Art And Culture

Ali Abbasi’s ‘Border’ Wins Un Certain Section Top Prize at Cannes

Ali Abbasi’s ‘Border’ Wins Un Certain Section Top Prize  at CannesAli Abbasi’s ‘Border’ Wins Un Certain Section Top Prize  at Cannes

Ali Abbasi’s genre-bending Nordic puzzler “Border” won the top prize in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard competition on Friday.

“We feel that out of 2000 films considered by the festival, the 18 we saw in Un Certain Regard – from Argentina to China – were all in their own way winners,” the jury said in an official statement. “Over the past 10 days, we were extremely impressed by the high quality of the work presented, but in the end we were the most moved by the following 5 films.”

Border emerged victorious in a varied international field of 18 titles from newcomers and established festival favorites alike.

Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa won the prize for best director for “Donbass,” Moroccan first-timer Meryem Benm’Barek took the prize for best screenplay for “Sofia,” João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora from Portugal received the jury special prize for “The Dead and the Others,” and the prize for best performance went to Belgian actor Victor Polster for his role in Lukas Dhont’s first feature “Girl,” Variety reported.

The second feature by Iran-born and Denmark-based Abbasi, Border is a classification-defying film - based on a short story by “Let the Right One In” author John Ajvide Lindqvist.

It centers on a Swedish customs officer with an uncanny sense of smell, thrown into a moral and personal quandary over a suspicious traveler that upends the world as she knows it.

Screening early in the festival, it swiftly became one of the buzziest titles in the section with critics and audiences alike. Variety critic Alissa Simon was among the yay-sayers, predicting “cult classic” status for “an exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions.”

The film immediately inspired heated competition among buyers, with new US distributor Neon snagging North American rights.

Though Abbasi, who was not present at the ceremony, received some attention for his 2016 debut, the Berlinale-premiered art-horror exercise “Shelley,” Border marks a clear breakout for the 37-year-old writer-director.

This year’s Un Certain Regard jury was presided over by president Benicio Del Toro, along with Annemarie Jacir (Palestinian director and writer), Kantemir Balagov (Russian director), Virginie Ledoyen (French actress) and Julie Huntsinger (American executive director of Telluride Film Festival).

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints