“Birds Are Singing in Kigali” Gets the Best Actress Awards at the Karlovy Vary IFF / by Ada Zielinska

Jowita Budnik and Eliane Umuhire have been awarded with the Best Actress Prizes at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival that finished on July 8th. The Birds Are Singing in Kigali by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze have had its world premiere in the competition of the festival and was welcome with an enthusiastic reviews of the international press, praising the acting, cinematography, as well as an innovative and semi-experimental form of the narrative.


Laurence Boyce of the Screen Int. finds both the leading roles appealing: “Jowita Budnik – a frequent collaborator of the Krauzes – gives a brittle and subtle performance as Anna, with emotions bubbling under the surface ready to explode at any moment. But the stand-out is Rwandan actress Umuhire whose combination of quiet dignity and fierce anger is mesmerising.” Variety’s Guy Lodge observes: “The actors, for their part, keep things effectively simple amid this agitated mise-en-scène, with Umuhire particularly powerful as she wrestles with Claudine’s alternately surging feelings of anger, exasperation and abject, petrifying grief.” David Gonzales of the Cineuropa praises the film, which – according to him – “demonstrates uncompromising visual creativity worthy of the bravest of experimental film.”

Jowita Budnik (Anna) reacted to information about the Prize with joy: “I’m very happy and also grateful to Joanna and Krzysztof. It is our next film together and they always take me in a fascinating intellectual journey. Each of the screenplays they wrote and offered to me was a new and fully gratifying experience for an actress, who was given a chance to play a full range of deep and multi-dimensional emotions.” Eliane Umuhire (Claudine) adds: “For me this prestigious Prize, which is completely unexpected, is a proof that if one takes risk, follows the dreams, is truthful to oneself, and – at the same time – has a chance of meeting and trusting people like Joanna, then everything is possible. This is my very first award and it will stay in my heart for ever.”       

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