French critic and president of the jury Elisabeth Quin said: "We were struck and marked by this film about self-hate, homophobia and racism." Director Oliver Hermanus hopes the film will receive wide spread attention in South Africa.
The Festival de Cannes website gives the following synopsis about the film:
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.
Times Live provides some back story about the win for South Africa’s film industry.
Deon Lotz, the South African actor who portrayed the roll of Francois, said he was "ecstatic" that the film had won the award.
"It gives us wonderful recognition as a film and for South Africa’s growing film industry," he said.
Lotz, who also plays the role of FW de Klerk in the film, Winnie, said of the role: "I wouldn’t say Francois was a closet gay. He just didn’t know how to deal with these feelings he had suppressed all his life – because of Afrikaner men having to be a certain way."
He said the movie appealed to all international audiences because "there are many Francoises out there in the world".
You can watch a preview of the film on the Cannes website.