Aïnouz was a popular winner in the room, as his lushly shot drama — about two devoted sisters separated by crossed stars and familial shame in 1950s Rio de Janeiro — appealed to audiences with its openly emotive traditional storytelling and strong feminist politics, Variety reported.
It’s the seventh narrative feature by the 53-year-old writer-director, also an accomplished docmaker, who previously competed in Un Certain Regard with his debut, ‘Madame Sata’, in 2002. In his speech, he alluded to Brazil’s current political woes, thanking the jury for their recognition while “we are going through something that is very, very hard, to do with intolerance.”
“Eurídice Gusmão,” which is still seeking US distribution, will be considered a strong contender for Brazil’s international Oscar submission.
The runner-up Jury Prize, meanwhile, was presented to French-born Galician filmmaker Oliver Laxe for ‘Fire Will Come,’ an atmospherically spare, pastoral parable set in the director’s parents’ homeland, following a convicted arsonist settling back into rural life after his release from prison. Laxe previously won the Cannes Critics’ Week competition for his 2016 debut feature ‘Mimosas.’ His follow-up was one of the most ecstatically received in the program.
Another critical favorite, 27-year-old Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov’s sophomore effort ‘Beanpole,’ received the Best Director prize — before this year’s Cannes lineup was announced, it was rumored to be in line for a Competition spot.
A special award, the Coup de Coeur, was shared between two titles, Quebecois filmmaker Monia Chokri’s ‘A Brother’s Love,’ which opened the program to mixed reviews, and US writer-director-actor Michael Angelo Covino’s ‘The Climb,’ a well-received comedic study of troubled male friendship.
A special jury mention, meanwhile, went to French veteran Bruno Dumont’s ‘Joan of Arc,’ the second part of his experimental semi-musical biopic of the ‘Maid of Orléans.’
French acting royalty was honored in the form of Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni, who received the best performance award for her turn as a woman leaving her husband after 20 years of marriage in Christophe Honoré’s comedy, ‘On a Magical Night.’