By Marta Garde
Cannes, France, Jul 16 (EFE).- A pair of movies with a Mexican director and co-producer, respectively, “Noche de Fuego” (Prayers for the Stolen) and “La civil,” were honored on Friday in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard sidebar competition.
Both pictures explore the collateral damage associated with Mexico’s endemic drug-fueled violence, with the former being told through the eyes of three young girls and the latter focused on a mother’s desperate struggle to rescue a teenage daughter abducted by a cartel.
“Noche de Fuego,” Mexican and Salvadoran director Tatiana Huezo’s first fiction film, received the Special Mention prize from a jury headed by English director and screenwriter Andrea Arnold and also including Argentine filmmaker, producer and screenwriter Daniel Burman.
That film’s three young protagonists hide from danger in a southern Mexican mountain town suffering the collateral effects of authorities’ war on drug gangs. Although they must remain constantly vigilant, they still maintain some of the innocence of children on the verge of adolescence
“I feel very happy, excited, satisfied, absolutely proud of this film. I wasn’t expecting to come to Cannes with my first fictional work or to take this film to a theater with more than 1,000 people and share it with such an amazing audience,” Huezo told reporters after receiving the award.
The filmmaker dedicated the prize to all Latin American women who are raising their girls and “teaching them they can be free.”
The director of “La civil,” Romanian filmmaker Teodora Ana Mihai, was equally excited about her debut film being awarded the Un Certain Regard section’s Prize of Courage.
She had the support of a quartet of co-producers: Mexico’s Michel Franco, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and Romania’s Cristian Mungiu, all of whom have won awards at Cannes for their directorial work.
Mihai dedicated the prize to families who are searching for their loved ones, saying that theme needs a larger platform.
A film starring Arcelia Ramirez and Alvaro Guerrero, “La civil” shows the lengths a mother will go to find her teenage daughter while also criticizing systemic corruption and the abandonment of families whose loved ones have gone missing.
Un Certain Regard – a sidebar competition at Cannes, whose 74th edition began on July 6 and concludes on Saturday – provides a space for innovative and daring filmmakers whose work has not yet attracted a large audience.
The festival’s general delegate, Thierry Fremaux, said of that competition that it provides an opportunity to put new names on the international cinema map.
The Un Certain Regard competition’s top honor, the Grand Prize, was conferred on Russian filmmaker Kira Kovalenko’s “Unclenching the Fists,” while the Prize of Originality and the Ensemble Prize went to Icelandic director Valdimar Johansson’s “Lamb” and French filmmaker Hafsia Herzi’s “Bonne Mere,” respectively.
The Cannes Film Festival, which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, is being held this year under strict coronavirus curbs.
The Palme d’Or, Cannes’ most prestigious honor, will be awarded on Saturday along with the other prizes of the main competition. EFE