Cannes prize for Brazilian movie sends message of hope, director says

By Johnny Cotton
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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Un Certain Regard prize

72nd Cannes Film Festival - Un Certain Regard prize - Cannes, France, May 24, 2019. Director Karim Ainouz celebrates winning the Grand Prix Un Certain Regard Award for the film "The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao" (A Vida Invisivel de Euridice Gusmao). REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

By Johnny Cotton

CANNES, France (Reuters) - A Brazilian victory in Cannes has sent a message of hope at a difficult time for the country's movie industry, director Karim Ainouz said on Friday after winning an award at one of the film festival's prestigious side competitions.

"The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao", a tale of two sisters and their struggles in a male-dominated society 

in 1950s-era Brazil, won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, which aims to shine a light on more unusual movies.

Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has talked of waging war on "cultural Marxism" and has reduced the remit of the country's culture ministry, leaving many filmmakers fearing it will become more difficult to get their movies made.

"I think it sends a message of hope," Ainouz told Reuters after the ceremony in the south of France.

"I think it's a brilliant year for Brazilian cinema at the festival and I think, I hope, that this is not in any way challenged by what we're going through in the country," he said.

"Bacurau" by Brazil's Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles is also in contention for this year's top Palme d'Or prize at Cannes, which will be announced on Saturday.

"The Invisible Life" centers on two loving sisters whose dreams are frustrated by some of the men in their lives, and was inspired by a book by Martha Batalha.

Variety said the film was "a gorgeous melodrama about women whose independence of mind remains undiminished", rendered in "lustrous textures, boldly saturated colors and lush sounds."

Lebanese director and actor Nadine Labaki, whose film "Capernaum" won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes' main competition last year, headed up the Un Certain jury.

She said that although politics did not play a part in this year's choice, an award from Cannes sent a strong signal.

"Every kind of recognition on such huge platforms is making everything resonate so much louder," she told Reuters.

Chiara Mastroianni - the daughter of actors Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve - won the Un Certain Regard acting prize for her role as a woman trying to decide if she did the right thing by leaving her husband, in "On A Magical Night".



(Reporting by Johnny Cotton in Cannes; Editing by Sarah White and Matthew Lewis)