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FESTIVALS Sweden / France

Swedish and French delights in the desert

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Swedish and French delights in the desert

The fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival came to a close this weekend in the eponymous capital of the United Arab Emirates. French film Chicken With Plums [+see also:
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won the Black Pearl Award for Best Feature, which comes with a $100,000 prize.

The Venice competition entry, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud and set in a pre-revolution Iran, wasn’t the only French-produced film to gain kudos. Moroccan director Ismaël Ferrouki, whose Free Men [+see also:
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recounts the little-known story of the Muslim resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris, was named Best Director from the Arab World, while the women of Leila Khilani’s On the Edge received the Special Mention of the Jury.

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The Dutch-produced Position Among The Stars [+see also:
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won the Best Documentary category. The director, Indonesia-born Leonard Retel Helmrich, is actually based in Abu Dhabi.

Besides the official competition, one of the delights of the still-young festival now run by former Tribeca head Peter Scarlet, was the Spotlight on Sweden. Not less than a dozen films were shown from the Scandinavian country, including three Bergman classics and a selection of shorts for kids by Johan Hagelbäck.

Recent Swedish features that made the trip to the Emirates include the provocative coming-of-age film She Monkeys [+see also:
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interview: Lisa Aschan
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from Lisa Aschan, Stockholm East from Simon Kaijser da Silva and A Thousand Times Stronger from Peter Schildt.

Swedish co-production Trishna [+see also:
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interview: Freida Pinto and Michael Wi…
interview: Riz Ahmed
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from Michael Winterbottom was also part of the line-up. The English director received the festival’s Career Excellence award, as did Scottish actress Tilda Swinton, who was in town to attend the awards ceremony and present her latest effort, the UK production We Need to Talk about Kevin [+see also:
film review
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interview: Lynne Ramsay
film profile
]
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