Director Ali Abbasi’s “Border” (“Grans”) has been named the best film in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, a sidebar to the main competition that is largely devoted to younger directors and more experimental films.
The film, whose U.S. rights were acquired by Neon during the festival, is part horror film about maggot-eating trolls, part timely allegory about how we treat outsiders. “Either way, it’s creepy and disturbing and freaky, with enough room to find whatever subtext you’re looking for,” wrote TheWrap in its review.
It also includes a jaw-dropping scene of troll sex that had the Cannes audience both squirming in its seats and laughing nervously.
Sergei Loznitsa won the UCR best director award for “Donbass,” his searing and sometimes surreal look at the war in his homeland of Ukraine.
Viktor Polster, a teenaged dancer who starred in Lukas Dhont’s moving “Girl” as a transgender girl with aspirations of becoming a ballerina, won the award for the section’s best performance.
Meryem Benm’Barek won the screenplay award for “Sofia.”
Other contenders in Un Certain Regard included Vanessa Filho’s “Angel Face,” Antoine Desrosieres’ “Sextape,” Valeria Golino’s “Euphoria,” Wanuri Kahiu’s “Rafiki” and one of the latest to screen, Bi Gan’s wildly acclaimed “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
The jury was headed by Benicio del Toro and also included actress Virginie Ledoyen, director Kantemir Balagov, writer-director Annemarie Jacir and Telluride Film Festival director Julie Huntsinger.
Prizes in the main competition, including the Palme d’Or, will be handed out on Saturday evening at the festival’s closing ceremony.
Un Certain Regard Prize: “Border” (“Grans”)
Jury Prize: “The Dead and the Others,” Joao Salaviza and Renee Nader Messor
Prize for Best Direction: Sergei Loznitsa, “Donbass”
Prize for Best Performance: Viktor Polster, “Girl”
Prize for Best Screenplay: Meryem Benm’Barek, “Sofia”