Funded by the Bibliothèque publique d’information (€ 5,000) and the Procirep (€ 3,000), and awarded to a feature film from the Competition.
Award: Coconut Head Generation d’Alain Kassanda & Up the River with Acid de Harald Hutter
The Cinéma du Réel Grand Prix is awarded ex-aequo to two films that in their diversity and complementarity attest to the plurality of the programme and of contemporary forms of non-fiction cinema.
One reminds us of cinema’s potential as vector and actor of societal change, as a site of resistance and a place of community-building. A film that posits cinema as encounter whilst drawing the portrait of a generation breaking with the past in order to claim its emancipation with a beautiful intelligence and passion. An invitation to civic action which is particularly poignant today, even more so in the context of a film festival such as this one.
The other, for the tenderness, the sensitivity of the path that the film breaks through in a family huis clos, abyssal, faced with the illness that affects one of them. For the density of its relationship with time, its silences in which the immensity of isolation resonates, the rituals it sets out to observe, its small everyday gestures that become so big, so brave… For the quality of its soundtrack, which always brings us closer to the character, to his rhythm, right down to the little percussions that punctuate both the chaos and the sweetness of a meticulous daily routine. A very precise filmic apparatus which could have contained the emotion, the film moves forward and works precisely to free it and deliver it to us. It is the film of a son to his father, with the complicity of his mother, who describes to us in a beautiful sequence “where the journey began” for both of them and which gives the film its title.
€ 5,000 funded by La Scam, is awarded to an international feature film.
Award: Being in a Place: A Portrait of Margaret Tait by Luke Fowler
The jury has decided to award the prize to a film that has moved us for its power of invocation that brings to a bloom a creative power that, although dormant, returns to bear fruit. A creative power that is the voice of a woman, beating on the margins of history, taken up by a man to confront her, like a mirror that confronts another mirror to surrender to a mutual abyss where there is only the gaze of two astonished creators who have become a gaze. A film that affirms, loud and clear, that cinema is a pilgrimage that has yet not begun and it is always far from the end.
€ 5,000 funded by the Institut français and awarded to a mainly French production feature film from the Competition.
Award: Ana Rosa by Catalina Villar
We commend the skilful writing and the precision of a film that transforms a family story into something much more universal. We appreciated its humility and elegance. This film reminds us that not long ago, a woman who revolted or simply showed herself to be different could be subject to barbaric and irreversible treatment, to an institutional violence that was much too ordinary. A violation of the mind, a violation of the conscience. An abuse. We were impressed by its strength.
€ 1,000 funded by La Sacem and awarded to the composer of the original music of a feature film from the Competition
Award: Ciompi by Agnès Perrais
Out of the 20 feature films in competition, eight have an original soundtrack and we have been unanimously impressed by one of them. A historical film that weaves different times together and in which music plays a particularly important role. We were affected by the originality of the proposal, its relevance and the strength of the subject matter, given the issues at stake. Images of the banks of the river Arno are accompanied by the sound of analogue synthetisers that have the slow quality of bells and install a particular relationship to time. Impossible to date, elements that are sown throughout the film come together into a remarkable musical theme: an unlikely but beautiful sound mass, both eerie and lively. This soundtrack left a strong impression on all of us.
Allensworth by James Benning
For the preciously rare time that it invites us to take and share. For its attention, which becomes ours, to a desolate space, a forgotten chapter of history, to a tragedy that we infer, just as the sacrificed ideals. For the time-space that it extends over the months of its structure, the ghosts, traces, sounds and texts that it summons into a reality that painfully subsists. These are elements that weave out a heritage that echoes with our present moment, and sheds light onto it. A space-time in order to never forget to interrogate what has been.
Funded by Capi Films (€ 2,500) and the Cnap (€ 4,000), is awarded to a first feature film from the Competition.
