Iran tops Cannes Un Certain Regard

FIPRESCI jury also unveils Cannes winners.

by Richard Mowe

Reza Akhlaghirad as a fisherman caught up in corruption in Iran in A Man Of Integrity (Lerd)
Reza Akhlaghirad as a fisherman caught up in corruption in Iran in A Man Of Integrity (Lerd) Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
An Iranian film about the uphill struggle for a moral man amid his country’s epidemic of corruption has the top prize in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section.

A Man of Integrity (Lerd), by Mohammad Rasoulof, tells of Reza (Reza Akhlaghirad), a fish farmer in provincial Iran, caught up in the greed of a corporation.

The company, which is symbolic of a larger issue, wants to buy his farm and land. The company pays off the local chiefs, the police, the judges, the prison guards, and the mayor, with the power structure centred on the benefits and interests of the company.

Wind River takes best director in Cannes Un Certain Regard.
Wind River takes best director in Cannes Un Certain Regard. Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Rasoulof's drama takes a radical approach, going beyond criticising corruption by individuals, to argue that individual corruption is exacerbated by the corruption of the state and its affiliates.

Wind River won best direction award for Taylor Sheridan, making his debut behind the camera with a mystery set in Wyoming and starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.

April’s Daughter by Michel Franco won the jury prize from the line-up headed by actress Uma Thurman. Jasmine Trinca received best acting prize for Sergio Castellito’s Lucky (Fortunata).

The section’s opening film Barbara, directed by and starring Mathieu Amalric alongside Jeanne Balibar as the iconic French singer received a best screenwriting accolade.

Thurman’s jury comprised directors Joachim Lafosse, Mohamed Diab, actor Red Kateb and Karel Och, director of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Meanwhile in other prizes announced before tonight’s main Competition awards ceremony (28 May), the FIPRESCI jury of international critics awarded three prizes: two in the Official Selection – (Competition and Un Certain Regard) and a third for Directors' Fortnight.

The French entry 120 Beats Per Minute (120 battements par minute) by Robin Campillo, was rewarded in the Competition while the Russian film Closeness (Tesnota) by Kantemir Balagov was the choice in Un Certain Regard.

In the parallel sections, Directors' Fortnight or Critics’ Week: The Nothing Factory (A fábrica de nada), by Portuguese director Pedro Pinho, was the winner, from Directors’ Fortnight.

Jury members were: Alissa Simon, USA, president; Thomas Aïdan, France; Rodrigo Fonseca, Brazil; Barbara Lorey de Lacharriere, France; Pierre Pageau, Canada; Eva Peydró, Spain; Silvana Silvestri, Italy; Mode Steinkjer, Norway; Vidyashankar Jois, India. The jury was co-ordinated by: Pamela Biénzobas, France/Chile.

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