Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Actor with Down's Syndrome wins prestigious award at San Sebastián film festival

Pablos Pineda has won the Silver Shell prize at the recent San Sebastian film festival. He is the first actor with Down ’s Syndrome to win this significant award.

The film, Yo, Tambien, (Me too) shows how an isolated woman finds comfort and shelter with a young man who has Down ’s Syndrome. The film was directed by Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Haharro.

The San Sebastian Film Festival is the oldest and most prestigious in the Spanish speaking World with a strong focus on European and U.S. movies.

Pineda, who is 35, also happens to be the first person with Down’s Syndrome to receive an university degree and plans to pursue his interest in teaching rather than continue on with acting in the future.

In Variety, Jonathan Holland reviews of the film:

Pineda does good work in a first acting role that seems to have been modeled on aspects of his own experiences. He delivers a finely judged, no-nonsense performance, and his self-deprecating humor prevents us from feeling mere sympathy for him.

Though in later scenes, Daniel's awkwardness in pursuing Laura can be tough to watch, there's real chemistry between the two, for which the alert Duenas is also largely responsible. Details of Laura's own family problems, which dubiously attempt to establish her as an outsider like Daniel, seem drawn from a gritty-domestic-drama template and can hardly compete with the main story.

Scenes shot at a DS dance class develop a powerful secondary against-the-odds romantic storyline between a DS couple (Daniel Parejo and Lourdes Naharro) -- that threatens to take over the film. The storyline also includes the pic's strongest scene: seemingly improvised, beautifully authentic and quietly celebratory.

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