'Facing Window' picked as SIFF's best film

Category: Dear Frankie News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: June 14, 2004 | Publication: SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER MOVIE CRITIC | Author: By WILLIAM ARNOLD
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"Facing Window," an Italian-British-Turkish-Portuguese co-production directed by "Emerging Master" honoree Ferzan Ozpetek, was named best picture yesterday in the closing-day award ceremonies of the 30th Seattle International Film Festival.

Runners-up for the top Golden Space Needle Award were the two-part, six-hour Italian epic "The Best of Youth"; the Israeli domestic comedy "Bonjour Monsieur Shalomi"; and the Oscar-nominated Japanese period drama, "The Twilight Samurai."

Voted best director was Italy's Marco Tullio Giordana for "The Best of Youth," with runner-up spots going to Turkey's Ozpetek ("Facing Window"), China's legendary Zhang Yimou ("Hero") and America's Zach Braff ("Garden State").

The best actor was Spain's Luis Tosar ("Take My Eyes") in a field that included America's Zach Braff ("Garden State"), Japan's Hiroyuki Sanada ("The Twilight Samurai") and France's iconic star Gérard Depardieu ("Ruby & Quentin").

The best actress was Colombian newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace"), nosing out Spain's Laia Marull ("Take My Eyes"), Hong Kong veteran Maggie Cheung ("Hero") and America's Natalie Portman ("Garden State").

The best documentary award went to India's "Born into Brothels," above three U.S. runner-ups: "The Corporation;" the Seattle-made "Big City Dick" (a profile of local street musician Richard Peterson); and "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster."

Jason Reitman's "Consent" was best short film, with honorable mention for "Day of the Dead," "Oedipus" and "Tackle Box." The Women in Cinema "Persistence of Vision" Award went to Scotland's "Dear Frankie," directed by Shona Auerbach.

The Refracting Reality Documentary Award was voted by a special festival jury to two co-winners: Great Britain's "Searching For the Wrong-Eyed Jesus" and South Korea's "The Game of Their Lives."

Special juries gave the New American Cinema Award to "Incident at Loch Ness," for "its hilarious genre-bending originality," and the New Directors Showcase Award to France's "Wild Side," for "redefining family with compassion."

This 30th anniversary edition of America's largest, longest and best-attended film festival was the first since founder Darryl Macdonald turned over leadership to a new team: festival director Helen Loveridge and director of programming Carl Spence. But the logistically complex undertaking seems to have come off with relative smoothness and a record box-office take, up an impressive 20 percent over last year.

An unusually strong line-up of films and a lot of rainy days may have helped, but -- like any good commander -- Loveridge credits SIFF's "most successful year yet" to "the exceptional dedication of our year-round and festival staff."