Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi & 'Boy from Heaven' writer/director Tarik Saleh secure wins in Cannes

While Ruben Östlund walked away with the Palme d'or 2022 top prize for 'Triangle of Sadness', it was still a great night for SWANA cinema.
Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi & 'Boy from Heaven' writer/director Tarik Saleh secure wins in Cannes

After all was said and done, cinema from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia did quite well at this year's Festival de Cannes. The Un Certain Regard winners were announced on May 27th, and included our favourites Lotfy Nathan's Harka and Maha Haj's Mediterranean Fever, as well as a historic win for Joyland from Pakistan, directed by Saim Sadiq. Joyland also won the Queer Palm in Cannes.

And on May 28th, the much-anticipated awards ceremony announced this year's Palme d'or winner and all the other palmares awardees. This year's jury was headed by French actor Vincent Lindon, surrounded by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, British-American actress and director Rebecca Hall, French director Ladj Ly, American director Jeff Nichols, Indian actress Deepika Padukone, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, Norwegian director Joachim Trier and Italian actress and director Jasmine Trinca.

There were 21 films presented in Competition this year.

Awards hailing from the MENA Region included the Award for Best Screenplay handed to Tarik Saleh for Boy from Heaven (Walad mim al janna) a conspiracy thriller set in Cairo’s religious institution the Al-Azhar Mosque; and a Best Actress Award going to Zahra Amir Ebrahimi for her role as a journalist in Ali Abbasi's Iranian serial killer thriller Holy Spider.

The top prize, the coveted Palme d'or did go to a Cannes favourite, Swedish helmer Ruben Östlund, whose Triangle of Sadness, starring Woody Harrelson hit close to home, as the story of two models and fashion influencers stranded on a boat with a captain who refuses to guide his passengers to safety. Östlund also won in 2017 with The Square.

L'oeil d'or Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary went to All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen, a New Delhi-set documentary about a pair of brothers dedicated to rescuing birds of prey.

On the same day, the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) awarded Leila’s Brothers its International Critics’ Prize for best film in Cannes' main Competition, with Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan being awarded for best film in Un Certain Regard.

For the full list of awards, check out the Festival de Cannes website.

Header image of Ruben Östlund, Palme d'or 2022 winner © L. Venance / AFP, courtesy of the Festival de Cannes.

You may also like