‘Precious,’ ‘Fish Tank,’ ‘Vincere’ win big in Chicago

Posted by · 10:16 am · October 24th, 2009

Michael Fassbender in Fish TankOn the same day that it played to a reportedly warm reception in London, “Precious” continued its impressive streak with the festival-going public by picking up the Audience Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. In case you hadn’t got the idea by now, people really, really like this movie.

It was another grim study of African-American youth, however, that took the festival’s top juried prize, as Tina Mabry’s autobiographical debut “Mississippi Damned” won Best Film, in addition to Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress honors for Jossie Thacker.

The film, about three children seeking an exit from a familial cycle of poverty and abuse, has received glowing notices across the board, inviting critical comparisons to both “Eve’s Bayou” and “Ballast.”

Runner-up honors went Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” which I’ve discussed extensively in the past. It’s gratifying to see this tricky British drama finding favor across the ocean, and I’m pleased to see the film also landing a Best Supporting Actor prize for Michael Fassbender, whose electric, sexually slippery turn in the film has received less press attention than young Katie Jarvis’s admittedly spectacular debut.

The biggest winner in terms of numbers, however, was Marco Bellocchio’s “Vincere.” The film, a Cannes-acclaimed study of Mussolini’s private life, took four awards, including Best Director, Best Cinematography and both lead acting prizes for its stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi.

I’ll have an opinion of my own on the film when I see it at the London fest next week, but the Italians’ decision not to submit it as their Oscar entry looks more and more ill-advised.

Full list of winners here.

→ 8 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

8 responses so far

  • 1 10-24-2009 at 10:41 am

    R.J. said...

    I’ve never heard of “Mississippi Damned” but if it’s being compared to one of my favorite films (“Eve’s Bayou”) then I’ll have to keep a look out for it. I’m still waiting to see “Ballast”, I heard it’s finally coming to DVD on November 10th.

  • 2 10-24-2009 at 11:52 am

    Kelly said...

    I saw “Mississippi Damned” at the Chicago Film Festival and it was my favorite film by far! While I know why people are talking about films like “Ballast” and “Eve’s Bayou” when discussing this film, it is a very different movie than both of those and in my opinion “Mississippi Damned” is amazing in both story and craft. The acting is amazing! As are all the technical components. More people should hear of and know about this film. It really stays with you for a long time. I hope to see it in the theaters very very soon!

  • 3 10-24-2009 at 12:10 pm

    Aaron said...

    Giovanna Mezzogiornio’s best actress prize was very well deserved. She is absolutely brilliant in Vincere.

  • 4 10-24-2009 at 1:15 pm

    Michael said...

    I can’t wait for “Mississippi Damned” to come to theaters. I saw the movie and since have been telling everyone I know about it. It the type of movie you want to see again. Anyone know when it’s coming to theaters?

  • 5 10-24-2009 at 9:34 pm

    Louis said...

    I also saw Mississippi Damned at the Philadelphia Film Festival, and it is fantastic. I am so, so happy that it keeps winning these awards, and so glad that it’ll (presumably…I hope) soon be seen by wider audiences.

  • 6 10-25-2009 at 3:01 am

    Richard Vialet said...

    I saw Mississippi Damned here in LA at the OutFest and I loved it. Really happy to see people liking the movie. It has one of the best ensemble cast performances I’ve seen in YEARS. A true ensemble!

  • 7 10-25-2009 at 9:52 am

    JFK said...

    I saw A Single Man as part of the festival and the decisions were made final before it even screened. I’m not sure what this means, as it was thrown in last minute. I have to show my support for Colin Firth here, Julianne Moore isn’t really in the film long, so I think her chances for an Oscar nod are slim. Having read the novel, the film has taken a lot of liberties, but good ones to enhance the plot in my opinion.

    I was vacillating far too much before I made the final decision to see Fish Tank in the awards reprisal, but I was too late. I did have the misfortune of checking out A Single Man while in Chicago (not part of the festival) and was rather displeased.

  • 8 10-25-2009 at 11:37 am

    rosengje said...

    I hate to keep harping on this, but “Vincere” is the awesome. I am very excited for you to finally see it, Guy. Fish Tank has probably grown the most in my esteem since Cannes, and A Prophet is still probably the best movie I saw, but something about Vincere just really connected with me. Giovanna Mezzogiorno is fantastic and deserves any and all praise coming her way.