Official Competition (Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat, 2021) aka Competencia oficial; Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez; A wealthy businessman hires a famous filmmaker to help make a smash hit film.
Rather than a love letter to the cinematic arts, this very funny Spanish-language satire, starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, is more of a poison pen jab to the jugular. It dismantles the lofty ambitions of cinema as great, important and significant, a monument on the cultural landscape. Instead, it shows us art for ego’s sake, and it has a lot of wickedly spiteful fun doing so. The Guardian.
Though it somewhat fizzles out after the climactic twist, Official Competition is a cannily paced, visually gorgeous pleasure: staged in a glossily cavernous arts foundation, it’s designed by Alain Bainée (elegantly repurposing locations including the San Lorenzo de El Escorial auditorium near Madrid) and shot by Arnau Valls Colomer with an eye for highly composed tableaux. It’s up to the viewer, of course, to guess which director Lola might be modelled on – her butterfly glasses suggest Isabel Coixet or Lucrecia Martel, but then both Cruz and Banderas could no doubt tell a story or two about the working methods of Pedro Almodóvar. Sight & Sound.
On Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 151 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Its premise may resonate most with hardcore film fans, but Official Competition's tight focus and sharp humor have a universal appeal."
At the 2021 Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, it won the award for Outstanding International Feature. At the 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival, it won the Audience Award for most popular film in the Galas and Special Presentations program.
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 13 December, 2022 | Now: 13 December, 2022