"Madre (Mother)" - Spain - I would give this movie the award because it creates a real and true sense of horror with only 2 actresses in an apartment. A mother receives a phone call from her 6-year old son who has been abandoned by his father on a beach. The boy doesn't know where he is, somewhere near the Spain/France border, it's getting dark, there is no one around, and the phone battery is dying. The mother frantically tries to get information and report it to the police, but they are no help. Finally the boy says a man is approaching him and the phone goes dead. I'm going to be on the lookout for Rodrigo Sorogoyen because he has a sense for suspense on par with Hitchcock.
"Fauve" - Canada - 2 boys go have a day of mischief when they find themselves in a quarry and encounter a deep pit of sticky mud. Very bad things happen from there.
"Marguerite" = Canada - This was the only "uplifting" movie in the bunch and even it was sad. An old dying woman is being taken care of by a young assistant. It comes to light that the assistant is a lesbian. The old woman then recollects that she too had a female lover many years ago, but she could not reveal her love because it was taboo at the time. It's implied that she always carried that love in her heart and wonders about how things might have been. Her assistant provides her with some loving comfort. This might win since it was the least depressing of the bunch.
"Detainment" - Ireland - And we're back to children in peril. The most disturbing thing about this film was that it was based on a true life case of 2 10-year old boys who brutally murder a 2-year old boy for no apparent reason. I looked it up. It happened in 1993 and shocked the UK. The film is highly controversial. People started walking out on this one.
"Skin" - US - We had all had enough of dying children at this point, and there was a collective groan as the still picture used to introduce the film was of a young boy holding a shotgun. It's the happy tale of a white supremacist who teaches his young son all of the pleasures in life like drinking beer, shooting guns, and hating black people. The father and his buddies beat the hell out of a black man in front of his wife and kids. That caused more people to leave the theater. The black man gets revenge with the help of his homies in a most unusual way. Let's just say that the skinhead could run for office in Virginia. And then there is a violent surprise ending.
When the lights came on there was a collective sigh and laughter as we all seemed to have the same thought of "what the hell did we just experience?!?" We also noted that what was an almost full theater at the start was now just about half full. That many people had walked out. Fortunately Kitty and I had planned on walking down the street to an Irish pub for dinner. We both needed a drink.