“Argentinian first-timer Natalia Garagiola’s Hunting Season, a father-son drama set in the wilds of Patagonia, is the winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week prize,” announces Variety’s Nick Vivarelli. The prize, chosen by the festival audience, goes to a film that “benefits from the approach of its director which has a welcome dramatic maturity and lightness of touch,” finds Nikki Baughan in Screen. “While its story is not new, it is sensitively told, and this nuanced approach, together with compelling performances, helps lift this film above the usual family drama.”
“Garagiola explores the virtually secluded environment that she has created for her heroes and enhances the sentimental impact through the visual aspect of the movie,” writes Vassilis Economou at Cineuropa. “Apart from the obvious juxtaposition between the immense Patagonian landscape, impressively captured by DoP Fernando Lockett, and the almost claustrophobic home interiors, the director reinforces the necessary intimacy via her handheld camera work.”
“I don’t recall anymore whether it was a dream or an image that simply manifested itself and left a mark in my memory,” Garagiola tells Rachel Montpelier at Women and Hollywood. “The image was that of two men, a young one and an older one, wrapped up in a fist fight. Seen from a distance, it seemed like a dance that ended in a hug. Outside, a snow blizzard.”
Back to Nick Vivarelli: “The independently run Venice section dedicated to first works also gave out a prize known as the Verona Film Club Award to Danish director Annika Berg’s Team Hurricane, described in promotional materials as a ‘punk chick flick’ about eight teenage girls whose bond strengthens over one summer. The prize is bestowed to the film deemed the most innovative in the section by a jury of film buffs who belong to one of Italy’s oldest arthouse cinema organizations.”
And back to Rachel Montpelier. Says Berg: “Basically, it’s a love letter to my teenager within—and a reminder to myself, as well as every other former and present teen, to love and nurture the energy and vulnerability that’s so prominent at that age.”
Update, 9/15: “Imagine Harmony Korine’s Gummo overlaid with Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli classic Ponyo and edited by 1970s Jean-Luc Godard,” suggests Kaleem Aftab at Cineuropa, where he also interviews Berg.