2 African stories win Cannes Film Fest’s best documentary

A film about an all-female Egyptian theatre troupe and another about legendary South African photographer Ernest Cole shared the best documentary award at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, May 24, in France.

Ernest Cole: Lost and Found” is the latest from Haitian director Raoul Peck, who made the Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro” about US writer James Baldwin.

Playing in a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week, it tells the story of Ernest Cole who documented the horrors of apartheid in South Africa until he was forced into exile.

(From L) Russian composer Alexei Aigui, French producer Laurence Lascary, Haitian director and producer Raoul Peck, Film editor Alexandra Strauss and Ernest Cole Trust manager Leslie Matlaisane pose during a photocall for the film “Ernest Cole, photographe” (Ernest Cole, Lost and Found) at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 21, 2024. (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP)

Peck told AFP he wanted to reconnect the photographer’s story to “the world of today”. It focuses on Cole’s difficulties in exile, which resonated with Peck, whose family fled Haiti when he was eight.

It shared the L’Oeil d’Or prize for best documentary with “On the Brink of Dreams“, produced by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir’s Felucca Films in co-production with Dolce Vita Films. The film follows a group of teenage girls in rural southern Egypt over four years, between rehearsals, as they navigate the tough decisions that will determine their adulthood.

'On The Brink of Dreams' follows teenage girls in a rural part of Egypt
‘On The Brink of Dreams’ follows teenage girls in a rural part of Egypt © Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

The film “is intentionally feminist in every way but I think it was also dictated by what this inspiring group of women was already doing,” co-director Nada Riyadh told AFP.

It’s “mind-blowing because they’re demanding answers about very important things and opening a dialogue with everybody in their community.”

Source: France24

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