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MONS 2024 Awards

If Only I Could Hibernate triumphs in Mons’ Love International Film Festival

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- The debut feature film by Mongolian director Zoljargal Purevdash walks away with the festival’s Grand Prize and the Cineuropa Prize to boot

If Only I Could Hibernate triumphs in Mons’ Love International Film Festival
Director Zoljargal Purevdash with her award, surrounded by the jury during the festival’s closing ceremony (© Love International Film Festival de Mons)

Saturday 16 March saw the curtain fall on the 39th Mons Love International Film Festival,  with the competition winners revealed and the Grand Prize pocketed by Mongolian movie If Only I Could Hibernate [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zoljargal Purevdash
film profile
]
, directed by Zoljargal Purevdash. Discovered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in May of last year, the film was the first to inscribe Mongolia within Cannes’ film landscape following its showcasing within the festival’s Official Selection. It speaks of the adventures of Ulzii, a poor teenager from a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Ulan-Bator, who has a gift for maths. He’s determined to win a science competition in order to obtain a scholarship. But when his mother leaves the family for a job in the countryside, he is forced to take care of his brother and sister, losing a part of his childhood in the process. The movie scooped Mons’ Grand Prize, awarded by a jury led by Belgian filmmaker Frédéric Fonteyne and further composed of French-Burkinabe director Cédric Ido, Belgian actress Anne-Pascale Clairembourg, Syrian actor Jalal Altawil and French actress and director Sophie Galibert. The title also bagged itself the Cineuropa Prize.

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Another film singled out by the jury was Hungarian director Katalin Moldovai’s first feature film Without Air [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Katalin Moldovai
film profile
]
, which was first discovered in the Toronto Film Festival and which has rightly been rewarded with the Jury Prize. The award for Best Screenplay went to A Normal Family (South Korea) by Jon-Ho Hur, while the final award assigned by the feature film jury was an acting accolade entrusted to the entire cast of Jean-Bernard Marlin’s latest movie Salem [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which is toplined by young, non-professional actors unearthed by way of a casting call (the young couple played by Dalil Abdourahim and Maryssa Bakoum is especially eye-catching).

A further two trophies were awarded in the feature film section, both of which won by American work Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by director Aitch Alberto, who walked away with the Citizens’ Prize in addition to the Audience Award.

The Mons Love International Film Festival also looks to shine a light on young Belgian cinema by way of a short film competition, and, after viewing all of the films in this category, the jury voted in favour of Paul Vincent de Lestrade’s Un bon garçon (in the running for the Best Short Fiction Film Magritte last week). A Special Mention, meanwhile, was awarded to Salomé Crickx’s amazing work Se dit d’un cerf qui quitte son bois (which was also nominated for last week’s Magrittes), while the Critics’ Prize, involving the UCC (association of French film critics) and the UPCB (association of Belgian film critics), was won by Sarah Carlot Jaber’s film Les Yeux d’Olga. A Special Mention also winged its way to Manoël Dupont’s movie Oil Oil Oil.

The full list of winners is as follows:

International Competition

Festival Grand Prize
If Only I Could Hibernate [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zoljargal Purevdash
film profile
]
- Zoljargal Purevdash (Mongolia/France)

Jury Prize
Without Air [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Katalin Moldovai
film profile
]
- Katalin Moldovai (Hungary/Romania)

Best Screenplay
Jon-Ho Hur - A Normal Family (South Korea)

Acting Award
The entire cast of Salem [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(France)

Belgian Short Films Competition

Jury Prize
Un bon garçon - Paul Vincent de Lestrade
Special Mention

Se dit d’un cerf qui qui quitte son bois - Salomé Crickx

Press Award
Les Yeux d’Olga - Sarah Carlot Jaber
Special Mention

Oil Oil Oil - Manoël Dupont

Other awards

Cineuropa Prize
If Only I Could Hibernate - Zoljargal Purevdash

Audience Award
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Aitch Alberto (USA)

Citizens’ Prize
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Aitch Alberto

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(Translated from French)

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