Film-makers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have been awarded the prize for best directors at the Cannes Film Festival, for their film Le Jeune Ahmed.
The film tells the story of a 13-year-old boy torn between the views of his fundamentalist imam and the temptations of the world. The brothers (photo) explained that the idea for the film arose out of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, and the need to offer an explanation for the radicalisation of young people, especially boys and men.
The award is the third time the co-directing brothers have been recognised by the Cannes jury. They previously won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest award, for their films Rosetta (1999) and L’Enfant (2005). A third win would have made Cannes history. Instead the Palme d’Or this year went to the Korean film-maker Bong Joon-Ho for his film Parasite.
Another Belgian director, César Diaz, won the Caméra d’Or – the award given for a feature film debut – for Nuestras madres (Our Mothers). Last year the same award went to another Belgian film, Girl, directed by Lukas Dhont.
Earlier, in the festival’s Directors’ Fortnight, Bas Devos presented his third feature film Ghost Tropic, in which a 58-year-old woman (Saadia Bentaïeb) falls asleep on a Brussels metro as she goes home from work, and is forced to walk home at night through the city. “It’s a sort of road movie,” Devos explained to the VRT. The film, he said, “tries to say something in a nice way about the way we look at each other.”
Le Jeune Ahmed is already in cinemas. A date for release of Nuestras madres has yet to be announced. And Ghost Tropic, which was still being edited up to the last minute before Devos left for Cannes, and which won a Critics’ Week prize worth 5,000 euros, can be seen later in the year.