Marrakech Fest: South Korea's 'Han Gong-Ju' Takes Top Prize

"Han Gong-Ju"

Jeremy Saulnier's "Blue Ruin" and Cuban entry "The Swimming Pool" were also recognized by Martin Scorsese's jury.

MARRAKECH, Morocco – The curtain closed on the Marrakech Film Festival with the awards being handed out on Saturday evening by jury president Martin Scorsese and jurors Fatih Akin, Patricia Clarkson, Marion Cotillard, Amat Escalante, Golshifteh FarahaniAnurag Kashyap, Narjiss Najjar, Park Chan-Wook, and Paolo Sorrentino.

The top prize, the festival’s Golden Star, went to Korean Lee Su-Jin for Han Gong-Ju. In his speech, the first-time director thanked the jury and offered up his “deep respect” for the panel.

“I will never forget when they were all watching my movie just in front of me,” he said.

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The multi-cultural jury made it a point to speak this week about how they had very intense discussions about the films. In the end, it seems they had a tough time making a decision, with both the jury prize and the best actor prize being co-awarded.

The Jury Award was given to both Jeremy Saulnier’s crowd-funded revenge tale Blue Ruin, and to Cuba’s The Swimming Pool from first-time director Carlos Machado Quintela. “I just want to share this award with my colleagues that I’ve met here during the festival and the other filmmakers in the competition," said Quintela.

Saulnier, who also took home the FIPRESCI prize for his director’s fortnight entry at Cannes earlier this year, was not on hand to accept his award.

Italian director Andrea Pallaoro was awarded the best director prize for his tale about a dairy farmer’s struggle to keep his family from falling apart. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “From this extraordinary jury it is such an honor, and to be included in a competition with films I really truly respect and admire that moved me so much.”

Swede Alicia Vikander took home the best actress prize for Hotell, the story of young woman who moves from hotel to hotel in an effort to become a new person each time. Vikander was presented the award by the actresses on the panel, Cotillard, Clarkson and Farahani.

“Thank you to all the actresses that moved us,” said Cotillard before announcing the winner. “The one we choose to honor tonight touched our hearts deeply.”

A visibly moved Vikander accepted the award, thanking director Lisa Langseth for their second collaboration. “It’s really an honor to get this award because this film meant so much to me. Something else that means a lot to me and that’s you, Lisa,” she said. “It feels like you’ve given me the tools to evolve as an actress. It feels like I’ve matured, I’ve grown up. My career started with you and thank you forever for that.” Vikander is starring in the upcoming The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The best actor prize was co-awarded to the father-son duo of French-Moroccan co-production Fevers, Didier Michon and the young Slimane Dazi. The award was presented by Moroccan director Najjar. “Tonight we are celebrating the hope, the hope of a free cinema, and more particularly, the hope of a country,” she said, to huge applause from the audience.