Sudanese Cinema breakthrough: Goodbye Julia to compete in Cannes

Ahram Online , Friday 14 Apr 2023

Mohamed Kordofani's debut feature film, Goodbye Julia, is set to have its world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section.

Goodbye Julia


This marks the first time a Sudanese film will compete in the section, highlighting the growing strength of Sudanese cinema in recent years.

Goodbye Julia is a Sudanese drama that centers around Mona, a retired singer from northern Sudan trapped in an unhappy marriage. Mona is wracked with guilt after covering up a murder, and to make amends, she takes in the widow of the deceased, Julia, who hails from South Sudan, along with her son Daniel.

The film stars Eiman Yousif, Siran Riak, Nazar Goma, and Ger Duany and is written and directed by Kordofani.

It is produced by Station Films’ Amjad Abu Alala, acclaimed Sudanese filmmaker, who directed Sudan's first-ever Academy Award submission, You Will Die at Twenty, in collaboration with Mohamed Al-Omda.

In fact, Abu Alala's You Will Die at Twenty (2020) is one of the most celebrated Sudanese films of recent years, yet it did not participate in the Cannes Film Festival's competitive segments.

Despite Sudanese films' increasing presence at international festivals over the past years, none have made it to Cannes yet alone competed for a major award there.

However, Sudanese films have been recognized at the Cannes Critics Awards for Arab Films, an event held on the margins of Cannes festival. In 2020, Talking About Trees won the Critics Award for Arab Film.

Additionally, Sudan's rising presence in terms of topic and production was also evident in 2022, with The Dam, a film co-produced by Sudan, being nominated for the Golden Camera award. The Lebanese film is directed by Ali Cherri and focuses on the Sudanese people's rise against Omar Al-Bashir.

Kordofani has made a name for himself as a talented Sudanese filmmaker, with his short film Nyerkuk winning the Black Elephant Award for Best Sudanese Film, NAAS Award for Best Arab Film at the Carthage Film Festival, Jury Award at the Oran International Arab Film Festival, and Arnone-Belavite Pellegrini Award at the FCAAA in Milan.

Additionally, Kordofani's second short Kejers Prison was screened during the Sudanese revolution at the sit-in square in front of thousands of protesters, and his documentary A Tour in Love Republic was the first pro-revolution film to be broadcast on Sudan's national TV.

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