Turning a Nobel Prize-winning novel into a movie on the whim of a millionaire, “it” director Lola Cuevas pairs two different kinds of actors to breathe life into her version of the story. What could go wrong casting a serious leading actor with a box office action star? Only everything, of course. If you’ve ever been through the rehearsal process with a director that is secure in their vision, Official Competition is for you. The film is a masterclass in writing and acting. It encompasses all the temperamental moments in the history of cinematic genius.
Oscar Martinez plays Ivan will a cultured legitimacy that feels elevated. He has a pedigree and air that is unmatched. His humble passion is so overblown you’ll give him a standing ovation while rolling your eyes. Antonio Banderas plays Felix with a Blockbuster pretty boy carelessness that is so familiar it’s brilliant. He is every cliché wrapped in a bow. Banderas brings a hot-tempered and diva nature to Felix. Almost play acting against Martinez, the evolution of their chemistry is like a tennis match. Each man absorbs traits from the other.
Penélope Cruz is eccentric director Lola. Her commitment to this character is extraordinary. The interactions between Lola and her leading men will have you smirking. The script allows her to push boundaries that challenge her fellow actors and the audience’s comfort. It’s another role that tops the last. She’s cheeky, powerful, unapologetic, and completely unconventional. Cruz gives her best performance to date.
These three astonishingly talented actors epitomize the industry. Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat explore the sheer absurdity of Hollywood. The cinematography is unforgettable. In many instances, our leads speak directly into the camera. Breaking the fourth wall is equal parts intrusive and entrancing. Official Competition might be the most extraordinary industry farce I’ve ever experienced. Making an award-worthy film while simultaneously acknowledging that awards are meaningless is a stroke of genius. It’s a wild meta joyride.
ONLY IN THEATERS JUNE 17, 2022
DIRECTED BY Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat
WRITTEN BY Mariano Cohn, Andrés Duprat and Gastón Duprat
STARRING Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, and Oscar Martínez
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Gastón Duprat (December 8, 1969, Bahía Blanca – Argentina) and Mariano Cohn (December 1, 1975, Villa Ballester – Buenos Aires, Argentina) have directed ten films including the successful “The Man Next Door,” “The Distinguished Citizen,” “Todo sobre el asado,” “My Masterpiece,” and “4×4” which competed in the most important international film festivals garnered with more than thirty international awards, including a Goya, the Platinum and the Ariel for Best Ibero-American Film. “Official Competition” is his latest, and highly anticipated feature film.
NEW YORK THEATERS
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE MANHATTAN 14
28 Liberty Street, Suite SC301 | New York, NY 10005
AMC LINCOLN SQUARE
1998 Broadway | New York, NY 10023
AMC EMPIRE 25 THEATERS
234 W 42nd St | New York, NY 10036
BAM ROSE CINEMAS
30 Lafayette Ave | Brooklyn, NY 11217
323 6th Ave | New York, NY 10014
STORY SCREEN / BEACON THEATER
445 Main St |Beacon, NY 12508
525 Bedford Ave | Bellmore, NY 11710
NEW CITY CINEMAS
202 S Main St | New City, NY 10956
STARR THEATRE – RHINEBECK
6415 Montgomery St | Rhinebeck, NY 12572
SAG HARBOUR CINEMAS
90 Main St | Sag Harbor, NY 11963
120 E Green St | Ithaca, NY 14850
TIME & SPACE LIMITED HUDSON
434 Columbia St | Hudson, NY 12534
7971 Main St, Hunter, NY 12442
SPECTRUM 8 THEATERS
290 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209
175 Wolfs Ln | Village of Pelham, NY 10803
WESTHAMPTON BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
76 Main St | Westhampton Beach, NY 11978
AVON THEATRE FILM CENTER
272 Bedford St | Stamford, CT 06901
CRITERION CINEMAS NEW HAVEN 9
86 Temple St | New Haven, CT 06510
NEW JERSEY THEATER
486 Bloomfield Ave | Montclair, NJ 07042
114 MIN / SPANISH / COLOR
The original version of this review appeared on AWFJ.org. To see more reactions to the Official Competition from the amazing members Click Here!