"Makala" (Emmanuel Gras)
“Makala” (Emmanuel Gras)

Another Cannes Film Festival nears its end with the announcement of the sidebar awards on Thursday, May 25.

Most notably, with respect to this blog’s interests, the Critics’ Week sidebar top prize went to “Makala” taking the top prize. The Swahili/French drama which made its world premiere at the festival, directed by Emmanuel Gras, tells the story of a young Congolese peasant who dreams of a better future for his loved ones. His only wealth lies in the strength of his arms, the land around him and his strong will. Set out on dangerous and exhausting roads in order to trade the fruit of his work, he discovers the value of his effort and the price to pay for his dreams.

“Makala” takes home the Nespresso
 Grand Prize, which includes a €15,000 (about $16,700) cash prize.

The International Critics’ Week (French: Semaine de la Critique) is the oldest parallel competitive section of the Cannes Film Festival. It showcases first and second feature films by directors from all over the world, and has remained true to its tradition of discovering new talents. Masters like Bernardo Bertolucci, Wong Kar-wai, Jacques Audiard, Alejandro González Iñárritu and others all saw their careers launched at Critics’ Week, a very selective programming of only seven feature films and seven short films.

Seven films competed in the Critics’ Week section, which focuses on discovering new talent.

Gabriel and the Mountain (Gabriel e a montanha), directed by Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa, earned the France 4
 Visionary Award

, which is given to a first or second feature film for its outstanding creativity and innovation.

The top prizes for the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival will be awarded on Sunday night, May 28, during the closing ceremony at the Palais des Festivals.

Watch 3 clips from “Makala” below: