Gagarine, the feature debut of Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh, wins the Explore Zone Award 2020. The French directing duo were in Ghent last week to present their debut. The Explore Zone Award, presented to them by the Explore Zone youth jury, gives them a promotional boost thanks to a media campaign in De Morgen, Knack Focus and at Studio Brussel worth 27,000 euros.
Each year, a five-member jury of young people between 18 and 26 years old decides on the winner of the Explore Zone Award. This year Florian Saerens, Reuben Martens, Ella Van Eynde, Ralph Vandamme and Monica Fierlafijn evaluated fourteen films that were selected for the Explore Zone trail and reported about them on Studio Brussel. From this trail, which offers an interesting mix of films that connect with the zeitgeist of adolescents, the jury put forward Gagarine as the winner.
The film opens with archival footage showing how cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin inaugurated the Cité Gagarine housing project just outside Paris, in 1963 as a kind of social utopia. Fifty years later, the situation is more despondent. Cité Gagarine, with its - often unsanitary - 350 apartments, chronically defective elevators and obsolete electricity and water equipment, is to be demolished. It is a fate that sixteen-year-old boy of colour Youri fiercely opposes. The hypnotic score of Amine Bouhafa and Evgueni & Sacha Galperine complements the visual spectacle.
"Gagarine takes you on a magical-realist trip through social themes such as social inequality, juvenile delinquency and infrastructural decay. This splendid directorial debut offers a refreshingly kindhearted gaze at the Parisian banlieues, which are usually depicted in a gloomy and crestfallen fashion. The film blew us away with the authentic performance of newcomer Alséni Bathily, the moving narrative and dreamy visual style that interweaves the cosmic with the terrestrial aspects of Cité Gagarine and its inhabitants. Consequently, we were unanimous in our decision that this masterful portrait deserves to be the winner of the Explore Zone Award 2020", said the youth jury.
Gagarine has already impressed the programmers of the Cannes Film Festival, who have provided the film with the official 2020 selection label. It was also warmly welcomed in the online version of the Marché du Film. In other words, the choice of the youth jury should not come as a surprise. In addition, the film is in the Official Competition and still has a chance to win the Grand Prix for Best Film and the Georges Delerue Award for Best Soundtrack / Sound Design, for which the award ceremony will take place tomorrow/Friday 23 October (7:30 pm - Kinepolis Ghent).
The Explore Zone Award was presented right before the screening of Never Rarely Sometimes Always. This intimate coming-of-age drama by Eliza Hittman received a Special Mention from the youth jury.