Continuing the trend of The simpsons do everything first, Official competition resembles the specificity of the art world satire in The square filtered through the episode in which Mr. Burns realizes he is not well liked and decides to fund a movie about his life in order to build his legacy. But there is no Mexican non-union equivalent of Steven spielberg in charge of a bad biopic about a cruel billionaire old man, but the best of the best in the movie world trying to make a masterpiece – just for all the wrong reasons.
The result is a film designed to be crowd-pleasing in the setting it premieres: a film about absurdities and the claim to make a prestigious award-winning film, presented in official competition at one of the festivals of most prestigious cinema in the world. Fortunately, it works like gangbusters.
When pharmaceutical millionaire Humberto Suarez (José Luis Gomez) at 80, he realizes that he has no inheritance to speak of, not one that ordinary people would care about or remember. His solution? To fund a large and lasting work of art, maybe a bridge, or even a movie. Not just any movie, mind you, but a Great film, based on a Nobel Prize winning book he didn’t want to read but spent an absurd amount of money to buy the rights, starring the country’s two biggest stars and directed by a beloved acclaimed director by critics.
It’s up to Lola Cuevas (Penelope cruz) to manage the two big egos playing the two brothers at the center of the film, which will be titled “Rivalry”. There is Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas), idol and sex symbol, one of the highest paid actors in Spain, and there is Iván Torres (Oscar Martinez), an acclaimed giant in the world of theater, but who has never burst into mainstream Hollywood cinema.
Argentinian directors Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat (The man next door, the distinguished citizen), manage to get a lot of mileage from the premise of Official competition, although this is mostly a series of vignettes where the two actors struggle to put their egos aside and work together. There are arguments about how many awards each has won, how many children they have and with how many partners (when asked for Félix de Banderas, he says it’s only one, and shows his crotch), and other frivolities. Meanwhile, much of the comedy is derived from the experimental and downright cruel ways that Lola tries to get a good performance from her actors during rehearsals.
Cruz is a tour de force as an eccentric director, showing subtle hints of vulnerability hidden behind the grand gestures of a tyrannical genius, such as when she forces Iván to repeat the first line he says during rehearsals six. times (“Good evening”) for apparently no reason, or when she literally has a crane hanging from a rock above the actors’ heads to make their performances more real. Likewise, Banderas looks like he has a ball that exudes confidence playing an exaggerated version of himself as the world’s greatest actor, one with absurd contract clauses like not being able to get his finger touched. face by anyone, bragging about his last paycheck and conquest. , before showing why he is the greatest actor of the moment playing drunk at different levels from one to ten. Banderas also gets arguably the biggest insult scene since Steve Martin’s F-bomb parade in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, prove why Spanish is such a beautifully coarse language.
In many ways, Official Competition, written by the two directors as well as Andres Duprat, feels like a Christophe Guest film without the mock documentary style, but just as specific in its satire. This is a film made for the Twitter Film audience who are obsessed with the behind-the-scenes details of every production, as well as the award-winning prospects of films that hardly anyone has seen yet. It only takes a few rehearsals for Felix and Iván to start discussing their Oscar prospects, only for the latter to say that he would never go to the Oscars to be their token Latin presence – only for the very next one. scene to show him practicing a speech.
The satire and criticism don’t stop at the production level either, with reporters and a festival press conference also receiving more than a few hits, with the kind of selfish questions that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever been on the scene. a question-and-answer session at a film festival. It may be a bit too much in baseball for the general public, but for those in the know, Official competition is the perfect tribute and dismantling of the film industry for years, and certainly the funniest one.
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A huge plate of lore with a side of continuity salad.
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