A double win for Zoology at Cottbus
by Bénédicte Prot
- The film by Russia’s Ivan Tverdovsky has won the Best Film and Best Actress Awards, while Hungary’s Szabolcs Hajdu was singled out for It’s Not the Time of My Life
After taking its audiences by the hand, leading them all around Eastern Europe through a variety of different styles, exploring 200 titles representing 45 countries, the 26th FilmFestival Cottbus came to a close with victory for Zoology [+see also:
interview: Ivan I Tverdovsky
film profile] by Russia’s Ivan I Tverdovsky, a co-production with France and Germany that already screened in competition at Karlovy Vary. In the film, the body of the heroine, who works at a zoo, undergoes a Kafkaesque transformation that brings her closer to the animal world that surrounds her. The jury, this year comprising famous Serbian actress Mirjana Karanović, her colleagues Tihana Lazović (Croatia, The High Sun [+see also:
interview: Dalibor Matanic
interview: Tihana Lazovic
film profile]) and Kate Molchanova (Ukraine), German journalist Elisabeth Herrmann and Israeli producer Marek Rozenbaum, praised Zoology for the way it "perfectly unites high artistic achievements and an exceptional sensitivity for human values. Using a strong metaphor, it tells us an original and emotional story about loneliness, love, hope and lust for life in a society full of bigotry, prejudice and insensitivity for others.” In addition to the Best Film Award, worth €25,000, the work also earned its lead actress, Natalia Pavlenkova, the Prize for Outstanding Actress.
The Best Director Award was bestowed upon Hungary’s Szabolcs Hajdu for his exceptional work on It’s Not the Time of My Life [+see also:
interview: Szabolcs Hajdu
film profile]. Indeed, he shot the movie in his flat, with his own children and with the help of his students, for a grand total of €4,000, in the process offering us an admirable tale revolving around family through the depiction of the chaos and harmony of day-to-day life in a Hungarian upper-middle-class household.
The Prize for Outstanding Actor rewarded the extraordinary performance by Dawid Ogrodnik in the exuberant and hysterical The Last Family [+see also:
film profile], the feature-length fiction debut by Poland’s Jan P Matuszynski that already screened in competition at Locarno and which portrays the stifling daily life of surrealist painter Zdzislaw Beksinski and his family. This masterful work also curried favour with the jury, earning it the Best Debut Film Award (which gave its Honourable Mention to the Estonian film Ghost Mountaineer [+see also:
The ecumenical jury plumped for Kills on Wheels [+see also:
film profile] by Hungary’s Attila Till. The jury of schoolchildren tasked with assessing the youth-orientated U-18 section was enthralled and bowled over by Storm Cells by Jakob Schmidt. The Best Short Film Award went to The Son by Hristo Simeonov, while a Special Award was handed to Credit by Vadim Valiullin. Lastly, the DIALOGUE Prize for Intercultural Communication was granted to House of Others [+see also:
interview: Rusudan Glurjidze
film profile], the feature debut by Rusudan Glurjidze, which is representing Georgia at the Oscars.
Here is the complete list of award winners:
Natalia Pavlenkova – Zoology
Best Film for U-18s
Storm Cells - Jakob Schmidt (Germany)
Best Short Film
The Son - Hristo Simeonov (Bulgaria)
Special Prize for a Short Film
Credit - Vadim Valiullin (Russia)
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.