The film ‘Erva Daninha’, by director Guilherme Daniel, was the big winner of this year’s edition of the MOTELX Lisbon horror film festival, after having managed to surprise, fascinate and disturb the members of the jury.
“‘Erva Daninha’ was the film that surprised us the most, we were fascinated and disturbed from the start. In a very tough competition, we were able to truly communicate a supernatural strangeness, and it’s a film that gives us the feeling of being uniquely and authentically Portuguese,” said the jury, consisting of musician Samuel Uria, British author Howard David Ingham and director Raquel Freire, quoted in a statement issued by the film festival organization.
The jury also valued the interpretations of actors Daniel Viana and Isabel Costa, who were “tremendous and sensitive.”
The film tells the story of a couple who cultivate seemingly infertile terrain and who one day finds on earth a black seed that begins to grow and influence their behavior.
This is the second time that director Guilherme Daniel has won this award after winning last year with “The Strange House in the Mist”.
Guilherme Daniel thus won 5,000 euros, “the largest prize for short films in Portugal”, and “Erva Daninha” was also automatically selected for the Méliès d’Or prize, to be awarded by the European Federation of Fantastic Film Festivals, on October 6 at a ceremony in Sitges, Spain.
“The jury also decided to give a special mention to Paulo A. M. Oliveira and Pedro Martins ‘Häuschen – The Heritage’, a ‘modern version of the classic black fairy tale’,” the statement said.
As part of the international competition, created in 2016, the victory went to Russian Kirill Sokolov’s ‘Why Don´t You Just Die!’ Feature film with the MOTELX – Best European Terror Feature/Méliès d’Argent 2019 award.
In this case, it was a “difficult decision” on the part of the jury composed by director David Gregory, director and screenwriter Miguel Gonçalves Mendes and sculptor and prosthetic effects artist Rita Anjos.
In the opinion of the jury, this film deserved to win for its “great freshness and boldness” and for its “multiple twists and dark humor”.
It’s the Russian director’s first feature film and “has been a hit on the international festival circuit,” thanks to “a frantic cat-and-mouse game between a detective and ‘the world’s worst father’, a resentful daughter, her boyfriend , a deceived policeman and an angry thug who is also a caustic commentary on the contradictions of modern Russian society. ”
Like ‘Weed’, this film is also automatically nominated for the Méliès d’Or Award.
The jury also awarded a Special Mention to Irish Lee Cronin’s film “The Hole in the Ground,” “for the precision and control of the suspenseful atmosphere” and “exceptional interpretations.”
Lastly, the Audience Prize went to director Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’, “one of the most anticipated horror movies of the year”, having been chosen from 26 Room Service films, and has already made its premiere in theaters. Portuguese on September 26th.