Chilean film wows judges at Sundance Film Festival

‘To Kill a Man’ becomes third Chilean movie to win world cinema prize at renowned US film festival.

How far would you go to protect your family? This is the question at the center of the latest Chilean film to wow critics and capture international headlines, “Matar un Hombre” (To Kill a Man).

Judges at the Sundance Film Festival praised this brave exploration of fear, intimidation and how to defend ourselves, awarding “Matar un Hombre” the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.

The film follows hardworking family man Jorge as his usually peaceful life is shattered by the appearance of a violent thug, Kalule, who attacks him, stealing his diabetes kit. When Jorge’s son attempts to retrieve the medicine he is shot. Kalule is arrested and goes to prison, but is released a short time later and promptly resumes his harassment of the family, forcing Jorge into an impossible situation: Do nothing while his family is terrorized or adopt violence as a means to protecting the ones he loves.

What follows is a profound exploration of violence against our fellow man and the extraordinary toll this takes on a person’s mindstate.

With this triumph, director Alejandro Fernández Almendras becomes the third Chilean to win the Sundance world cinema award. In 2009, Sebastián Silva’s “La Nana” (The Maid) triumphed, followed three years later by Andrés Wood’s “Violeta se fue a los Cielos” (Violeta Went to Heaven).

Daniel Candia, the actor behind the intriguing, sensitive portrayal of Jorge and his descent into violence, was promoting the film in Europe during the announcement but let fans know how much the accolade meant to him via social media.

“Oh gosh, there is nothing good to drink but I’m so happy I’m almost at a loss for words, I’ve been shouting in the street out of sheer joy,” reads the message posted on the “Matar a un Hombre” Facebook page.

Other big winners at Sundance 2014 were “Whiplash” — a tale of a promising musician driven to breaking point — small town, coming of age drama “Rich Hill” and Syrian documentary “Return to Homs.”

For the full list of winners go to the Sundance Film Festival website.