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Cannes Film Festival 2015

Cannes Critics' Week loves Latin America, French entry still in running for first feature award

Jérémie Rénier as Captain Antarès Bonassieu in Clément Cogitore's The Wakhan Front selected for the Critics'  Week at Cannes
Jérémie Rénier as Captain Antarès Bonassieu in Clément Cogitore's The Wakhan Front selected for the Critics' Week at Cannes DR

The 54th Semaine de la Critique, the Critics' Week parallel festival, awarded its prizes on Thursday evening ahead of the Director's Fortnight, the Queer Palm and the official competition this weekend. 

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The top prize, the Nespresso award went to Argentinian director Santiago Mitre for Paulina (La Patota). The second prize, the French authors’ society award (SACD) went to La Tierra y la Sombra (Land and Shade) directed by César Augusto Acevedo from Colombia.

The Critics’ Week's selection also included one French film this year. It’s a first feature by Clément Cogitore and in the running for the Camera d’Or– the Golden Camera - for a debut movie. It’s called The Wakhan Front and stars Jérémie Rénier as a very blond section commander who, as happened to British soldiers in India during colonial times, goes rather doolally.

A sense of absurdity pervades the film which Cogitore says challenges the well-known French trait known as ‘Cartesian’, or steadfastly rational.

Cogitore's film gives an idea of what must have been dire isolation felt by foreign soldiers who were posted on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and suggests how relations between them and local people were fragile and easily broken down.

International assistance forces in Afghanistan finally pulled out, all except some trainers and advisers at the end of December 2014.

RFI’s Rosslyn Hyams met Clément Cogitore and they talked about his film, the dramatic shoot in the Atlas Mountains and modern-day warfare.

"I wanted to make a film about war but I didn't want to make a war film," he says.

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