Cannes Film Festival ends in triumph for Arab films

Published May 24th, 2016 - 10:55 GMT
French-Moroccan director Houda Benyamina accepts the Camera d'Or for the film "Divine" during the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2016. (AFP/Valery Hache)
French-Moroccan director Houda Benyamina accepts the Camera d'Or for the film "Divine" during the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2016. (AFP/Valery Hache)

The 69th Cannes Film Festival has wrapped! British filmmaker Ken Loach was the surprise winner of his second Palme d'Or for his drama 'I, Daniel Blake', but the Arab film industry is also celebrating a victory with the Moroccan film 'Divines' winning the prize for best first feature film (the Camera d'Or, Golden Camera). 

Directed by Houda Benyamina, and starring her sister Oulaya Amamra, the film portrays the story of a young French teenage girl from a tough immigrant suburb who dreams of getting rich quick.

The Doha Film Institute co-financed the Moroccan film, as well as another winning film 'The Salesman', directed by Iran's Asghar Farhadi. 

Houdya Benyamina and the cast of Divines pose with their award. (AFP/Loic Venance)

 

Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini poses with his best actor award for his lead role in Farhadi's film, with jury members Iranian producer Katayoon Shahabi (L) and US actress Kirsten Dunst (AFP/Valery Hache)

This year's festival showcased a wide-range of Arab talent such as Egyptian auteur Yousry Nasrallah's bucolic 'Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces,' about a family of cooks who cater for weddings in the Egyptian countryside, and Egyptian director Mohamed Diab's protest drama 'Clash' which opened the fest's Un Certain Regard section.

The Marche du Film hosted a Dubai Film Market presenting works-in-progress such as Nasrallah's 'Brooks,' Syrian director Maisa Safadi's '4 Seasons, 2 Brothers and a Border,' and Lebanon's 'Fallen From The Sky,' the feature film debut of Beirut-based documaker Wissam Charaf, a graduate of the Sundance Institute's Rawi Screenwriters Lab in Jordan. 

Arab talent also made a good showing on the red carpet, with Zuhair Murad being the standout Lebanese designer chosen by starlets for the high-profile film premieres.  

 
 

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