The list of winners for the Un Certain Regard competition, which focuses on arthouse and “artistically daring” films, was revealed yesterday, on May 27. Twenty films, including seven first features, which are thus also competing for the Caméra d’Or, were selected for this year’s competition. The top prize was awarded to a French debut feature film directed by Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, and the first Pakistani film to be presented at Cannes won the Jury Prize.
The jury for the Un Certain Regard competition was presided by actress, director and producer Valeria Golino, and comprised of director Debra Granik, actress Joanna Kulig, actor and singer Benjamin Biolay and actor and producer Edgar Ramirez.
The Un Certain Regard Prize was awarded to The Worst Ones (Les Pires), directed by Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret. The film explores the challenges of casting amateur actors, namely here children. The film tells the story of a director and his film crew who go to a working-class town in the north of France, looking for “authentic” actors to star in their film. Local residents are, however, surprised to find that the director has chosen “the worst ones” from their community. The two directors of The Worst Ones, Akoka and Gueret, have worked in casting before.
The Jury Prize was given to Saim Sadiq’s Joyland. It is the first Pakistani film to be presented at Cannes and received a standing ovation at its premiere. Joyland follows Haider, played by Ali Junejo, a seemingly happily married man, whose life is turned upside down when he starts working as a backing dancer for trans performer Biba, played by Alina Khan. This is Sadiq’s first feature film.
Alexandru Belc won the Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard for his film Metronom. This coming-of-age drama, set in 1972 Bucharest, is also a first feature film, and follows teenager Ana, played by Mara Bugaran, as she is confronted with the news that her boyfriend Sorin, played by Serban Lazarovici, is about to leave for Germany to escape the authoritative Romanian communist government.
The prize for Best Performance was jointly won by Vicki Krieps and Adam Bessa.
Vicki Krieps received the Prize for Best Performance for her role in Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage. Krieps reprises the role of Sissi, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Romy Schneider starred in the cult trilogy on the Empress’ life, which really launched her career). Kreutzer’s historical drama has been compared by some critics to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006) in its use of anachronic music for its soundtrack.
Adam Bessa also received the Prize for Best Performance for his role in Lotfy Nathan’s Harka. Set in Tunisia, Harka, Nathan’s debut feature, tells the story of a young man struggling ot provide for his family. Adam Bessa plays Ali who suddenly finds himself in charge of his two younger sisters after the death of his father.
The Prize for Best Screenplay was awarded to Maha Haj for Mediterranean Fever. This is Palestinian writer-director Haj’s second feature. Set in Haifa’s Arab community, Mediterranean Fever tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Waleed, played by Amer Hlehel, who suffers from chronic depression, and his neighbor, Jalal, played by Ashraf Farah, a small-time crook.
Lola Quivoron’s Rodeo won the Un Certain Regard Jury’s “Coup de Coeur.” Set in the Parisian suburbs, Rodeo follows Julia, played by Julie Ledru, who is passionate about motocycling. Unable to buy her own bike, she must revert to petty tricks to live out her passion. She soon meets a group of bikers, but an accident jeopardizes her position within this male-dominated gang. This is Quivoron’s debut fiction feature film.