Breathe in the Youth of the European Film Awards 2015
by Domenico La Porta
- The 28th European Film Awards ceremony demonstrated, last Saturday in Berlin, the dynamism of our industry and those charged with promoting it
A united Europe can only be represented through its diversity, a trait that generally leads to incongruity. Good luck. This is the general sentiment expressed each year towards the European Film Academy, which has inherited a feat as important as it is difficult to realise in just one event. The European Film Awards should celebrate the European year of film and capture the essence of European film in an industry dominated by Hollywood formats, whilst also being modern, to convince all those who think of the event as a thing of the past that the mothballs have been brushed off and swept away for good. There’s even a breath of fresh air blowing over the great celebration worthy of this name. This year, certainly more than last, European television channels missed out on a top media event organised with the production value of which the secret is Europe. The 28th European Film Awards ceremony was full of surprises, with a feeling of unity and a spirit finally all of its own. Glamorous, political, artistic, we were treated to a magnificent show lasting two and a half hours which did not leave much room for imperfection and criticism of the aging Academy, headed up by Agnieszka Holland and Wim Wenders, who are in increasingly better company.
One year on from the victory of Ida [+see also:
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile], which did well in theatres and at festivals despite its austere appearance devoid of neon signs indicating the trajectory of the film to the general public, it was the lyrically flamboyant Youth [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile] that was awarded the title of Best European Film 2015. Do we need a near figurative reaction of voters in favour of the stereotype that we must nonetheless build to allow European film to be strategically identified and promoted in international competitions? Unconsciously perhaps, as in practice, circumstance played its role. Son of Saul [+see also:
Q&A: László Nemes
interview: László Rajk
film profile], the obvious absentee of the evening, was not submitted to the Academy, owing to what we’ll refer to as a "technical" issue with no offence to the genius of László Nemes, which was perhaps for the best as the film is not very accessible to an uninformed audience. The paradox of the evening game with the People’s Choice Award for Best European Film, which went to Marshland [+see also:
interview: Alberto Rodríguez
film profile], a great film but one with a small distribution. What a joy, nonetheless, to see Spain win an award. There are others that we have yet to see win.
Age, rejuvenation and aging, variations on the same topic that were at the core of the evening on many levels. Indeed, two of the three honorary European Film Awards went to veteran actors, who also went home with the statuettes for Best Actress 2015 for Charlotte Rampling (45 Years [+see also:
Q&A: Andrew Haigh
film profile]) and Best Actor 2015 for Michael Caine (Youth) who, on his own admission, had never won any prizes in Europe before than evening. This may well justify the award, although the statuettes would perhaps have counted for more for the career of one or another of the nominees who went home empty-handed.
It was Sir Michael Caine, rather fittingly, a monumental British actor who has made a considerable contribution to Hollywood who admirably stood on the stage in Berlin and “sold” a co-production between France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Italy, the homeland of Paolo Sorrentino, an Oscar-winning director who is as we speak working hand in hand with American television networks…. All of which ties in nicely with the place occupied by Europe in the history of film and the history of our culture in a more general sense. Consider the mission of blending unity and diversity accomplished.
We can only assume we need say no more to convince you of the Youth of European film and the success with which the European Film Awards has held onto its youth. As a partner, Cineuropa would like to thank the Academy and the organisers for an excellent evening and for allowing us to be part of the common incentive that will continue to drive us forward in 2016.
The complete list of winners from the evening:
Paolo Sorrentino, Youth
Michael Caine, Youth
European Short Film
Picnic, Jure Pavlović
European Costume Designer
Sarah Blenkinsop, The Lobster
European Sound Designer
Vasco Pimentel and Miguel Martins, Arabian Nights [+see also:
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile] Vols. I-III
EFA Lifetime Achievement Award
European Achievement in World Cinema
European Co-Production Award 2015 - Prix Eurimages