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Karim Aïnouz’s The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao took the top prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar, as the section unveiled its winners Friday evening. Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole nabbed best director honors.
Invisible Life chronicles the story of two women struggling with repression and prejudice in 1950s-era Brazil and drew upon Aïnouz’s memories of his single mother.
“I’m very proud to represent Brazil,” the filmmaker told the audience inside the Palais. “We are going through something in Brazil now that is very, very hard that has to do with intolerance.”
Bruno Dumont’s Joan of Arc received the night’s first special mention, while Chiara Mastroianni landed the top performance statuette for her role in Christophe Honoré’s On a Magical Night.
“It’s the first time I’ve won a prize and I’m very surprised, very moved. I just thought I was coming along with Christophe, so I’m really speechless,” said Mastroianni of her director, appearing visibly emotional and teary-eyed.
Olivier Laxe’s Fire Will Come was awarded the jury prize, while the jury coup de coeur went to two films: Monia Chokri’s A Brother’s Love and Michael Covino’s The Climb. Albert Serra’s Liberte received the special jury prize.
Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki, whose Capernaum was nominated for a best foreign-language Oscar this year, headed up the jury.
“We had a great time and it was an emotional journey,” Labaki said in her opening remarks. “And I’m very touched to have shared these last 10 days with you. … The jury would like to express the great pleasure we had diving into the diversity of the selection. … It was very stimulating to see side-by-side filmmakers that have mastered the language and those that are still finding their voice. Enriching because it’s difficult to — not judge, but to say who is best. You’ve already achieved so much by being in one of the greatest film festival in the world.”
Lukas Dhont, whose Girl won the Camera d’Or and FIPRESCI prize in the section last year before going on to be nominated for a Golden Globe, and French actress Marina Fois were also on the jury.
German producer Nurhan Sekerci-Porst — who was behind In the Fade, for which Diane Kruger earned best actress honors at Cannes and which won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film last year — and Jauja director Lisandro Alonso rounded out the panel.
There were 18 films in the section:
Invisible Life, Karim Aïnouz
Beanpole, Kantemir Balagov
The Swallows of Kabul, Zabou Breitman & Eléa Gobé Mévellec
A Brother’s Love, Monia Chokri
The Climb, Michael Covino
Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont
Fire Will Come, Olivier Laxe
On a Magical Night, Christophe Honoré
Port Authority, Danielle Lessovitz
Papicha, Mounia Meddour
Adam, Maryam Touzani
Nina Wu, Midi Z
Liberte, Albert Serra
Bull, Annie Silverstein
Summer of Changsha, Zu Feng
Homeward, Nariman Aliev
The Bears Famous Invasion, Lorenzo mattotti
Once in Trubchevsk, Larisa Sadilova
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