Howard (USA)
Toronto Platform Prize
FIPRESCI Prize – Discovery Programme
Murmur - Heather Young (Canada)
FIPRESCI Prize – Special Presentations
How to Build a Girl - Coky Giedroyc (UK)
IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film
All Cats Are Grey in the Dark - Lasse Linder (Switzerland)
IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film
Delphine - Chloé Robichaud (Canada)
City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film
The Twentieth Century - Matthew Rankin (Canada)
Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film
Antigone - Sophie Deraspe (Canada/France)
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