An unusual Monday for Catalan cinema
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
02/02/2010 - Yesterday was supposed to be a day of celebration for Catalan cinema, as it saw the second edition of the Gaudí Awards, the equivalent of the Goyas. However, the day turned out to be unusually tense due to the movie theatre strike organised after a disagreement between the Government on one side, and distributors and exhibitors on the other, over the quota of films dubbed in Catalan (see news) . This dispute is taking a dangerous and unpleasant political turn (much to the regret of film professionals, who are unable to counteract the demagogic power of certain politicians).
A total of 75% of the region’s movie theatres (576 out of 790) took part in the strike, which was called by the Catalonian Film Entrepreneurs’ Guild in protest against the new Film Law that obliges distributors and exhibitors to dub 50% of film prints in Catalan (with the exception of films whose original version is in Catalan or Spanish and European films released on fewer than 15 screens).
Instead of opening up a debate on the pros and cons of such a measure, the situation has degenerated. In the morning, several cinemas that joined in the strike were found covered in graffiti urging a boycott and condemning their alleged aversion to the Catalan language (“This cinema marginalises Catalan”).
On a more positive note, the Gaudí Awards were presented by the Catalan Film Academy in the evening. The major winners were Mar Coll, whose debut feature Three Days with the Family [trailer] scooped Best Catalan-language Film, Best Director and Best Actress (Nausica Bonnin); and Isaki Lacuesta, who won Best Film in a Language Other than Catalan for The Condemned and Best Documentary for Garbo, the Man Who Saved the World [trailer], which he co-directed with Edmon Roch and María Hervera.
Fortunately, the gala ceremony went smoothly, focusing exclusively on cinema and almost without reference to the day of intense strikes.
(Translated from Spanish)