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Montreal World Film Festival (1999)

by Eddie Cockrell


Montreal Prizes

Posted 10 September 1999

In a year full of pleasant but not spectacular artistic discoveries, the jury of the 23rd annual Montreal World Film Festival awarded Iranian director Majid Majidi his second Grand Prix of the Americas in three years for The Color of Paradise (aka The Color of God), in which an 8-year-old blind boy and his father return to the northern highlands of Iran to search for, respectively, the wonders of nature and a new bride. It is Majidiís first feature since The Children of Heaven, which subsequent to its winning the 1997 Grand Prix of the Americas enjoyed a modest arthouse run in the United States and was one of the Final Five in the Best Foreign Film Oscar balloting earlier this year.

The Special Grand Prix of the Jury was split between screenwriter Hampton Fancherís directorial debut The Minus Man and Italian helmer Giuseppe Piccioniís Not of This World. The Best Director prize went to local writer-director Louis Belanger for his debut work, the dark, romantic, necrophilia-tinged Post Mortem. Spanish vet Carlos Saura won the Best Artistic Contribution award for the technically astonishing biopic Goya in Bordeaux. German actress Nina Hoss picked up the Best Actress prize for her fiery World War II thrush in The Volcano, while Japanese thesp Ken Takakura took home the Best Actor honors as the smalltown stationmaster in Yasuo Furuhataís Poppoya. French director-writer Pierre Jolivet and his co-writer Simon Michael nabbed the Best Screenplay prize for My Little Business.

German animator Kirsten Winter won her second first prize nod for Just In Time, closely followed in the balloting by Village of Idiots, the new short from Oscar-winning duo Eugene Fedorenko and Rose Newlove which also garnered the Fipresci International Critics Award. The Peopleís Choice Award went to Chinese director Huo Jianqiís Postmen in the Mountains, while Jean Beaudinís Memories Unlocked was voted best Canadian feature. The Prix de Montreal for best debut feature went to Mexican helmer Juan Carlos Rulfoís Juan, I Forgot, I Donít Remember, with special mention made of French-Belgian co-production The Carriers are Waiting, from Benoit Mariage.

The jury for the 23rd edition of the Montreal festival was presided over by Swedish actress Bibi Andersson (who could be seen wandering around the festival center Hotel Wyndham Montreal when not in screenings) and consisted of German director Percy Adlon, Quebec-based actress Charlotte Laurier, Italian helmer Mario Monicelli, Irish filmmaker Pat OíConnor, Irish actor Stephen Rea and Argentine director Fernando Solanas.

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