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‘The Landscape and the Fury,’ ‘Rising Up at Night,’ ‘My Memory Is Full of Ghosts’ Win Top Awards at Visions du Réel

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The Landscape and the Fury” by Switzerland’s Nicole Vögele took the Grand Jury Prize in the International Feature Film Competition at Swiss doc festival Visions du Réel on Friday.

Shot on the Bosnian-Croatian border, which is also the European Union border, the film unveils the struggle of refugees being chased away by police and navigating a terrain still contaminated with mines from the Bosnian War.

It marks a return to VdR for Vögele, who premiered her first short film “Mrs Loosli” at the fest in 2013. Her 2018 debut feature, “Closing,” won the Special Jury Prize for Filmmakers of the Present at Locarno.

Her win marks a hat-trick for Swiss documentaries after Peter Mettler picked up the top prize last year with “Where the Green Grass Grows” and Tizian Büchi won in 2022 with “L’Îlot.”

The jury, composed of Italian journalist and former Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian, producer Dora Bouchoucha and filmmaker Carmen Jaquier, said they were “impressed by the approach of a film which renders, little by little, the complexity of reality and allows the viewer to question their place in the world.”

The Special Jury Award was handed to Nelson Makengo’s “Rising Up at Night,” which portrays a community in Kinshasa navigating the challenges of a flooded city under the cover of darkness. The film had its world premiere at this year’s Berlinale in the Panorama section.

“Rising Up at Night”
Courtesy of Nelson Makengo

A Special Mention went to “My Memory Is Full of Ghosts” by Anas Zawahri, which follows the people of Homs in Syria haunted by the destruction of war and in search for normality, and “We Are Inside” by Farah Kassem, in which the filmmaker returns to live with her ageing father in Lebanon as the two find a common language in poetry.

The top prize in the more experimental Burning Lights competition went to “A Fidai Film” by Kamal Aljafari, in which the filmmaker reveals photos and footage seized from the Palestine Research Center in Beirut by the Israeli army during the 1982 military intervention in Lebanon in a process he describes as “the camera of the dispossessed.”

Martín Rejtman picked up the Special Jury prize for “Riders,” described by the jury as a film which “takes the people who toil thanklessly and invisibly to make the rest of our lives comfortable as its focus. It makes these workers visible, not through patronizing ethnography or exposition, but through the power of the moving image.”

The National Competition prize went to Felix Hegert and Dominik Zietlow’s “Brunaupark,” a vivid portrayal of a community’s struggle against gentrification and real estate speculation.

“Valentina and the MUOSters” by Francesca Scalisi picked up the special jury prize for its “warm yet powerful tale of emancipation, embedded in a cherished landscape that is threatened by humans and nature alike.” Special mentions went to “An Ordinary Life” by Alexander Kuznetsov and “Sauve qui peut” by Alexe Poukine.

Reflecting on the festival’s impact, artistic director Emilie Bujès said: “It’s a pleasure to see the work of a bold – and Swiss – filmmaker rewarded for a major film. (…) The rest of the list of prize winners – both adventurous and joyful – is extremely open from a geographical perspective, including films from Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East. It therefore embraces numerous forms and approaches, strongly embodying the diversity of the 2024 programming, which has reached many different audiences over the last 10 days.”

Visions du Réel ran in Nyon from April 12 until this Sunday, and continues online until April 28.

Find the full list of winners below:

International Feature Film Competition Jury
Grand Jury Prize
“The Landscape and the Fury,” Nicole Vögele (Switzerland)

Special Jury Award
“Rising Up at Night,” Nelson Makengo (Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgium, Germany, Burkina Faso, Qatar)

Special Mentions
“My Memory Is Full of Ghosts,” Anas Zawahri (Syria)
“We Are Inside,” Farah Kassem (Lebanon, Qatar, Denmark)

Burning Lights Competition
Jury Prize
“A Fidai Film,” Kamal Aljafari (Palestine, Germany, Qatar, Brazil, France)

Special Jury Award
“Riders,” Martín Rejtman (Argentina, Portugal, Venezuela)

Special Mention
“(Revolution, Fulfil Your Promise) Red Love,” Dora García (Mexico, Spain, Norway, Belgium)

National Competition
Jury Prize
“Brunaupark,” Felix Hergert and Dominik Zietlow (Switzerland)

Special Jury Award
“Valentina and the MUOSters,” Francesca Scalisi (Switzerland, Italy)

Special Mentions
“An Ordinary Life,” Alexander Kuznetsov (France, Switzerland, U.S.)
“Sauve qui peut,” Alexe Poukine (Belgium, Switzerland, France)

International Medium Length and Short Film Competition
Jury Prize for the Best Medium Length Film
“Campus Monde,” N’tifafa Y.E. Glikou (Senegal, Benin, France)

Jury Prize for the Best Short Film
“Memories of an Unborn Sun,” Marcel Mrejen (Algeria, France, Netherlands)

Youth Jury Prize
Special Youth Jury Award for a Medium Length Film Offered by École Moser CHF 4,000
“Koka,” Aliaksandr Tsymbaliuk (Poland)

Special Youth Jury Award for the Best Short Film Offered by Mémoire Vive CHF 2,500
“A Move,” Elahe Esmaili (Iran, U.K.)

Grand Angle
Audience Award
“No Other Land”

Interreligious Award
“Kamay,” Ilyas Yourish and Shahrokh Bikaran (Afghanistan, Belgium, Germany, France)

Zonta Award
“Les Miennes,” Samira El Mouzghibati (Belgium, France)

International Critics’ Award – FIPRESCI Award
“Les Miennes,” Samira El Mouzghibati (Belgium, France)

Perception Change Award
“Save Our Souls,” Jean-Baptiste Bonnet (France)

Prix RTS
“Après nous le feu,” Chamsi Diba (Switzerland)