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Four African Filmmakers Win Big at Cannes Film Festival

Four African Filmmakers Win Big at Cannes Film Festival

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Moroccan Filmmaker, Kamal Lazraq, wins Jury Prize in 2023 Un Certain Regard.

By Helena Olori

After its 11 days celebration of artistic brilliance and diversity in filmmaking that saw 21 world premieres of major films and several red-carpet parades, the 76th edition of the Festival de Cannes came to an end on Saturday with presentation of prizes to its winners’ list, which hosted four filmmakers of African descent in the “Un Certain Regard” category.

The four winning projects include Les Meutes (Hounds) by Moroccan filmmaker, Kamal Lazraq, which won the Jury Prize. Asmae El-Moudir won the Directing Prize for her film, Kadib Abyad (The Mother of All Lies). Belgian-Congolese musician and actor, Baloji’s directorial debut, Augure (Omen), bagged the New Voice Prize award, while Goodbye Julia, directed by Sudanese Mohamed Kordofani, got the Freedom Prize award.

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Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia is a 120-minute-long fiction feature film about two women who represent the complicated relationship and differences between the Northern and Southern Sudanese communities. The story takes place in Khartoum during the last years of Sudan as a united country.

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Augure (Omen), which is Baloji’s first feature film, was shot in DR Congo and Belgium. The film follows the story of four people falsely accused of practicing witchcraft and sorcery. Despite their misfortune, they embark on a journey to liberate themselves from the shackles of societal expectations, delving into the mysterious realm of Africa.

In Kadib Abyad (The Mother of All Lies), El-Moudir draws a connection between history and contemporary Morocco as a young Moroccan woman becomes entangled in a web of lies in her family history while searching for the truth. Lazraq’s Les Meutes (Hounds) portrays the story of Hassan and Issam, a father and son engaged in petty trafficking jobs for the local mafia in the suburbs of Casablanca. Their lives take an unexpected turn as things go awry while kidnapping a man.

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Focused on arthouse and artistically daring films, the 2023 Un Certain Regard had 20 selected feature films, eight of which are first features, including Augure, Goodbye Julia, and Les Meutes.

Among the Cannes Film Festival’s noteworthy wins is Justine Triet’s film, Anatomy of a Fall, which clinched the Palme d’Or, the most prestigious award at the Cannes Film Festival, edging out 20 competitors. Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest claimed the Grand Prix award. Tran Anh Hung was honoured with the Best Director accolade for The Pot-Au-Feu, while Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismaki took home the Jury Prize.

The Jury of the 76th Festival de Cannes includes American actress, Brie Larson, Maryam Touzani, Denis Menochet, Rugano Nyoni, Paul Dano, Atiq Rahimi, Damian Szifron, and Julia Ducournau, chaired by Swedish director, Ruben Ostlund.

See full list of winners here.

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