India walked away with one of the top honours at the 5th Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which closes today. First-timer Gurvinder Singh’s Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse), a disturbing look at the Dalit Sikhs in Punjab, won the Special Jury Prize in the New Horizons Competition.
While Jayashree Basavaraj from India clinched the Best Actress trophy playing mother to an AIDS orphan in South Africa in Avi Luthra’s Lucky, Woody Harrelson was adjudged the Best Actor for essaying a brutal cop in Oren Moverman’s Rampart from the
Gemma Atwal, born to an Indian mother but raised in the U.K. as an adopted daughter of a British couple, was named the Best New Director in the Documentary Feature Competition for her insightfully bold look at Budia, the child prodigy in Orissa who along with his coach once aspired to compete at the Olympics.
In the main Narrative Feature Competition, Marjane Satrapi’s Chicken with Plums in French won the Festival’s highest award, Black Pearl Award.
The 10-day Festival, which gives away its prizes on its penultimate day, allowing access to those who may want to see the winning movies that they may have missed earlier, zeroed in on Venice premiere Chicken with Plums, a humorously tragic tale of a depressed Iranian violinist in the 1950s, who looks back on his life after his marriage fails and instrument breaks down. The Special Jury Prize in the Narrative Feature category was awarded to the extremely well-made and gripping family drama, Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, that deals with the estrangement of a couple and how it hits their 11-year-old daughter.
Ismael Ferroukhi was named the Best Director for his Free Men that talks about a forgotten chapter from Nazi occupied Paris in 1942 and the invaluable role of the Grand Mosque there in helping Jews escape Hitler’s tyranny.