Official Competition

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Official Competition
Theatrical release poster
SpanishCompetencia oficial
Directed byGastón Duprat
Mariano Cohn
Written by
  • Mariano Cohn
  • Andrés Duprat
  • Gastón Duprat
Produced byJaume Roures
CinematographyArnau Valls Colomer [ca]
Edited byAlberto del Campo
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 4 September 2021 (2021-09-04) (Venice)
  • 25 February 2022 (2022-02-25) (Spain)
  • 17 March 2022 (2022-03-17) (Argentina)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
  • Spain
  • Argentina
Box office$4.7 million[2]

Official Competition (Spanish: Competencia oficial) is a 2021 Spanish-language black comedy-drama film directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn,[3] from a screenplay by Duprat, Cohn and Andrés Duprat. It stars Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez.


On his 80th birthday, Humberto Suárez, an ageing multi-millionaire, wonders about his legacy and considers financing the construction of a bridge. Instead, he decides to finance a film so that people will look fondly upon his legacy. He selects the reclusive Palme d'Or laureate Lola Cuevas to be the director, with the screenplay being adapted from a Nobel Prize-winning novel titled Rivalry about a man who is unable to forgive his brother for killing their parents in a drunk-driving incident. The two brothers are to be played by acclaimed stage actor Iván Torres and celebrity actor Félix Rivero; Iván is a method actor who has extensively prepared his character's past, while Félix is a more mainstream Hollywood actor who finds Iván's methods pointless.

Lola proves herself to be a highly eccentric director who makes extensive notes and requires increasingly bizarre exercises of her actors, such as forcing them to repeat single lines or words until she believes they are convincing enough, refusing to show up at rehearsals, and at one point dangling a large (fake) boulder over the heads of Iván and Félix via a crane to emulate the tension of the scene they are rehearsing. One session involves Iván and Félix being tied to chairs and forced to watch as Lola crushes their various awards in an industrial shredder, including a handmade one that was given to Iván by students at a disabled school where he once taught.

One day during rehearsals, Félix tells Lola and Iván that he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is on palliative care, hoping that Rivalry will be his final masterpiece. Iván privately suggests to Lola that he could double up in order to play both brothers if Félix ends up unable to complete the project. Felix later confesses to them both that his diagnosis was a lie that he used in order to prove to the pair that he could fool them with his acting. Iván commends his performance and tells him that he believes Félix to be a better actor than he is, before revealing that this too was a lie as payback.

Eventually, they reach the final scene of the film, where Félix's character murders Iván's and takes over his brother's life. At a party held by Humberto to commemorate the film starting shooting, Félix overhears Iván describe him as the worst actor he has ever worked with. Félix confronts him on the roof of the building, where Iván attempts to punch Félix who accidentally throws him from the roof, rendering him comatose. Assuming that he must have jumped, Iván's wife is comforted by Félix; however, Lola seems to recognize that Félix is merely acting surprised at the incident.

There is a montage of what everyone ends up doing next. Suárez builds and opens the bridge. The film proceeds to shooting, with both roles played by Félix. At a post-screening Q&A, Lola bluntly denies any perceived meaning that the critics read into her film and gives one-word answers. In the final scenes narrated by Lola who directly addresses the audience, Humberto decides to finance a bridge, Félix returns to Hollywood projects and Iván wakes from his coma and curses Félix's name.



In January 2020 casting was announced featuring Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Oscar Martínez, Pilar Castro, Irene Escolar, Carlos Hipólito, José Luis Gómez, Nagore Aranburu, Koldo Olabarri and Juan Grandinetti with Gastón Duprat & Mariano Cohn directing from a screenplay penned alongside Andrés Duprat [es].[7] Cruz and Banderas had only shared onscreen time before during two minutes of Pedro Almodóvar's 2013 film I'm So Excited!.[8]

The film was produced by The Mediapro Studio, with the participation of RTVE, TV3, and Orange España.[9]

Principal photography began in February 2020.[10] In March 2020, production was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] Shooting resumed in September 2020 and the wrap was announced in October 2020.[12] Filming took place in the Spanish cities of Madrid, San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Ávila.[13]


