“Official Competition”: a comedy about cinema

In the midst of the Hollywood nonsense that floods theaters on these sides every week to lull people to sleep, the premiere of the Spanish comedy official competition It is for me a breath of fresh air more than necessary. As far as I know, it is directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn, a duo of Argentine directors who a few years ago made me yawn a few times with the distinguished citizen(also with the regular My masterpiece directed by Duprat alone). I wasn’t expecting too much, but here his proposal forces me to abandon my prejudice for his cinema because, to tell the truth, I find it quite entertaining.

It is a black comedy that satirises, with a certain subtlety, the egotism of the actors and the vanity of the entertainment industry, with three more than pleasant central performances by Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Óscar Martínez.

Its plot is about Lola Cuevas, a famous and somewhat eccentric filmmaker who is hired by a capricious millionaire to make a movie with two diametrically opposed actors who have egos the size of a mountain. One is a boastful, extroverted, womanizing Spanish actor who has triumphed in Hollywood in blockbusters and has garnered countless awards for his career. The other is an even-tempered, introverted, proud Argentine actor, perpetually absorbed by the arthouse doctrine of cultural snobbery and delusions of grandeur that manifest as discreet outbursts of arrogance and envy.

The fact is that the plot is hilarious to me when the director exercises her creative authority to direct the two egotistical actors, while the rivalry of both reveals their inner miseries in the simulation games and they are prisoners of the fight of egos during each one. of the rehearsals prior to filming that slowly transform the script into a film a priori. And it reaches, in my opinion, the highest note with the immense chemistry shown by Cruz, Banderas and Martínez (in fictional versions of themselves) when they express their concerns in front of the camera, in scenes endowed with intelligent dialogues that they always maintain with much consistency the bold, cynical and unabashedly funny tone of his narration.

The trope of the cinema within the cinema serves Duprat and Cohn not only to examine with several layers of parody the two faces of the actor that are stained by pedantry and the trappings of personal prestige, but also the power of acting as a mirror. that mimics through sketches the abstract realities externalized by the borderline frames of fiction, where the mere concept of truth is reduced to a simulated lie. His staging is visually constructed with a very successful compositional care, where the framing is sometimes a display of elegance, geometries and shapes in the spaces that are most open to postmodern architecture of interior designs. The result of the satire is pleasant, insolent, with the right dose of comedy and dramatic character. Deposit my interest in the future works of these directors.

Data sheet

Original title: official competition

Year: 2021

Duration: 1hr 54mins

Country: Spain

Director: Gaston Duprat, Mariano Cohn

Script: Gaston Duprat, Mariano Cohn, Andres Duprat


Photography: Arnau Valls Colomer

Distribution: Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Oscar Martinez,

Qualification: 7/10

“Official Competition”: a comedy about cinema