Black Dog pounces on Un Certain Regard top accolade

Jury prize and acting award for asylum-seeker tale The Story of Souleymane

by Richard Mowe

Cannes Un Certain Regard winner Black Dog - 'a fusion of Western, film noir and off-beat comedy'
Cannes Un Certain Regard winner Black Dog - 'a fusion of Western, film noir and off-beat comedy' Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
The top prize in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard has been awarded to Chinese director Guan Hu’s Black Dog which has been described as “a fusion of Western, film noir and off-beat comedy”.

The film was competing with 18 other titles in the section which is devoted to promoting “new trends, new paths and new countries.” Eight of the features are first films which also are competing for the Camera d’Or prize to be awarded with the rest of the festival’s accolades including the prestigious Palme d’Or at the closing ceremony this evening.

The Un Certain Regard jury president, Quebec director and actor Xavier Dolan praised Black Dog for “its breathtaking poetry, its imagination, its precision [and] its masterful direction”. As noted earlier in these columns the canine actor Xin won the Palm Dog’s Grand Jury Prize for the Jack Russell-greyhound cross.

The Story Of Souleymane
The Story Of Souleymane Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
The jury prize was awarded to Boris Lojkine’s The Story Of Souleymane, a social drama chronicling the struggle of an immigrant Guinean delivery cyclist in Paris as he prepares for an asylum application interview. Its first-time actor Abou Sangare won one of the jury’s two non-gendered performance awards.

The second acting prize went to Indian actor Anasuya Sengupta for her performance as a queer Delhi sex worker on the run after killing a police officer in director Konstantin Bojanov’s The Shameless.

Best Director prize was shared by Zambian-British director Rungano Nyoni, for her second feature On Becoming A Guinea Fowl, and Roberto Minervini, a celebrated Italian documentary film-maker for his American Civil War drama The Damned.

The jury has the flexibility to create “special prizes” with one award, a Youth Prize, going to Louise Courvoisier’s Holy Cow! (Vingt Dieux), and its cast of first-time actors as a group of youngsters entering a regional cheese-making competition. Saudi director Tawfik Alzaidi’s drama Norah, a study of two village misfits bonded by a shared love of art, received a special mention.

  • Prix Un Certain Regard: Black Dog (dir: Guan Hu)
  • Jury Prize: The Story Of Souleymane (dir: Boris Lojkine)
  • Best Director: (ex aequo) The Damned (Roberto Minervini); On Becoming a Guinea Fowl (Rungano Nyoni)
  • Performance Awards: The Shameless (Anasuya Sengupta); The Story Of Souleymane (Abou Sangare)
  • Prix de la Jeunesse (Youth Prize): Holy Cow! (Vingt Dieux) (dir: Louise Courvoisier)
  • Special Mention: Norah (Dir: Tawfik Alzaidi)

The winners take all … at the Un Certain Regard prizes ceremony
The winners take all … at the Un Certain Regard prizes ceremony Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

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