Teen wins best actor in Cannes section for transgender role

Cannes (France) (AFP) –


A 16-year-old Belgian actor won best actor in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes film festival Friday for playing an aspiring transgender ballerina who brutalises her body to further her dreams.

Victor Polster, a trained dancer, won the award for his cinematic debut in Lukas Dhont's "Girl", about a teen trapped in a boy's body desperate to speed up the gender reassignment process while trying to perfect her dance technique.

A jury led by Benicio Del Toro awarded the section's top prize to the Swedish film "Border" by Ali Abbasi, about a female customs officer with a facial disfigurement but a extraordinary sense of smell that helps her detect fraudsters.

The best director's prize went to Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa for "Donbass", a 13-episode odyssey set in the eastern Ukraine region of the same name, where government forces have been fighting pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

The award for best screenplay went to French-Moroccan director Meryem Benm'barek for "Sofia", about a middle-class, Moroccan 20-year-old scrambling to avoid bringing shame on her family after falling pregnant out of wedlock.

Un Certain Regard generally showcases more edgy, up-and-coming directors than Cannes' main competition.

The prizes are awarded a day before the awards ceremony in the main competition.

"Traffic" star Del Toro won the best male actor prize at Cannes in 2008 for his portrayal of Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's two-part film "Che".