CANNES - The provocatively titled film How to Have Sex, about three British teen girls who go on holiday with the aim of drinking, clubbing and hooking up, won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday (May 26).
However, there was a slight hiccup: Molly Manning Walker was not in the room when the award for her debut feature was announced. The director was on her way back from Italy and running late from the airport - prompting jury president John C. Reilly to belt out a song to distract audiences during the wait.
"I just ran here from Italy, guys," said the British director, who was out of breath when she finally took the stage in a T-shirt and jogging shorts.
Manning Walker has said that she wanted to make a film from a girls' point of view and that she hopes the film can start a bigger conversation around consent and what is good sex.
The Hollywood Reporter summarized the "striking" film as "a quiet stunner" while The Guardian newspaper gave it four out of five stars, calling it "an interestingly unsentimental film, without the coming-of-age cliches."
Hounds, by Kamal Lazraq, about a father and son in Casablanca who have to deal with a kidnapping gone wrong, took the jury prize.
The first Sudanese film to be included in the Cannes official selection, Goodbye Julia, took the freedom award.
Director Mohamed Kordofani thanked the Sudanese people for their support as well as for not giving up. "In the worst time of my country, I'm extremely proud to be Sudanese," he said.
The Buriti Flower, which follows the Indigenous Kraho people in the heart of the Brazilian forest, won the ensemble prize for directors Joao Salaviza and Renee Nader Messora.
"We want to thank and remember and honour all the spirits of the Indigenous who had their lives interrupted by massacres all over our bloody continent," said Nader Messora on Friday.
Un Certain Regard is a competition focused on arthouse films that runs parallel to the main competition, the Palme d'Or, which will be announced on Saturday.