Official Competition had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 4 September 2021.[14] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in mid-September 2021.[15] Buena Vista International released the film in Spain on 25 February 2022. Protagonist Pictures handled the international distribution rights.[9]

Star Distribution (formerly known as the Latin American branch of Buena Vista International) acquired distribution rights for Latin America.[8] In the case of Argentina, the film was released on 17 March 2022.[16] IFC Films purchased the theatrical release rights for the United States.[17]


On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 156 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Its premise may resonate most with hardcore film fans, but Official Competition's tight focus and sharp humor have a universal appeal."[18]

At the 2021 Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, it won the award for Outstanding International Feature.[19] At the 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival, it won the Audience Award for most popular film in the Galas and Special Presentations program.[20]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2022 30th Actors and Actresses Union Awards Best Actress in an International Production Penélope Cruz Nominated [21]
2023 10th Feroz Awards Best Comedy Film Won [22]
37th Goya Awards Best Cinematography Arnau Valls Colomer Nominated [23]
10th Platino Awards Best Ibero-American Comedy Film Won [24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official Competition". Venice International Film Festival. 16 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Official Competition". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  3. ^ Bałaga, Marta (5 September 2021). "Crítica: Competencia oficial". Cineuropa.
  4. ^ a b c d Gyarkye, Lovia (4 September 2021). "Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas in 'Official Competition' ('Competencia Oficial'): Film Review | Venice 2021". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ a b Torres, Salva (25 February 2022). "Oscar Martínez: "La inseguridad es una patología universal de los actores"". Makma (in Spanish).
  6. ^ "Estrena als cinemes de "Competència oficial"" (in Spanish). Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals. 7 February 2022.
  7. ^ Lang, Jamie (30 January 2020). "Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas to Co-Star in 'Competencia Oficial'". Variety. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b Hopewell, John (22 July 2021). "Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas Comedy 'Official Competition' Drops First Teaser Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  9. ^ a b "'Competencia Oficial' llegará a los cines bajo distribución de Buena Vista International". Audiovisual451 (in Spanish). 29 June 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  10. ^ Grater, Tom (14 February 2020). "Hot Berlin Project: Antonio Banderas & Penelope Cruz Comedy 'Official Competition' Boarded By Protagonist Pictures". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  11. ^ Roxborough, Scott (13 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas Film 'Official Competition' Suspends Production". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  12. ^ Silvestre, Juan (15 October 2020). "Penélope Cruz y Antonio Banderas finalizan el rodaje de 'Competencia oficial'". Fotogramas (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  13. ^ ""Competencia oficial" culmina su rodaje en localizaciones de Madrid". Madrid Film Office. 20 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  14. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (26 July 2021). "Venice Film Festival Full Lineup Unveiled – Live Updates". Variety. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  15. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (20 July 2021). "Toronto Film Festival Lineup Adds 'Dear Evan Hansen,' 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' and 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'". Variety. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  16. ^ ""Competencia Oficial", de Cohn y Duprat, abre el José Ignacio International Film Fest" (in Spanish). Télam. 30 December 2021.
  17. ^ Keslassy, Elsa; Yossman, K.J. (21 October 2021). "Penelope Cruz-Antonio Banderas Starrer 'Official Competition' Scooped by IFC Films (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  18. ^ "Official Competition". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  19. ^ Macdonald, Donald (3 October 2021). "Sudbury entertainment briefs: New novel; Cinefest awards". Sudbury Star.
  20. ^ Newton, Steve (13 October 2021). "Vancouver International Film Fest announces award winners". The Georgia Straight.
  21. ^ Aller, María (15 March 2022). "Premios Unión de Actores 2022: 'El buen patrón' arrasa entre los premiados". Fotogramas (in Spanish).
  22. ^ Gualda, Lucía (29 January 2023). "Premios Feroz, en directo: los premiados a mejor película, mejor serie y mejor actriz y actor protagonistas". Vanitatis – via El Confidencial.
  23. ^ "'As bestas' es la favorita de los Premios Goya del relevo generacional: listado de nominaciones". Cinemanía. 1 December 2022 – via
  24. ^ ""Competencia oficial", Premio Platino a la mejor comedia iberoamericana". Infobae. 22 April 2023.

External links[edit]