'Light' finds Chicago Gold

Mexican film takes fest's top honor

The Mexican film "Silent Light" won the Gold Hugo in the feature film competition, the top honor, at the 43rd Chicago International Film Festival.

In all, 102 feature films, 33 shorts and student films and 14 documentaries competed for awards at the festival, which opened Oct. 4 and runs through Wednesday with a closing-night gala screening of "The Savages."

Directed by Carlos Reygadas, "Silent Light" is set in a Mennonite community in Northern Mexico where a deeply religious family man is torn between love of family and the passion he feels for a woman he believes is his soulmate. The film was praised by the festival jury for "its mesmerizing power to make us hear silence in a world of sound."

Previously, the visually stunning "Silent Light" won the jury prize at Cannes.

The Gold Hugo for documentary was given to a U.S. film, "Taxi to the Dark Side," directed by Alex Gibney. Another U.S. documentary, director Brett Morgen's "Chicago 10," won a Silver Hugo in the same category.

The Italian film "In Memory of Myself" won a Gold Hugo in the New Directors Competition. Written and directed by Saverio Costanzo, it centers on a seminarian who grapples with existential issues.

A Chinese film, "Tuya's Marriage," directed by Wang Quanan, was awarded a Silver Hugo as a Special Jury Prize in the main competition for its strong portrait of a woman struggling to survive in a remote landscape.

Swedish director Roy Anderson won a Silver Hugo for direction for his quirky vision and humor in "You, the Living."

Sam Riley won a Silver Hugo for actor for his performance in the British film "Control," which also notched a Silver Hugo for screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh for the screenplay, which was based on a book by Deborah Curtis.

Yu Nan won the Silver Hugo for actress for her portrayal in the Chinese film, "Tuya's Marriage."

In the New Directors category, Brazilian helmer Philippe Barcinski was presented with a Silver Hugo for "Not by Chance."

Chico Teixerira was awarded a Silver Plaque as a new talent in Latin filmmaking for his direction of "Alice's House" (Brazil).

In the Documentary Competition, four other films received honors: "America the Beautiful" (U.S.), directed by Darryl Roberts, won a Gold Plaque in Direction; "4 Elements" (Netherlands), directed by Jiska Rickels, won a Gold Plaque in Photography; "Operation Filmmaker" (U.S.), directed by Nina Davenport, won a Silver Plaque as a Special Jury Prize; and "A Walk into the Sea" (U.S.), directed by Esther Robinson, also won a Silver Plaque as Special Jury Prize.

In the Short Film Competition, "Hesitation" (France, U.K.), directed by Virginia Gilbert, won the Gold Hugo for Best Short Film.

Four films were honored in the Narrative Short Competition: Silver Hugos were awarded to "Partus" (Denmark), directed by Mikkel Munch-Falls, and "Stuck" (Scotland), directed by Graham Drysdale. A Gold Plaque was presented to "27,000 Days" (U.S.), directed by Naveen Singhi, and a Silver Plaque was awarded to "Train Town" (U.S.), directed by Keith Bearden.

Winners in the animated short film competition included "Everything Will Be O.K." (U.S), directed by Don Hertzfeld, and "For Love of God" (U.K.), directed by Joe Tucker, which each won a Silver Hugo. A Gold Plaque was awarded to "Yours Truly" (U.K.), directed by Osbert Parker, and a Silver Plaque was awarded to "Sleeping Betty" (Canada), directed by Claude Cloutier.

In the experimental short competition, a Gold Plaque was awarded to "The Delaware Project" (Canada), directed by Melanie Shatzky and Brian M. Cassidy.

Director Christina Voros' "The Ladies" (U.S.) won a Gold Plaque in the documentary short competition.

"Terra Incognita," directed by Maria Finitzo, won the Chicago Award, which honors area filmmakers.