Cannes 2023: the winners of Un certain regard under the sign of colonial history, abandoned youth and global impoverishment

British director Molly Manning Walker at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, May 21, 2023.

After ten days of competition and twenty feature films presented, analyzed and debated by critics as soon as the screenings are over, the jury of the parallel section Un certain regard, led by the American actor John C. Reilly, has announced its prize list. , Friday, May 26, during its traditional closing evening. A list of awards which, more or less, reflects the three main themes which, this year, have run through the films in the selection: the exhumation by different countries of their colonial history; bringing to light an abandoned youth, left to fend for itself, condemned to wandering and dereliction; and that of global impoverishment, the effect of which is to engender ever more violence.

The Un Certain Regard prize went to how to have sexfirst feature film by Briton Molly Manning Walker, 29, where three teenage girls treat themselves to an enchanted break (they believe) in a Cretan seaside resort. On the program: alcohol, drugs and sex to excess, sleepless nights and gloomy ideas quickly chased away by artificial paradises, all-out encounters aimed at satisfying immediate pleasure, unfettered hedonism to the point of vertigo and loss of desire itself. Because there is much more at stake here than the frivolity that one would like to believe. The question of consent, among other things, the injunction of the first times to which one submits, and, ultimately, the disillusion that results from it.

dreamlike visions

Among the feature films presented in this forty-fifth edition, Augur, by rapper and performer Baloji, received the New Voice Award. This multifaceted first film, which mixes realism, spiritualism and dreamlike visions, depicts the return to Congo, after fifteen years of absence, of Koffi (Marc Zinga) who has come to introduce his wife (European, pregnant with twins) to her parents. The latter has distanced himself from his origins, his mother who banished him, his district of Lubumbashi who has always considered him a sorcerer. The chaotic reunion with the family will lead to the meeting of three other characters, at odds with their environment. Four voices, four presences that multiply the points of view, ultimately developing a kind of evocative labyrinth of an animist culture, to which the assistant director, to deliver all its complexity, his own artistic, musical, poetic and pictorial universe.

New for this 2023 edition, the Overall Prize crowned Buriti’s Flower, the Portuguese Joao Salaviza and the Brazilian Renée Nader Messora. A journey in time and in the preserved space of the State of Tocantins, in the northeast of Brazil, with the Kraho people. Community threatened for ages, fighting to preserve their land, adapting their rites and their practices without ever denying what connects them to nature. A link that the duo of filmmakers restores through the grace of a slow story adjusted to natural cycles, to daily tasks and gestures, to ancestral rites.

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