The Albanian triumphs at Max Ophüls fest
by Bénédicte Prot
Known as a place of discovery for young talents of German-speaking cinema, the 32nd Max Ophüls Film Festival was held as every year in Saarbrücken from January 17-23. At the event's close, the jury awarded the Max Ophüls Prize for Best Film went to Johannes Naber’s The Albanian [+see also:
interview: Nik Xhelilaj - Albania
It was a difficult decision considering the quality of titles presented, but the jury (comprising, among others, Dani Levy and last year’s top winner Maximilian Erlenwein) liked the film’s political and social relevance, as well as the rigorous, convincing and emotional storyline about the difficult journey of an Albanian who has come to Germany to find the money for the dowry that will enable him to marry the woman he loves.
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to Barbara Eder’s Austrian film Inside America for its different portrait of the American dream seen through the daily life of a Texan high school, its virtuoso directing and the skilful way it flirts with documentary.
Special Mentions were given to German director Pia Strietmann’s Tage die Bleiben, which takes a low-key look at a family in mourning and is full of humanity and emotion; and Cihan Inan’s 180° [+see also:
interview: Carla Juri
film profile], a film with a modern structure and rhythmic editing in which four people’s lives cross paths for a short time.
The Saar Minister-President Award went to Güzin Kar’s German/Swiss title Fliegende Fische Müssen Ins Meer. The SR/ZDF Prize for Best Screenplay was awarded ex aequo to Verena S. Freytag’s Abgebrannt and Nick Baker Monteys’s Der Mann der Über Autos Sprang. On the acting side, Sarah Horvath and Burak Yigit picked up honours for their young careers.
The audience’s favourite was Peter Luisi’s Swiss production The Sandman. The Student and Interfilm juries also chose Swiss titles: Michael Schaerer’s Stationspiraten and Christine Repond’s Silberwald, respectively. Meanwhile, Best Documentary of the year went to Jakob Preuss’s German film The Other Chelsea.
(Translated from French)
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