You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Monos,’ ‘Atlantics’ Take Home Awards at London Film Festival

Monos,” an unsettling thriller about teenage soldiers that one critic described as “like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in hell,” has won the award for best film at the BFI London Film Festival.

Mati Diop’s “Atlantics,” which premiered in Cannes, took home the prize for best debut feature, while “White Riot,” about a 1970s reggae protest movement, was named best documentary. The awards were unveiled Saturday, on the eve of the festival’s closing.

Directed by Alejandro Landes, “Monos” premiered at Sundance. To an evocative score by Mica Levi, the Spanish-language film follows a group of teenage soldiers and their hostage, an American doctor, as they retreat farther into the jungle.

“‘Monos’ is a stunning cinematic achievement, marrying dynamic visuals, faultless performances and groundbreaking storytelling,” director Wash Westmoreland (“Colette”), the president of the official competition jury, said. “It’s a masterpiece.”

The jury also awarded special commendations to Sundance title “Honey Boy” by Alma Har’el and “Saint Maud” by first-time feature director Rose Glass, whom Westmoreland called “a powerful new voice in British cinema.” Those two films were among the six pictures directed or co-directed by women in the main competition lineup of 10 contenders. Among the other movies in the lineup were “Moffie,” “La Llorona” and “The Other Lamb.”

Atlantics” chronicles the story of a young woman getting ready to marry another man after her lover leaves. The film competed for the Palme d’Or in Cannes.

“‘Atlantics’ is a film that intrigued us by its original and refreshing use of genre elements in a story that also has a strong political impact,” said director Jessica Hausner (“Little Joe”), who headed the jury for the Sutherland Award for best first feature. She described the film as “a crime scene that becomes a nightmarish tale, held together by a story of the endurance and persistence of young love.”

“White Riot,” winner of the Grierson Award for best documentary, takes a look at the Rock Against Racism movement that began in 1976. Directed by Rubika Shah, the film features interviews with and previously unseen footage of The Clash, Steel Pulse and X-Ray Spex.

Soheil Amirsharifi’s “Fault Line” (“Gosal”), about a courageous Iranian schoolgirl, won the short film competition.

“Our awards highlight the most distinctive, urgent and accomplished filmmaking from around the globe,” said LFF director Tricia Tuttle, “and it has been an incredible festival – with audiences moved, provoked and dazzled by these films, many of which engage with pressing social and political themes in very inventive ways.”

The 63rd London Film Festival closes Sunday with a screening of Martin Scorsese’s new gangster film, “The Irishman.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Agnes GodardPress Conference for New Currents

    Los Cabos Panel Homes in on the Female Gaze

    Female cinematographers are still a relatively rare breed in Latin America, and in the rest of the world for that matter. At Los Cabos, three femme cinematographers weighed in on the challenges and rewards of their chosen profession. The panel was composed of Mexico-based Uruguayan Maria Secco whose credits include the acclaimed “La Jaula de [...]

  • Roman Polanski's 'An Officer and a

    'An Officer and a Spy' Leads French Box Office Despite Roman Polanski Controversy

    Roman Polanski’s latest film, “An Officer and a Spy,” is leading the French box office after its opening weekend and fifth day out in theaters despite new sexual-assault accusations against the director and truncated promotion for the film. Released by Gaumont last Wednesday across 545 screens, “An Officer and a Spy” has grossed an estimated [...]

  • Florence Pugh and Beanie Feldstein

    Florence Pugh Calls Marvel's 'Black Widow' Movie Raw, Painful but Beautiful

    Florence Pugh just wrapped shooting on Marvel’s standalone film “Black Widow” starring Avenger Scarlett Johansson. “It was one of the most bizarre, nuts, extravaganza experiences,” the “Little Women” star told “Booksmart’s” Beanie Feldstein in conversation for Variety’s “Actors on Actors.” “I just finished on it about three weeks ago. Landed the role in March, April, [...]

  • Luis Javier Henaine

    Panorama Global Announces ‘Desaparecer del todo,’ ‘Moonwalker (EXCLUSIVE)

    Headed by Alberto Müffelmann and Gerardo Gatica, Mexican indie production house Panorama Global has boarded Luis Javier Henaine’s feature “Desaparecer del todo,” a Moonlight Pictures production co-produced with Pablo Zimbron’s Varios Lobos. The supernatural thriller, based on true events, explores witchcraft in Mexico through the eyes of a tabloid crime photographer. Varios Lobos and Panorama [...]

  • Moonheart Entertainment Scores Investment From Malini

    Moonheart Entertainment Scores Investment From Saba Industries Group Owner (EXCLUSIVE)

    Malini Saba, owner of Saba Industries Group, has made a key investment in Moonheart Entertainment, the newly launched gaming, television film, and media company that is focused on providing content for family audiences. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Saba, whose company is a privately-held, manufacturer and global exporter of rice and other [...]

  • Summer White

    Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson on ‘Summer White,’ Making a CCC Opera Prima

    LOS CABOS  —  The first scene of the first feature from Mexico’s Rodrigo Ruíz Patterson sets up the whole drama: Adolescent Rodrigo flicks on his cigarette lighter to see his way down a passageway, knocks on his mother’s door, says he can’t sleep. She lets him in, he clambers into her bed. “Blanco de verano” [...]

  • Modern-Loves

    Los Cabos Film Festival: 5 Takeways from 2019

    LOS CABOS  —  The 2019 Los Cabos Film Festival caught the industry in the throes of change. That and other takeaways from the 2019 edition: 1.INDIE MAINSTREAM MOVE In 2002, Carlos Reygadas’s released “Japan,” an extraordinary debut feature movie which broke just about every rule in the filmmaker’s guidebook, if Reygadas had ever read one. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content