Official Competition Review – Hilarious Satire on Movie Making, A Must See

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Official Competition, from IFC Films, presents a hilarious satire on movie making complete with an eccentric director, her choices for the lead actors, both as eccentric as she, which creates an entertaining and inventive artistic journey.

The film opens with a man Humberto Suarez, played by Jose Louis Gomez, staring at all the amazing gifts he has received for his eightieth birthday, gifts that should bring some joy and satisfaction to his soul. As it is they, like he, will pass and he ponders, speaking to his assistant, Matias, played by Manolo Solo, as he looks out into the horizon, his legacy.

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He decides at this moment he wants to build something that will last, a bridge, with his name of it, a movie, something that will stand the test of time, and future generations will see it and understand that he lived, and he created.

He meets an eccentric director, Lola Cuevas, played by Penélope Cruz, a winner of the coveted Cannes Palme d'Or, she is known for her ingenious artistic insight. She sits with name and explains her vision for the film. She explains the two men who will be the leads, Félix Rivero, played by Antonio Banderas, a global Superstar, and Iván Torres, played by Oscar Martinez, a master of his craft, known to Spaniards as the nation's greatest living actor.

She explains the conflict between the two is apparent in everything they do which is seen immediately. Name arrives in a Lamborghini, roaring up the entrance, passionately kissing his friend and name arrives in a fiscally conservative car. Soon the two, who appear to meet each other on equal footing, both masters in their professions, meet Lola, who has the ultimate control over them.

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They begin the first table read. Lola, our director, poses the same questions to each, and then we see the dedicated craftsman, and the got-lucky Hollywood superstar, as the lines become more definitively drawn, egos, larger than their talent are pitted against each other as they vie for the attention and approval of the director.

We also see Lola, as the eccentric director, opens her show bible a black binder, as she explains she made "some notes" that seem to include, cloth swatches, cut out pictures, even a vanilla wafer as a bookmark for references to her interpretation of the script.

Soon we are into the table read, and from the beginning, as the camera is focused on Ivan who reads the first line, "buenas noches," and we hear Lola, instructs him to repeat the line, and again, and again, and again, until she explains to him the magnitude of these two words and what he must convey not only in the text, the spoken word, but the depth of meaning behind the words, to which he replies, "buenas noches." She approves.

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The rehearsals continue with Lola working to have the actors "feel" the tension, understand the emotions, to bring the emotion, even now during this simple table read. The effort to please her, leads to confrontations between the Felix and Ivan with Lola in the middle to sooth the ruffled feathers and bring both back to center so she can extract from them her vision of the performance. 

Egos, aside, we see as the film progresses, that these two actors represent the world of moviemaking: The superstar with contractual obligations, and riders and the dedicated talent who despises the obscene luxuries afforded to A-listers.

Official Competition is laugh out loud funny and good fun as these extremely talented actors poke fun at the industry and all its quirks, peculiarities, and eccentricities. Official Competition, a comical caricature, is a must see!

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Country: Spain.

Language: Spanish with English Subtitles.

Running time: 114minutes.

Release Date: June 17, 2022.

Writer: Mariano Cohen, Andres Duprat, Gaston Duprat.

Director: Mariano Cohn, Gastón Duprat

Cast: Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez, Jose Luis Gomez, Manolo Solo, Nagore Aramburu, Irene Escolar.

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