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‘Universal Language’ Wins Directors’ Fortnight Audience Award

‘Universal Language’ Wins Directors’ Fortnight Audience Award

Universal Language from director Matthew Rankin has won the first-ever Chantal Akerman award, an audience prize presented to the best film in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes film festival.

The prize is named after the Belgian auteur, who died in 2015, director of Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which was voted the greatest film of all time by the latest Sight and Sound critics poll.

Professionals and industry attendees, as well as ordinary moviegoers picked Rankin’s experimental drama, a surrealistic tribute to Persian cinema, as the best film in the Cannes sidebar this year. The prize comes with €7,500 ($8,100) in prize money from the Chantal Akerman Foundation.

Arthouse cinema group the Europa Cinema Label gave its top prize in the Directors’ Fortnight section to Jonas Trueba’s debut The Other Way Around, an anti-romantic comedy about a young Spanish couple who decide to celebrate their breaking up. The film will now receive the support of the Europa Cinemas Network, with additional promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extend the film’s run on screen. The Other Way Around is being sold internationally by Memento International.

French screenwriters’ group SACD Authors gave their top honor, the Coup de Coeur to Sophie Fillières’ This Life of Mine, about a 50-something woman in an existential ciris.

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The Directors’ Fortnight winners were announced at a ceremony in Cannes on Thursday, May 23.

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