RIO DE JANEIRO - Sold by Mundial, a joint venture of IM Global and Canana, Fernando Coimbra's "A Wolf at the Door" shared the top fiction feature Redentor prize Thursday with Caru Alves de Souza's "Underage" at a 15thRio de Janeiro Intl. Festival that saw broad-based business, a considerable industry attendance and multiple announcements, goosed by both Brazil's ever-building market and local production boom.
The other big winner in Rio's centerpiece Premiere Brazil for new Brazilian films, its only competitive section, was Hilton Lacerda's "Tattoo," which scooped five plaudits.
"The Man of the Crowd," a directorial two-hander from Marcelo Gomes and Cao Guimaraes, took best director for its parable of big city solitude.
"Wolf" also nabbed actress for Leandra Leal, once best known as a young Globo telenovela star. She acquits herself with honors, per reviewers, in a complex role as a woman who, hauled in for questioning after the abduction of her lover's daughter, spends all of the film lying to the police, much of it lying to other people and some of it lying to herself about her romantic future with a contentedly married man.
Leal already won actress at Rio last year for "Eden." She now rates as one of Brazil's hottest new thesps. "Wolf's" double kudos adds to its Horizontes award at late September's San Sebastian, validating buzz that dates back to its Toronto world premiere.
Already known as a producer - her company, Tangerina Ent., took a producer credit on Tata Amaral's "Antonia" - Alves de Souza's Redentor is early recognition for a mother-son troubled relationship drama first seen in rough cut at San Sebastian's Films in Progress in 2012. It made its world debut there last month.
Talked up by Brazilian critics as this year's competish front-runner- its prize at August's Gramado Festival in southern Brazil may have weighed against it - "Tattoo" still swept the Rio Festival Public Vote, a special jury prize, the Intl. Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) award for Latin American film, best actor (Jesuita Barbosa) and supporting actor (Rodrigo Garcia).
Barbosa plays an 18-year-old soldier and sexual ingenue who falls for the male owner of an anarchist-drag-queen cabaret, the Star-Spangled-Floor, in Recife which, since it can enjoy liberty, at least sets out to be libertine.
In a 1978 Brazil still under the loosening grip of military dictatorship, its floor shows prove far too sexually candid - there's a memorable naked butt number - for the local authorities.
The cabaret members are daubing "the rock paintings of a new age," they declare in an underground movie coda.
One scene in "Tattoo," where the military move in to close down the cabaret, seemed eerily prescient, questioning just how much Brazil has moved on as, 35 years later, as the Rio Festival unspooled, the military police used tear-gas and rubber bullets to dissolve Brazilian teachers' demonstrations for more pay - their wages aren't much above the legal minimum - and more teachers for classrooms.
The Rio Festival wisely sidestepped fracas by moving screenings from the downtown Odeon Petrobras Cinelandia screenings to the more sedate suburb of Botafogo. It held its awards ceremony Thursday night at its dockside RioMarket Pavilion in Brazil's New Port, the scene of a massive inner-city redevelopment scheme, one of the biggest in Latin America.
Selling over 300,000 tickets at 30 cinemas around Rio, this year's fest attracted a considerable contingent of stars and name directors including, just from the U.S., Dakota Fanning, in town to present Kelly Reichardt's "Night Moves," Lee Daniels, whose "The Butler" was the second most-attended movie at the fest, Goldie Hawn, the honorary chair of a first-ever amfAR Inspiration Gala Rio, Paul Schrader, who received a festival tribute, and Jeremy Scahill, for his new docu-feature, "Dirty Wars."
The 15th Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival ran Sept. 26-Oct.11.
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report
2013 RIO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL WINNERS:
BEST FICTION FEATURE (ex aequo)
"Underage," (Caru Alves de Souza)