Highlights from last night's Abu Dhabi Film Festival awards ceremony.
The winners and our favourites
Best narrative film (US$100,000): Silent Souls, directed by Aleksei Fedorchenko (Russia)
Best narrative film from the Arab World ($100,000): Here Comes the Rain, directed by Bahij Hojeij (Lebanon)
Best documentary ($100,000): Nostalgia for the Light, directed by Patricio Guzman (Chile/Germany/France) shared with Pink Saris, directed by Kim Longinotto (United Kingdom/India)
Best narrative film by a new director ($100,000): Gesher, directed by Vahid Vakilifar (Iran)
Best narrative film by a new director from the Arab world ($100,000): OK, Enough, Goodbye (Tayeb, Khalas, Yalla), directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia (Lebanon/United Arab Emirates)
Best documentary by a new director ($100,000): El Ambulante, directed by Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich (Argentina) shared with Bill Cunningham New York, directed by Richard Press (USA)
ADFF audience choice award ($30,000): West is West, directed by Andy De Emmony (United Kingdom)
What our writers liked:
Qarantina, Oday Rasheed’s film about Baghdad, was a moving account of life in Iraq. It was important as we read so much about the country in the papers, and in terms of the war, but we rarely see how life really is for the people left to pick up the pieces. I also very much enjoyed Bill Cunningham New York, an emotional and fascinating documentary about the New York Times street fashion photographer.
– Anna Seaman
The most inspirational and powerful movies during the festival, for me, were Certified Copy by the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami and the documentaries A Man’s Story by Varon Bonicos and Living Skin by Fawzi Saleh. Each explored human suffering and self belief with a transparency usually lacking on the big screen. The filmmakers reach out to the audience instead of heading to the closest bank.
– Maey El Shoush
The two greatest films at the festival this year were the silent German masterpiece Metropolis (1927) and the French-Canadian drama Incendies (2010), which touches upon the Lebanese civil war. While the films have almost nothing in common stylistically, both deal with the folly of separating man from his brother. In Metropolis, it’s the proletarian workers, confined to the bowels of the futuristic city by a decadent, frivolous ruling class. In Incendies, it is ethnic and religious divisions that cause the central characters so much anguish. Movie-making techniques have changed substantially over the last century, but it seems the need to expose humanity’s tragic potential for injustice and shortsightedness has not.
– Oliver Good