Universal Language

Source: Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

‘Universal Language’

Matthew Rankin’s Universal Language and late French director Sophie Fillieres’ This Life Of Mine both won prizes in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight sidebar.

Rankin’s second feature Universal Language took the first-ever Audience Award in the section, which came with a €7,500 ($8,100) cash prize sponsored by the Chantal Akerman Foundation. It is the first audience award across the major Cannes sections, with no audience prizes given in the Official Selection or Critics’ Week sections.

The Persian- and French-language film is a comedy in which various storylines intertwine, including two women trying to retrieve some frozen cash; a tour guide leading confused tourists in Winnipeg; and a man who quits his job and goes to visit his mother.

Universal Language is produced by Metafilms Production and sold by Best Friend Forever, with Oscilloscope Laboratories acquiring US distribution rights.

Fillieres’ This Life Of Mine took the SACD Coup de cœur prize, an award for best French-language film in the section, presented by France’s Societe des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques. The film follows a once-devoted mother and partner facing the realities of middle age as she turns 55 years old.

The director began shooting her seventh feature in June 2023, wrapping at the end of July. She died less than one month later at the age of 58; post-production on the film was supervised by her children, actors Agathe and Adam Bonitzer.

The Party Film Sales is selling the title, with Jour2Fete distributing in France.

Earlier today Jonas Trueba’s The Other Way Around won the Europa Cinemas Label prize in Directors’ Fortnight.

Directors’ Fortnight is officially a non-competitive section, with no jury; these awards are presented by the audience and by partners of the section.