Award: La Bonga by Sebastián Pinzón Silva and Canela Reyes
Documentary cinema is so many things at once: it is a position, it is politics, it is image, it is structure, it is a relationship that shifts and moves as necessary. To find a film that embodies all these myriad qualities at once is unusual; to find a first feature that does so is exceptional. The corporeal exploration of a history erased, two interlocking journeys at different times combined with beautiful simplicity, a monument to Afro-Colombian history and tradition built on kindness, fluidity and hope.
Special mention: Up the River with Acid by Harald Hutter
Life continues as normal until it doesn’t. How to capture that moment whose precise duration is unknown and whose ending is the only certain thing? With patience, with intimacy, with music but also with quiet, with the many tools of cinema, including that of film itself; we all leave an imprint. And it is all the more impressive to film all this in relation to one of the people closest to you, to film a process so inexorable, so inevitable and transform it into a record of calm, of love, of life.
Funded by the Bibliothèque publique d’information (€ 2,500) and awarded to a short film from the Competition.
Award: Last Things by Deborah Stratman
Brevity is virtue and one seldom exercised at that. The wealth of academic, scientific and literary references that make up this film would be enough to fuel several films at once, but this one darts between them and makes them flow together with gentle, unostentatious confidence in its own magpie logic. Affect and sensuality can also be directed via the mind and echo all the louder when treated as such. The ground beneath our feet is no longer stable, but we will always have the stability of rocks, although as this film teaches us, even they shift, evolve, expand outwards, go extinct; when else have we felt the perspective of stone?
Funded by Tënk (500 € and acquisition of SVOD broadcasting rights on the platform Tënk) and awarded to a short film from the Competition.
Award: Extended presences by Margaux Dauby
Cinema is always about a vantage point, a watchfulness, about looking out into the world for others, with a gaze that here becomes so specific, towards a limitless horizon. A tower in the middle of a vast landscape; the eyes of the women who operate it, often seen through the curved glass; nature in all its different manifestations, almost as if plucked from unconnected places: this is not an exercise in topography nor measurement, but rather one in how the eye needs no structures to see.
Sandbox by Lucas Azémar and Charlotte Cherici
Cinema has this power to take us to unknown, far-off continents. Places that not everyone knows. Virtual spaces are such places. The voices that guide this film recount things about the world we live in. Although disconnected from the bodies that carry them, they are powerful, funny, hesitant. We have chosen to give a mention to a film that does not simply describe a virtual world (and game): it recounts how we meet, exchange, speak to each other and dream together today. We saw this film as a contemporary Noah’s Ark.
Funded by Ciné+ and awarded to a feature film from the Competition. It guarantees that the film is bought by the channel for €15,000 and broadcast.
Award: La Base by Vadim Dumesh
As we had been mobilising for weeks, in our occupied universities and schools, in the street and with the workers, the idea of spending our days watching films at the Centre Pompidou was far from obvious. At the end of this week, although not all of our questions are resolved, we caught a glimpse of the essential role that cinema can play in such times. The film we have awarded seems to fully and skilfully take up these challenges. Infiltrating the depths of an overwhelmingly heavy architecture, the filmmaker manages to give a place to the anonymous people who keep the airport alive. Making the most of the constraints specific to the place and format, the intimate blends with the political, individual emotions mix with the social struggles of our time. Contrasting with the frenetic rhythm of the passengers, the viewer settles down beside funny, endearing, and often moving characters. This film transported us as much as we deemed necessary.
Funded by the Direction générale des médias et des industries culturelles of the Ministry of Culture (€ 2,500) and awarded to a film of more than 50 minutes from the International Competition.
Award: Adieu Sauvage by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento
We have chosen a film that enables us to rethink how we encounter the other, one in which the filmmaker is looking for his place with humility and humour. Through his approach to deconstructing stereotypes, he opens up the many different ways of inhabiting the world.
Awarded and funded by the Direction générale des patrimoines et de l’architecture of the Ministry of Culture (€ 2,500) to a film from the Competition.
