×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Joy’ by Sudabeh Mortezai Wins Best Film at BFI London Film Festival

Sex-trafficking drama “Joy,” from Austrian-Iranian director Sudabeh Mortezai, has won the award for Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival. “Joy” was one of 10 films in the official competition lineup, half of which were directed or co-directed by women, including Mortezai.

The winning picture is a “vital, beautifully made film,” said Lenny Abrahamson, president of the main competition jury. “’Joy’ is a provocative and unique film offering a devastating portrait of human resilience in the most inhuman of environments.”

In its review, Variety said the movie was a “fully inhabited portrayal of Nigerian migrant sex workers,” adding that “it offers a raw, fresh view on the currently ubiquitous topic of European immigration control, sewn through with sharp feminist perspective.”

“Joy’s” London accolade comes after it won the Hearst Film Award for female direction and the 2018 Europa Cinemas Label at Venice.

Lukas Dhont’s “Girl,” about a transgender teen who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, won London’s Sutherland Award for best debut feature, out of a slate where 60% of the titles were directed by women. Described as a “stunning debut” by Variety, “Girl” also won the Camera d’Or and Queer Palm awards at the Cannes Film Festival.

Popular on Variety

“‘Girl’ is an extraordinary coming of age story featuring a truly remarkable central performance,” said Francis Lee (“God’s Own Country”), head of the First Feature jury. “It is not afraid to tackle a number of difficult subject matters which are dramatically effective and fully believable.”

Roberto Minervini’s “What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire” won the Documentary Award, landing the Grierson Award. Following a Louisiana community during the summer of 2017, and in the aftermath of a string of police shootings of black men, it examines race relations in the U.S.

“A truly thought-provoking and all-too-urgent documentary – through stunning and unflinching black-and-white frames we’re offered a raw and emotional  snapshot of African-American life in the Deep South in the aftermath of a police shooting,” said Oscar-winning filmmaker Simon Chinn, who presided over the feature documentary section.

The Short Film award went to Charlie Lyne for “Lasting Marks.” The short documentary follows a group of men put on trial in the U.K. for consensual sadomasochistic activity. Filmmaker Rungano Nyoni (“I Am Not a Witch”) oversaw the shorts jury. “In a strong and diverse Shorts selection, Charlie Lyne’s ‘Lasting Marks’ fascinated us all by resurrecting forgotten history,” she said.

The LFF juries “selected four extraordinary films which encourage dialogue and understanding around issues of race, class, gender and sexuality,” said Tricia Tuttle, who stepped into the LFF artistic director role this year for Clare Stewart, who is on sabbatical. “I applaud Sudabeh, Lukas, Roberto and Charlie for their boldly distinctive work and hope that our awards can help focus even more attention from U.K. and global audiences on their truly deserving films.”

More Film

  • Li Shaohong

    Li Shaohong Revisits Macao and Chinese War Films

    Fifth generation director Li Shaohong’s career has spanned the entire length of the Chinese film market’s rise, from its days as a state-run industry churning out nothing but social realist films to its current stage of supporting ever more sophisticated and lucrative blockbusters and genre films. The current head of the China Film Directors’ Guild, [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Johnny Ma on the Dynamics of New Era Film Production in China

    Shanghai-born Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma says he’d planned to make three films in China before moving on to other things, but the current state of the Chinese industry has “forced his hand” and convinced him to move on early after two. Currently living in Mexico, his next project is actually in TV: a pilot for [...]

  • 'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot Returns With Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig

    “Wonder Woman 1984” dropped its first trailer on Sunday, with Gal Gadot returning as the titular Amazonian goddess. The film is set, of course, in the 1980s in America, decades after the first film’s events. Kristen Wiig is playing Wonder Woman’s infamous comic-book nemesis Cheetah, while Chris Pine is returning for the sequel. It’s unclear, [...]

  • Over the Sea

    Macao Film Review: 'Over the Sea'

    The beginning is a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. A woman nurses her squalling baby in a house by an orchard near the sea. Sunlight slants in through the open windows, the mother hums a lullaby, and then brings her son outside and places him in a cot suspended from the apple-laden branches of [...]

  • CCA Film Nominations

    Critics' Choice: 'The Irishman,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Lead Movie Nominations

    “The Irishman” has picked up the most film nominations for the 35th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The Martin Scorsese gangster drama goes into the awards show with 14 noms, including best picture, director, acting ensemble as well as best actor (Robert De Niro) and supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), the Critics’ Choice Association [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' Named Best Film of 2019 by L.A. Film Critics Association

    Hollywood’s hometown critics clearly aren’t afraid of subtitles. Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met Sunday to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. South Korean thriller “Parasite” fared the best, taking not only best picture, but also the group’s director prize for Bong Joon Ho and supporting actor for Song Kang Ho. [...]

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Kicks Off Overseas With $52 Million as 'Frozen 2' Powers Toward $1 Billion

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” skated past international box office competition again as the animated sequel propels toward the billion-dollar mark globally. “Frozen 2” generated another $90 million from 48 foreign territories, boosting its worldwide weekend haul to $124.9 million. After three weekends in theaters, Disney’s musical follow-up has made $919.7 million and should cross $1 billion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content