Goodbye Julia and Four Daughters win big at Critics Awards for Arab Films

The beach-side award ceremony was held on Saturday on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival

Sudanese film Goodbye Julia won the award for Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay. Photo: Station Films
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Goodbye Julia, Four Daughters and Inshallah a Boy were among the heavy-hitters of the 8th Critics Awards for Arab Films.

The films raked in several top prizes at the award ceremony, which was held on Saturday on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival. The annual award aims to recognise outstanding achievements in Arab filmmaking. It is overseen by the Arab Cinema Centre in Cairo and adjudicated by more than 200 critics from around the world.

Goodbye Julia, directed by Sudanese filmmaker Mohamed Kordofani, won the award for Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous prelude to South Sudan's 2011 secession, Goodbye Julia tells the story of the relationship between two women from contrasting backgrounds – one from the north, the other from the south. The film has garnered acclaim for its timely exploration of morality and reconciliation. It is also the first film from Sudan to be screened as part of Cannes Film Festival's official selection.

Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania, meanwhile, won the award for best director for Four Daughters. The film, which was in the running for the Oscars this year, also won the prizes for Best Documentary and Best Editing. It tells the story of Olfa Hamrouni, a Tunisian woman who became demonised in 2016 after her two eldest daughters ran away to join ISIS in Libya.

In the best actress category, Palestinian actress Mouna Hawa won for her performance in Inshallah a Boy. The film, directed by Jordanian filmmaker Amjad Al Rasheed, also took the award for best cinematography.

Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, meanwhile, was awarded the best actor prize for his lead performance in Farah Nabulsi’s The Teacher.

Egyptian filmmaker Morad Mostafa’s I Promise You Paradise won in the best short film category, a new addition in the Critics Awards for Arab Films. French-Tunisian composer Amin Bouhafa, meanwhile, won the award for best music for Hajjan.

Finally, the ACC Achievement Award for Film Critics was given to British critic Peter Bradshaw and Lebanese critic Nadim Jarjoura.

Updated: May 19, 2024, 12:03 PM