Removal of the fists, Kira Kovalenko’s Russian drama about a young woman struggling to escape the suffocating grip of the family has claimed the top prize in the Cannes Film Festival’s 2021 Un Certain Regard competition.
The winners were unveiled at an awards ceremony held at the Debussy Theater on Friday, where other honorees included Sebastian Meises Great freedom, who received the Jury Prize, and Lamb, the Icelandic drama starring Noomi Rapace (picked up by A24 during the festival), which was awarded the Originality Award (one of several new award awards this year). In the last Un Certain Regard competition in 2019, Karim Ainouzs went top prize The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao.
This year’s Un Certain Regard competition opened with Arthur Hariri’s Onoda – 10,000 nights in the jungle, about a Japanese soldier who refused to surrender after the end of World War II. Other films in the 20-strong lineup featured a large selection of talent on screen, including Justin Chon’s immigration drama for Focus Features, Blue Bayou, starring Alicia Vikander; Kogonadas science-fiction After Yang, starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith (also starring A24); and Women are cryingwith the lead role Borat Subsequent Movie Film breakout Maria Bakalova.
British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, who presented her documentary Cow out of competition, led the jury in 2021, which also included French-Algerian director Mounia Meddour, Cesar-winning French actress Elsa Zyblerstein, Argentine filmmaker Daniel Burman and Michael Covino, whose comedy-drama The climb (which he wrote, produced and starred in) won the Un Certain Regard Heart Award in 2019.
The full list of 2021 Un Certain Regard winners is as follows:
Removal of the fists, Kira Kovalenko
Great freedom, Sebastian Meise
Good mother, Hafsia Herzi
The civilian, Teodora Ana Mihai
Lamb, Vladimir Johannsson
Night Of Fire (Prayers For The Stolen), Tatiana Huezo