Marrakech - Many are still wondering why this Year's Jury Prize of The International Marrakech Film Festival had not singled out one picture for the prestigious distinction.
Marrakech – Many are still wondering why this Year’s Jury Prize of The International Marrakech Film Festival had not singled out one picture for the prestigious distinction.
Several explanations are being suggested. Maybe none of the films deserved to be awarded the Prize but the Jury was not comfortable not awarding one. Maybe strong positions were expressed in the deliberations that made even a majority vote impossible. Maybe was there a tie about most candidate films. Perhaps every single film deserved the Prize on different, but as many, counts as any of the others.
In any case, the speech of Mr. Francis Ford Coppola, President of the Jury is more than insightful about this rather bold decision. The assessment is not of a technical nature but of a human scope. The whole process was “a trip in the depth of humanity revealed to us by the movies” affirms Mr. Coppola. That majority, rather than unanimity, had the final word assured that the decisions were the result of true debate, meaningful and committed discussions. The anecdote Mr. Coppola shared about his granddaughter’s exclamation “I love all Cinema” and the lesson he learnt from it that “any true cinema originating from pure motives is beautiful” asserts what the plight of discriminating among the candidates must have been.
Acknowledging that while “surely some movies are better than others” and that they are often made against “hopeless odds” only to “be criticized and torn apart” as soon as they are released tells of the great compassion and the nobility of mind and spirit that motivated the work of the jury. Admitting that the objective of celebrating film for which festivals have been created has been deviated marks a departure from trodden paths. That festivals have become marketplaces “where critical journalism takes pleasure in making and breaking careers” in a “Dog eat Dog” world is a declaration only a person with assets to assume can make. That the tradition has become to celebrate the individual at the expense of the group in a field and a profession whose achievements are collective and collegial not only seals what the nature of the decision is to be like but a repudiation of a long sovereign establishment. By the end of the preamble, it becomes certain that only is the Prize going to celebrate group work, but the whole heritage which makes it possible for groups to be creative and to accomplish wonders and take a distance from a dominant ideology.
It is in this mood of mind that the prize was a split one awarded to each of the running movies for an outstanding achievement. A “fresh and new” type of award, says Mr. Coppola. A courageous one, one wants to add.
Thus in Mr. Coppola’s words, the prize was awarded for the following reasons:
“For its compelling artistry and symbolic parable of all of today’s refugees, DESIERTO by Jonas Cuaron.
For its reliance on pure sound and image to expose the feelings of its beautiful protagonist, STEEL FLOWER by Park Suk-Young.
For its command of suspense and story through the skill of its performances and inventive dramaturgy, COP CAR by Jon Watts.
For taking us into a extraordinary world previously unknown to us and for its modern non-narrative use of cinema and its unique characters, NEON BULL by Gabriel Mascaro.
For its fertile imagination and many brilliant touches of cinema in the moving search for identity of a young man, CLOSET MONSTER, by Stephan Dunn.
For a joyous view of life in a village in India with unforgettable characters, THITHI by Raam Reddy.
For the heart-filling tale of the love and caring of a gentle Giant, VIRGIN MOUNTAIN, by Dagur Kari.
For the exquisite performance of pubescent love of a woman even among the elderly, KEYHOUSE MIRROR, and conversely, for its heart-breaking story of teenagers trying to make and keep a new family, KEEPER, by Guillaume Senez.
For its touching story of an orphaned girl connecting with disenfranchised boy in a reiteration of the great Japanese tradition ghost stories, LINGERING MEMORIES, by Keiko Tsuruoka.
For its glimpse of a way of life without permission, contrasting of the joy of living against strict constraints, PARADISE, by Sina Ataeian Dena.
Also, the vivid tenacious link between a young son and his father to survive in a world of barriers in BABAI, by Visar Morina.
And finally, for the parable of two lives connecting, one privileged, the other not, TOLL BAR by Zhassulan Poshanov, and for this Kingdom tolerance of self-criticism in showing treatment of those who protest for the struggle for the right for a living wage, REBELLIOUS GIRL, by Jawed Rhalib.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, this year’s JURY PRIZE is for Cinema itself.”