Fipresci announces prizes

Critics select Playground, Drive My Car and Feathers

by Richard Mowe

Playground
Playground Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Belgian director Laura Wandel has won the approval of the international critics at the Cannes Film Festival who have awarded her first feature Playground (Un Monde), presented in Un Certain Regard sidebar, with the Fipresci accolade (the jury of the International Federation of Film Critics).

It is filmed from a child’s perspective and depicts the subject of bullying at school.

In one interview Wandel said she wanted to tell it from the child’s viewpoint from the outset. She told Cineuropa: "I often start with a place which I want to explore, where I want to take my camera. In this instance, it was school and, more specifically, the playground which is one of the first times children are in contact with society without their family: they’re faced with a new microcosm which they need to integrate and where they seek acknowledgement from their peers.

"I felt it offered huge potential for a fictional story. Then came the idea of the sibling relationship: of placing this relationship within this new community and exploring how the need to integrate and the need for recognition would undermine it. The playground might be where we discover violence, as well as all the new social codes inherent to this microcosm. And Nora, the child at the heart of this film, will learn how to juggle all that.”

Laura Wandel with her young actors Maya Vanderbeque and Günter Dure.
Laura Wandel with her young actors Maya Vanderbeque and Günter Dure. Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
The jury citation read: "This film explores the fine line between love and violence in the relationship amongst children, captured by the eye of the camera in a raw, realistic and uncompromising way. Building up and shifting tension subtly and seamlessly from beginning to end, Laura Wandel's exciting debut feature is both deeply compassionate and unsettling in equal measures."

Also rewarded by the critics is Feathers by Omar El Zohairy and shown in Critics’ Week - where it took the top jury prize - which was praised for "its singular mix of comedy and tragedy, grotesque atmosphere and surreal representation of poverty.”

From the Official Selection the choice was Drive My Car / Doraibu mai kâ by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi from Japan. The jury said "This film is extremely subtle, and yet it is a tremendous work of cinema about the lasting power of art, in which intimate gestures compose an epic story of life and love lost. It's made with care and precision by one of the most promising directors working right now."

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