Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz Blaze in Official Competition
There are directors who are extremely eccentric in nature, yet it is that eccentricity that produces some of their most brilliant masterpieces….but at what cost?
In Official Competition, an aged billionaire entrepreneur Humberto Suàrez (José Luis Gómez) decides to get into the movie business. He commissions international auteur director Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz), Hollywood heartthrob Felix Rivero (Antonio Banderas), and veteran stage thespian Ivan Torres (Oscar Martínez) to collaborate on a cinematic masterpiece. But when these larger-than-life egos arrive for the shoot, they encounter an unexpected series of “rehearsals” set by Lola in this sharp showbiz satire.
You get everything you need to know when Lola delivers a five minute monologue explaining the premise of her look book which is just the tip of the insanity iceberg of her creative process. Lola feels like an amalgamation of every story ever heard about a director whose process is unconventional and stressful, yet ultimately delivering an artistic masterpiece birthed into legendary status. Two scenes which literally had me laughing out loud was when she taped the actors to seats along with their mouths as she proceeded to shred every piece of acting hardware the pair had ever been awarded. Knowing that some of these accolades have taken a lifetime to achieve and watching them destroyed in a shredder was comical in the darkest sense possible. Sometimes, directors may feel as though what they is being required from their actors isn’t being communicated effectively, so they take it upon themselves to act it out. When Lola passionately kisses an actress resulting in them and the mics hitting the floor in all its ridiculousness, your jaw will drop to your crack and howl with laugher simultaneously.
With Felix and Ivan you get the the old school method of acting preparation versus the new school that is more reliant upon digital media than substance. It also pinpoints just how cunning and conniving actors may become to secure that role of a lifetime.
Penelope Cruz is a beast as Lola. From the styling of her character to the off the rails portrayal of holding the audience in the palm of her hands…literally. is as spectacular as they come and a role never seen from this actress…ever!!! Her unbridled commitment to ever scene is impressively inspiring to actors everywhere. The same goes for co-stars Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martìnez, who are equally brilliant sharing the glossy, ugly, compatriot sides all actors experience during the course of a project sometimes culminating in a not so favorable result on both sides.
Everyone in the entertainment industry will be equally appalled and delighted with the performances in Official Competition, as well as, thoroughly engrossed with the direction and screenwriting of Mariano Cohn. Official Competition is a definitive must see, which has been running only in theaters since June 17th.