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The 5th edition of the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival (LEFF), happening in Portugal from November 4th to 11th, opened up last weekend with the presentation of several awards in its inauguration gala, attended by most of the festival guests, including actor Paul Giamatti, directors Luc Dardenne and Leos Carax, cinematographers Peter Suschitzky and Christopher Doyle and jury members and writers J.M. Coetzee and Don Delillo.
A “Life Achievement Award” was given to William Friedkin by festival director Paulo Branco. Friedkin, director of The French Connection and The Exorcist, is the subject of a tribute in this year’s festival and his most recent film, Killer Joe, was the festival’s opening movie. A ‘Tribute Award’ was also given to Wes Anderson, who thanked the audience and the festival in a video clip made specifically for the occasion.
Tribute awards were also given to Leos Carax by Sophie Calle and to Peter Susuchitzky by Paul Giamatti. A festival “Best Friend Award” was also given to Nobel Literature Prize winner J.M. Coetzee by Paulo Branco.
Most sessions for the weekend’s movie premieres — such as Killer Joe, from William Friedkin, Restless from Gus Van Sant, The Ides of March, from George Clooney and A Dangerous Method from David Cronenberg sold out, as well as masterclasses with actor Paul Giamatti, cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Peter Suschitzky, directors Luc Dardenne, Leos Carax and JR and writer Peter Handke.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the masterclass Working with David Cronenberg, that reunited in Estoril director David Cronenberg, actors Paul Giamatti and Sarah Gadon, producer Paulo Branco, cinematographer Peter Suschitzky and rapper K’Naan.
The audience that crowded the Estoril Congress Center auditorium, and that included jury members Don Delillo, J.M. Coetzee, Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt, was able to watch, in a worldwide premiere, a trailer of the David Cronenberg’s movie Cosmopolis, based on the novel by Don Delillo.
A lively discussion of both movies, A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis, followed. Several exhibitions were also inaugurated. “Work in Progress” presents Spanish famous artist Miquel Barceló’s latest works in a much awaited world premiere.
And photo exhibitions such as “Observations of Life” and “Nudes”, by cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, ”Drive by Night”, by cinematographer Darius Khondji and “Gaza 2010”, by photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer (winner of the Carmignac Gestion Prize for photojournalism) offer the public different views of life from behind the camera lenses.
Music is also very much a part of this festival. Rapper K’Naan made a presentation of the impressive videos he did while returning to his native homeland Somalia and afterwards he performed some of his songs to a crowded theater, making several breaks to talk with the public and answer several questions.
Randall Poster, the famous movie music supervisor, was DJ for one night at a LUX, the most famous Lisbon club. And virtuosos Gidon Kremer and Giedre Dirvanauskaite enchanted the audience with a wonderful concert that featured pieces from Poleva, Kancheli, Bach and Sofia Gubaidulina.