A French-language film starring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard has been awarded the 61st Sydney Film Festival’s top prize.
Two Days, One Night was announced as the winner of the Sydney Film Prize at the festival’s Closing Night Gala on Sunday night, which capped off 12 days of intense cinema-going.
One of 12 films in the Official Competition, Two Days, One Night’s win meant an Australian film again wasn’t able to snag the top prize, with it beating out our three entries – Ruin, Fell and David Michod’s The Rover.
Directed by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Two Days, One Night stars Cotillard (of La Vie En Rose and The Dark Knight Rises fame) as a woman who has one weekend to convince her colleagues to sacrifice their bonuses so she might keep her job.
The Dardenne brothers, who’s past films include The Kid with a Bike (2011) as well as Palme d’Or winners Rosetta (1999) and The Child (2005), were unable to attend the festival, but sent a message after hearing the news.
“We are delighted and very honoured to receive this award, and would like to thank the jury, as well as our lead actress Marion Cotillard for her wonderful Sandra. In Australia, as everywhere else, solidarity is a value worth fighting for. Thank you,” they said.
The Dardenne brothers will receive a $61,000 cash prize for winning the official competition, which, now in its seventh year, was designed to recognise courageous, audacious and cutting-edge films.
The Official Competition Jury President, Australian filmmaker Rachel Perkins, explained their choice.
“For its masterfully elegant storytelling, its dedication to a fiercely humanistic, super-realist worldview, its brave, essential commitment to community solidarity, and its celebration of a woman’s power and vitality, we are delighted to present the Sydney Film Prize to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes’ Two Days, One Night,” she said in a statement.
Past winners of the internationally recognised SFF Official Competition include Only God Forgives (2013), Alps (2012), A Separation (2011), Heartbeats (2010), Bronson (2009) and Hunger (2008).