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Just hours before this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or prize announcement, the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) has awarded “Leila’s Brothers” its International Critics’ Prize for best film inCannes main competition.  

The title is pointed. Leila has four brothers, but it is Leila, played by Iranian star Taraneh Alidoosti (“The Salesman), who dominates proceedings, battling to save her family from ruin, to tragic consequences.

“Dense with overlapping dialogue, suffocating social situations and shifting point-of-view, Roustaee’s style is a stark departure from the straightforward, focused Iranian movies that have found their way into the world so far, whether the fable-like tales of Majidi or the intimate dramas of Farhadi, whose relative simplicity makes them uniquely suited to international consumption,” Variety’s Peter Debruge wrote in a review of the first film Cannes from Roustace, best known for 2019’s cop-thriller “Just 6.5.”

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The Blue Caftan Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The Fipresci jury, led by Egypt’s Ahmed Shawky, prized “Leila’s Brothers” for “the director’s ability to craft an engaging story, very dense of cultural insights, drawing a microcosm of dysfunctional patriarchy and shifting freely – and joyfully – between tones,” it said in a statement.

In other plaudits, Maryam Touzani’s “The Blue Caftan” took the nod for best film in Un Certain Regard; and “Love According To Dalva,” directed by Emmanuelle Nicot, was chosen by the Fipresci jury as best movie in either Directors’ Fortnight or Critics’ Week.

Well liked by critics,“The Blue Caftan” explores with sensitivity the tragedy of a married man who has stifled his homosexuality whIle taking a bold stand against homophobia in Morocco.

“In Morocco, homosexuality is illegal and I don’t have words to describe how it makes me feel. As a human being, that’s something I cannot accept,” Touzani told Variety.

The Fipresci jury said its prize was “for bravenesss. The director was brave enough to devote her gaze to the concealed homosexuality of a married man in Morocco. Through her work, she knows how to show us the world and the sad reality of a nation that she loves over all else.”

The Fipresci award to “Love According To Dalva” marks the third kudo in the space of three days for the drama, about a 12-year-old girl growing up in foster care, after it won the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award for Zelda Samson at Wednesday’s Critics’ Week awards.

The film is a “well-crafted narration of a teenage girl’s return to normal life against incest and pedophilia, in a gentle and subtle way,” the Fipresci jury noted.

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Love According to Dalva Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

FIPRESCI INTERNATIONAL CRITICS’ PRIZES, CANNES 2022

COMPETITION

‘Leila’s Brothers,’ (Saeed Roustace, Iran)

UN CERTAIN REGARD

“The Blue Caftan,” (Maryam Touzani, Morocco, France, Denmark, Belgium)

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT/CRITICS’ WEEK

“Love According to Dalva,” Emmanuelle Nicot, Belgium, France)