‘Goodbye Julia,’ ‘Four Daughters’ Stand Out at Critics Awards for Arab Films Handed Out in Cannes

Sudanese first-timer Mohamed Kordofani’s “Goodbye Julia,” a timely morality tale that takes place just before the 2011 secession of South Sudan, has won top awards for both fest feature film and best screenplay at the eighth edition of the Critics Awards for Arab Films that will be handed out today at the Plage des Palmes in Cannes.

The first Sudanese film ever to screen in Cannes’ official selection, where it premiered in Un Certain Regard last year, “Goodbye Julia” (pictured) is the story of two women — one from the North, the other from the South — who are brought together by fate in a complex relationship that attempts to reconcile differences between northern and southern Sudanese communities in the war-ravaged country.

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Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s hybrid doc-drama “Four Daughters,” about an Arab mother contending with the Islamic radicalization and the sexual desires of her teenage daughters, scored three awards: best director for Ben Hania, best documentary and best editing.

Jordanian first-timer Amjad Al Rasheed’s dark social comedy “Inshallah a Boy” picked up the best actress prize for Mouna Hawa and best cinematography for Kanamé Onoyama.

The prizes focussed on Arab films that were produced and premiered outside of the Arab world in 2023. The prizes are run by the Cairo-based Arab Cinema Centre (ACC) and voted on by 225 critics from more than 70 countries. Winners will be celebrated at the Plage des Palmes in Cannes May 18.

Complete list of winners:

Best Feature Film

“Goodbye Julia,” Mohamed Kordofani – Sudan

Best Director

Kaouther Ben Hania, “Four Daughters” – Tunisia

Best Screenplay

Mohamed Kordofani, “Goodbya Julia” – Sudan

Best Actress

Mouna Hawa, “Inshallah a Boy” – Jordan

Best Actor

Saleh Bakri, “The Teacher” – Palestine

Best Documentary

“Four Daughters,” Kaouther Ben Hania – Tunisia

Best Short Film

“I Promise You Paradise,” Morad Mostafa – Egypt

Best Music

“Hajjan,” Amin Bouhafa – Saudi Arabia

Best Cinematography

Kanamé Onoyama, “Inshallah a Boy” – Jordan

Best Editing

Qutaiba Barhamji| “Four Daughters” – Tunisia

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