Cannes Festival: First ever Sudanese film premieres to wide acclaim


24 May, 2023

The first Sudanese film to be selected to feature at the Cannes Film Festival has stolen the spotlight – and for good reason.
‘Goodbye Julia’, directed by Mohamed Kordofani, starts in 2005 after the end of a civil war between Khartoum and the separatist south, and ends as South Sudan gains independence in 2011. It tells the story of how a covered-up murder brings a southern Sudanese woman, Julia, into contact with a northern Sudanese woman, Mona, and her overbearing conservative husband. Tackling racism, patriarchy and family issues, ‘Goodbye Julia’ premiered on 18 May at the Théâtre Claude Debussy to resounding acclaim and a 10min standing ovation. 
Prior to the film screening, Kordofani said he did not expect his debut feature to coincide with the breakout of a new conflict in Sudan, this time between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary RSF. While racism is not at the heart of the current conflict, Kordifani said the film’s message was still relevant, as Sudan lurches from one broken ceasefire to the next, and civilians cower from bombs and hunker down with barely any food or supplies.
The New Arab journalist Alexander Durie was in the audience when Kordifani had these words to say at the end of the screening.


Produced by Alexander Durie