Saoirse Ronan Wins Biarritz Nouvelles Vagues Acting Honors for ‘The Outrun,’ ‘Girls Will Be Girls’ Wins Grand Prize

Building on strong notices out of Sundance and Berlin, Saoirse Ronan has now won the Biarritz Nouvelles Vagues Festival’s top acting honor for her role in “The Outrun.”

Directed by Nora Fingscheidt and adapted from an acclaimed memoir by Amy Liptrot, “The Outrun” follows a young woman emerging from the throes of addiction, intercutting timelines and locales to track a downward spiral in London and the unsteady steps towards recovery along the rugged Scottish coast.

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Ronan’s acute and flinty lead performance has earned the four-time Oscar nominee some of the highest praise of her career, possibly heralding another awards run should “The Outrun” land a U.S. release date. This recent reception in Biarritz — where Ronan, in absentia, won the festival’s sole acting trophy while the film also took home the Culture Pass jury prize — might help on that front.

The festival’s grand prize went to Shuchi Talati’s mother-daughter coming-of-age drama “Girls Will Be Girls,” adding to an awards haul that also includes both an audience award and a special jury prize for acting out of Sundance. Reviewing the title out of Utah, Variety critic Siddhant Adlakha praised the filmmaker’s assured take on an often underexplored subject.

“The way ‘Girls Will Be Girls’ presents female teen sexuality — sensitively, sensuously, mischievously — is practically revolutionary in the broader context of Indian cinema,” Adlakha wrote. “Talati’s handling of the movie’s complex, often discomforting material is deft and empathetic, and as a first-time feature filmmaker, she has all the makings of a future auteur.”

This year’s Biarritz jury clearly agreed.

Led by “The Five Devils” filmmaker and “Emilia Pérez” screenwriter Léa Mysius, that under-35 jury had love to spread, celebrating Caroline Poggi & Jonathan Vinel’s “Eat the Night” with a jury prize and singling out Thierry de Peretti’s “In His Own Image” for a special mention. Both titles launched out of last month’s Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. Poggi & Vinel’s “Eat the Night” also claimed top honors from Biarritz’s even younger student jury.

'Girls Will Be Girls'
‘Girls Will Be Girls’

Finally, the Belgian action thriller “Night Call” proved its crowd-pleasing bonafides by winning the festival’s audience award. Speaking to Variety shortly after his film’s world premiere in Biarritz, “Night Call” director Michiel Blanchart described his intentions to explore the Black Lives Matter protests through the guise of a pulse-pounding thriller.

“We can make pleasurable and exciting genre fare that also reflect the harsher realities of the day,” he said. “This is a hard-hitting film that puts the main character through a tough time – and he confronts it head-on.”

Wrapping its second edition, the Nouvelles Vagues Festival invites both established and emerging talents to share an expansive vision of youth, hosting a competition dedicated to young adult stories overseen by a jury all under the age of 35. Joining invitees James Franco, Matt Dillon and Alice Diop, “Emilia Pérez” breakout Karla Sofía Gascón was this year’s guest of honor.

At a sold-out masterclass earlier this week, the Cannes best actress winner reflected on her fortuitous path and even more improbable working relationship with director Jacques Audiard.

“I told him, ‘Listen, sir, you want to make a film in Spanish, but you don’t speak a word of Spanish, and me, I don’t speak a word of French, and neither of us really speak English. How are we going to make a film together?’” she laughed. The answer was simple, and surprisingly effective: “Telepathy.”

Co-created by Sandrine Brauer and Jérôme Pulis, Biarritz’ Nouvelles Vagues Festival is being backed by Chanel, which hosted a chic opening night dinner along with an intimate concert and dressed select guests, including Gascón.

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