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Belgian directors pick up major film award in US

Bilall (left) and Adil, as they bill themselves. © Cinergie/Wikimedia

Belgian film-making team Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah won last night’s Best Film award from the NAACP Image Awards in the US, for their film Bad Boys for Life.

The awards are given annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the best portrayals of people of colour in film, television, music, and literature.

Previous winners include The Color Purple, Glory, Boyz n the Hood and Malcolm X.

Bad Boys for Life is the third instalment of a franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as two Miami detectives, this time battling against a mother-and-son pair of drug lords.

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El Arbi (billed as Adil) and Fallah (billed as Bilall) are old film-school friends who teamed up on a 2011 short called Broeders (Brothers). Their breakthrough came with the 2015 adaptation of two novels – Black and Back — by Flemish author Dirk Bracke, heavily inspired by the story of Romeo and Juliet.

This led to them being picked up by Hollywood, and signed for the Bad Boys franchise. They are also due to make the fourth in the Beverly Hills Cop series in which Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Axel Foley.

The winning film was up against Da 5 Bloods, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami in the nominations for Best Film.


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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom meanwhile picked up three acting awards: Best Actress for Viola Davis, Best Actor for the late Chadwick Boseman and Best Ensemble Cast.

Boseman was also given a posthumous award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Da 5 Bloods. The actor died of colon cancer in August last year at the age of 43.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times