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Cannes: Arab films ‘Four Daughters’ and ‘The Mother of All Lies’ share prize for top documentary


Two documentaries by Arab female directors jointly won this year’s L’Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) award for best documentary at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania’s Four Daughters And The mother of all lies by new Moroccan filmmaker Asmae El Moudir were announced on Saturday at a ceremony in Cannes as the winners of this year’s best documentary.

Both films use experimental filmmaking techniques to investigate trauma stories from their home countries. In The mother of all lies, El Moudir explores her family’s history and the stories and lies surrounding the unrest and violence of the 1981 bread riots in Casablanca. With no archival footage or even photographs to draw from, she painstakingly recreates, from memory, her family’s old apartment and old neighborhood of Casablanca in the form of a miniature on a soundstage, using figurines to represent her relatives.

In Four Daughters, Ben Hania focuses on the story of Olfa Hamrouni and her children. Her eldest two daughters disappeared as teenagers and may have joined ISIS. Ben Hania casts actors to portray the missing daughters in the documentary, reenacting the devastating experience of losing the family.

Winning the L’Oeil d’or honor automatically qualifies both films for Oscar consideration. Ben Hania’s last feature film, The man who sold his skinreceived an Academy Award nomination for Best International Film in 2021.

It was the second award in as many days for El Moudir, who took home Best Director for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section for The mother of all lies on Friday. The mother of all lies came to Cannes with no distribution, but sales group Autlook should now have little trouble finding a buyer for the critically acclaimed and double-award winning drama.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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