Oliver Hermanus’ South African drama Skoonheid / Beauty, won won the Queer Palm at Cannes film Festival.
The first Afrikaans film to be screened at Cannes, “Skoonheid”, on Saturday won the Queer Palm award for its portrayal of a middle-aged South African man struggling with his latent homosexuality.
Oliver Hermanus’s film, whose title means “beauty” in the Afrikaans language, featured in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section and won the parallel award for the the best film dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual issues.
“We were struck and marked by this film about self-hate, homophobia and racism. ‘Skoonheid’ is a disturbing, radical film, real cinema,” said French journalist and jury president Elisabeth Quin.
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Synopsis from the trailer
Francois lives a skillfully controlled, well managed life, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Father of two daughters and a devoted husband, he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean and ordered existence.
23-year-old Christian is the son of a long lost friend. By all accounts he is the personification of a handsome young man in the prime of his life. Francois is so disarmed by the young man that it instantly ignites within him an all consuming infatuation and misplaced lust.
Despite his careful concealed disgust for himself, Francois pours out the lost emotions he has despised all his life in what becomes a desperate attempt at taking from the world that which he has always secretly wanted: Happiness.