The Spaniards Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz and the Argentinian Óscar Martínez star in “Official Competition”, a satire on cinema, acting, and art in which the struggle of egos and the exposure of the actors is shamelessly stripped bare, leaving the “nonsense” of the world, although “in politics, there are many more egos”.
“I think that the world of egos exists in any profession, also in journalism, and in politics, I won’t even tell you: you just have to see the moment we are experiencing, which is spectacular,” says Banderas, alluding to the accusations within the conservative Popular Party in Spain.
In politics, Banderas believes, “there are many more egos than in our world.”
What happens, he explains in an interview, is that the actors have “a permanent magnifying glass” on all the activities they do “on and off camera.” All those “nonsense” that is seen in the film “occur due to the insecurity that being an actor produces because we are very exposed.”
And he says that the actors create “behavioral rituals” to attract good luck, which the master of the stage Oscar Martínez confirms by his side.
“I have been in the profession for fifty years and the fear of being exposed is permanent,” added Martínez. “It is true that it is worse because in the theater it is a leap into the void every night. And the crazy thing is that we all know that it is impossible to repeat what happened the day before.”
For this reason, he appreciates “the opportunity to laugh at ourselves”, which, he considers, “is very healthy”.
The film is based on the whim of a billionaire businessman who wants to make a film to make a mark; To do this, he hires a stellar team made up of the unaffordable filmmaker Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz), recognized as a world phenomenon, and the two best actors of the moment, owners of enormous talent, but with an even bigger ego.
They are the attractive and seductive Hollywood artist Félix Rivero (Banderas) and the radical, meticulous, and perfectionist theater actor Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez), two legends each in their own way, with absolutely irreconcilable characters. The director decides to take them to the extreme, forcing them to perform a series of increasingly strange tests to enter the roles that she has assigned them until the confrontation between the two becomes unbearable.
“She has an ego and a half”, declares Cruz, for whom Lola Cuevas is a woman who “is very afraid”: “I always imagined her having dinner on Christmas Eve alone in a luxury restaurant, thinking ‘I’m fine, I don’t need someone nobody’, but it’s fatal”.
Cruz loves comedies, although he considers that it is difficult for him to get a good script. “It’s a very delicate, complicated genre, but having a script like this and the ‘eye’ of these two -Banderas and Martínez-, who see everything and who have such a peculiar, original and intelligent sense of humor, has been a liberation to be able to play this crazy woman. She unforgettable the wig of abundant red hair curls that identify her.
Directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, the creators of films as funny as “The man next door” or “The illustrious citizen”, one of the most awarded films in Argentine cinematography, winner of the Goya for best Ibero-American film in 2017, “Official competition” does not leave a puppet with ahead.
The directors, also authors of the script together with Duprat’s brother, Andrés, have told Efe that for years they wanted to shoot with Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz (who had already worked together on several Pedro Almodóvar films), and “Official Competition” is the result of four years of scripts in which the actors actively participated. “Without them, it would have been another film,” says Duprat.
In addition to the stellar trio, José Luis Gómez, Irene Escolar, Manolo Solo, Nagore Aramburu, Pilar Castro and Koldo Olabarri share the poster. Although it premiered in the Official Section of the Venice Film Festival, the film arrives in theaters in Spain next Friday, February 25, and in mid-March, it will be released throughout Latin America.