Turkey’s Merve Dizdar won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for “About Dry Grasses,” the latest from festival favorite Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
She said she played “someone who is fighting for her life and she has overcome a lot of difficulties.”
“Under normal circumstances I would have to work hard on this character in order to understand her, but I live in a part of the country which enabled me to fully understand who she is,” she added.
“I understand what it is, being a woman in that area.”
🏆 Merve DIZDAR, lauréate du Prix d'interprétation féminine pour KURU OTLAR USTUNE (LES HERBES SÈCHES) de Nuri Bilge CEYLAN.
Merve DIZDAR, award winner for Best Actress in KURU OTLAR USTUNE (ABOUT DRY GRASSES) by Nuri Bilge CEYLAN. #Cannes2023 #Awards #BestActress pic.twitter.com/TEpggTQ5Rt
— Festival de Cannes (@Festival_Cannes) May 27, 2023
Dizdar also said she dedicates her prize “to all the rebellious souls in Turkey waiting to live the good days that they deserve,” in remarks which have been interpreted as her endorsement of the opposition candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, in a runoff election in the country on Sunday when the country’s next president will be elected.
In “About Dry Grasses” she plays a former activist rebuilding her life after having her leg amputated from a bombing.
She captures the interests of two village schoolteachers, and challenges their cynicism with her own dedication to political activism, in Ceylan’s trademark powerful dialogue.
The film focuses on a dejected schoolteacher frustrated with his life in a remote Anatolian village.
Shot in Ceylan’s visually arresting style, it looks at teacher-pupil relations and the roots of political engagement.
The 36-year-old Dizdar has been starring in films and television since the early 2010s after studying acting and starting out in theatre.
Her roles have included some popular TV series in Turkey, including “Wounded Love.”
Ceylan previously won the Palme d’Or for “Winter Sleep”, among multiple awards he has received over the years at the Cannes Film Festival.
© Agence France-Presse