Award: La Bonga by Sebastián Pinzón Silva and Canela Reyes
Once again using a fundamental freedom, that of refusing a situation and leaving. More rarely, the freedom to return home. Walking a long way together, taking once again the old path. Seeking strength there: “Speak!” and singing. Finding here the ancestral place founded by marooning, when the forbears freed themselves from slavery and claimed their liberty from the colony. Weeping on finally arriving back, as 23 years ago a departure was imposed, and now everything is ruined. Parade the Virgin and caress the school walls, which are still standing. Burning the bush and dancing in the ashes. The dance lifting up the burnt earth, making it dance too, like fireflies. Restoring one’s house by hand with the earth. Gestures, individual and collective, now return.
Endowed by the Fondation Monique Desfosse (1,000 €).
Award: Piblokto by Anastasia Shubina and Timofey Glinin
For its raw gaze that hides nothing, for its way of showing us the simple life of a community where each has their role, even the children, and which responds to a basic necessity, finding food to survive,
For the way it closes right in on detail, always part of a landscape where the sea seems higher than elsewhere and where the children have fun with toys made of flesh and bone,
For its way of showing us tough images, which sometimes disturb but don’t shock, images that speak directly to the viewers, where we feel that men are wolves,
For its soundtrack composed of hypnotic singing.
Special mention: Un cœur perdu et autres rêves de Beyrouth by Maya Abdul-Malak
We wanted to give a special heartfelt mention to a moving and unsettling film where death is expressed through voices and life through images, where we feel the hardship of some and the way in which others try to escape reality, where the static time of a city expresses the history of a country and gives the film a political dimension.
Usually when we see life, we forget death; in this film, we see both life and death.
Endowed by the Clarens Foundation for Humanism (€5,000) and awarded to a feature film from any of the festival’s categories.
Award: The Trial by Ulises de la Orden
For the symbolic importance of this exemplary trial, held only two years after the fall of the dictatorship, and within its own jurisdiction, a trial that condemned a criminal as well as perverse State.
Special mention: Coconut Head Generation by Alain Kassanda
Because it reflects the dynamism and intelligence of a Nigerian student youth engaged in resistance but always thinking.
This award is funded by the CNC (€2,000), who buys the rights from the author.
Quitter Chouchou by Lucie Demange
In the context of ParisDOC Works-in-Progress
Al Oeste, en Zapata by David Beltrán i Marí
Plunged in the solitary everyday life of a crocodile hunter, his wife and son, this film leaves a striking impression due to its tenacity in describing the battle between man and the hostile environment in Cuba’s swampy south. The presence of things and of nature penetrates everything, at all times, and creates an exceptional cinematic experience that we will be delighted to support in post-production.
Funded by the CNC (€2,000), which signs a contract with the project’s author to buy the rights for its catalogue.
Andréa Visini, author of the project Brille la terre
We have decided to award a film project that is still emerging, but where the vibrancy of cinema already shines. Using a participatory dispositif, the filmmaker focuses on the daily life and aspirations of her young cousins, adolescent girls in a small village in the Moroccan desert, which is now coveted for its rich sub-soils. With this award, we want to point up the promising poetic and political reach of the proposal and encourage the filmmaker to continue her search for a singularity of form.
PRÉLUDES AWARD FOR DIGITALISATION | Prove di Stato by Leonardo di Costanzo
We have chosen to award a moving documentary about a mayor in Italy who is trying to change the habits of a corrupt system. The jury unanimously commended the quality of this documentary, both in form and content. The pertinence of the mise en scène and construction of Prove di Stato highlights the urgency and difficulty faced by those who seek to improve society.
Prove di Stato was part of the French competition of Cinéma du réel 1999.
PRÉLUDES AWARD FOR RESTORATION | Juliette du côté des hommes by Claudine Bories
We have chosen to commend a documentary that drew the jury’s attention for its treatment and determined research. It was perceived as an interesting waypoint confronting us with the words of men in the 1980s, highlighting the preciseness of its testimonies. A universal and topical subject that is interesting to put in resonance with contemporary society.
Juliette du côté des hommes was awarded at Cinéma du réel 1981.