Hatem Ali’s The Long Night (Al Layl Al-Tawil) won The Golden Tauro for best film in the Mediterranean Competition section of the 55th Taormina International Film Festival.

The political drama tells the story of dissidents in Syria and was awarded for the way it deals with moral and political issues.

In the same section, Zrubavel, a film exposing the difficult life of the Ethiopian community in Israel, won the Special Jury Prize. It is directedby Israeli film-maker Shmuel Beru.

Emilie Dequenne took the prize for best performance for her role in Andre Techine’s La Fille du Rer, while the best director award went to Nour-Eddine Lakhmari for Casanegra.

In the Beyond The Mediterranean Section, the audience award for best film went to US director Gustave Reininger’s Corso – The Last Beat, the story of the last living Beat poet Gregory Corso.

The festival jury included film-makers Laurent Cantet and Ari Folman, and actress Aimee Mullins. Jessica Lange, Catherine Deneuve and Dominique Sanda were among the recipients of the Taormina Art Award.

The festival, which takes place in and around Taormina in Sicily, included a focus on French films but also screened a selection of titles from New Brazilian Cinema.

French actress Fanny Ardant was at the festival to introduce Ashes and Blood, her directorial debut. Hugh Hudson was also on hand to introduce his 1985 controversial film Revolution, which was the closing night film.