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EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS 2021

Quo Vadis, Aida? triumphs at the 34th European Film Awards

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- Jasmila Žbanić's film has won three statuettes, including European Film, while Flee and The Father received two each

Quo Vadis, Aida? triumphs at the 34th European Film Awards
The cast and crew of Jasmila Žbanić's Quo Vadis, Aida? celebrate their European Film win during the ceremony

There wasn’t a clear favourite that looked set to shine at the 34th European Film Awards, which, at this edition, ended up slightly challenging the one-film-wins-it-all trend that hadn’t been bucked since 2016, whereby the main winner took home the European Film Award and at least three other prizes from among those it was nominated for (this was the case for Toni Erdmann [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Maren Ade
film profile
]
in 2016, The Square [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
in 2017, Cold War [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile
]
in 2018, The Favourite [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
in 2019 and Another Round [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
in 2020).

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The ceremony’s spotlight fell upon Quo Vadis Aida? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile
]
, the harrowing latest film by Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić, which took home three awards: European Film, European Director and European Actress for Jasna Đuričić. A visibly moved Žbanić said her movie was dedicated to the women and mothers of Srebrenica, who found a way to build peace in a country in ruins. “Women always need to find a solution to the mess created by men," she said. “I hope this award will inspire new female filmmakers and new female stories. We, as filmmakers, have a responsibility to give our audience the truth. It may be hard and not profitable, but this is our duty. Thank you so much." Đuričić, when receiving the award for her role as a selfless and courageous translator for the UN, who tries to save her all-male family from what ended up being the Srebrenica massacre, stated, “Now I have proof that I’m a European actress because when you live in the Balkans, things don’t always look like that.”

The other main winner of the night, The Father [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Florian Zeller
film profile
]
, Florian Zeller’s successful adaptation of his own play, received the Awards for European Screenwriter (for the joint work of Zeller and Christopher Hampton) and European Actor for Anthony Hopkins, who had already won the Oscar last year for this role.

This means that the two main winners of this year are films from 2020 (Quo Vadis Aida? world-premiered at Venice, in September, while The Father was first seen at Sundance, in January), which even took part in last year’s US awards season. This year’s films in contention, the most recent Palme d’Or and Golden Bear winners, respectively Julia Ducornau’s Titane [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
film profile
]
and Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Jude
film profile
]
(which are arguably a little too unconventional for Academy voters), and the multi-award-winning titles Compartment No. 6 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
by Juho Kuosmanen, The Worst Person in the World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
by Joachim Trier (which is one of the favourites for this year’s US awards season) and The Hand of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile
]
by Paolo Sorrentino (who previously swept the awards in 2013 and 2015), left the ceremony empty-handed.

A film that managed to shine bright during the ceremony was Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary Flee [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
film profile
]
, one of the sensations of the year. The film, which portrays an Afghan refugee’s journey to safety, won both the European Documentary and Animated Film Awards. When accepting the latter prize, Rasmussen thanked his fellow competitor Ari Folman, who was vying for it with his latest effort, Where Is Anne Frank? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ari Folman
film profile
]
, for paving the way for animated documentary cinema with his ground-breaking Waltz with Bashir [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

A particularly celebrated win was that of Ninjababy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Yngvild Sve Flikke
film profile
]
by Norway’s Yngvild Sve Flikke in the European Comedy category, while another one, the European Discovery - Prix FIPRESCI, could be described as somewhat muted, since the winner, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, was clearly the most well-known (and thus the least in need of being “discovered”) film of those nominated (which included gems like Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dea Kulumbegashvili
film profile
]
, Valdimar Jóhansson’s Lamb [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valdimar Jóhannsson
film profile
]
, Laura Wandel’s Playground [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Laura Wandel
film profile
]
, Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ninja Thyberg
film profile
]
and Philipp Yuryev’s The Whaler Boy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Philipp Yuryev
film profile
]
).

Once again a socially distanced event owing to the pandemic restrictions, Saturday’s ceremony (which also hosted the announcement of the three finalists for the 2022 LUX Audience Award - see the news) welcomed a few guests on site, such as this year’s honourees Susanne Bier (European Achievement in World Cinema Award) and Steve McQueen (European Innovative Storytelling Award for Small Axe [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), who delivered heartfelt speeches when collecting their gongs, while the handing out of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Hungarian master Marta Mészáros took place in her own home. It was given to her by an admiring Ildikó Enyedi, who passed her the statuette during a moving and inspirational conversation on how the filmmaker broke down barriers when she was the first female director to win a Golden Bear and kept making her own films in an ever-challenging situation for women.

As a matter of fact, this year’s edition marked only the second time in the awards' history that a film by a female director has won the main category (after Toni Erdmann did so in 2016), which proves there is still a long, long way to go.

Here is the full list of winners:

European Film
Quo Vadis, Aida? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile
]
– Jasmila Žbanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Austria/Romania/France/ Netherlands/Germany/Poland/Norway/Turkey)

European Comedy
Ninjababy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Yngvild Sve Flikke
film profile
]
– Yngvild Sve Flikke (Norway)

European Documentary
Flee [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
film profile
]
– Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Denmark/France/Norway/Sweden)

European Animated Film
Flee – Jonas Poher Rasmussen

European Director
Jasmila Žbanić – Quo Vadis, Aida?

European Actress
Jasna Đuričić - Quo Vadis, Aida?

European Actor
Anthony Hopkins - The Father [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Florian Zeller
film profile
]
(UK/France)

European Screenwriter
Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton - The Father

European Discovery - Prix FIPRESCI
Promising Young Woman - Emerald Fennell (USA/UK)

European Short Film
My Uncle Tudor - Olga Lucovnicova (Belgium/Portugal/Hungary/Moldova)

European Cinematography
Crystel Fournier - Great Freedom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastian Meise
film profile
]
(Austria/Germany)

European Editing
Mukharam Kabulova - Unclenching the Fists [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Russia)

European Production Design
Márton Ágh - Natural Light [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dénes Nagy
film profile
]
(Hungary/Latvia/Germany/France)

European Costume Design
Michael O'Connor - Ammonite [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (UK/US/Australia)

European Make-Up & Hair
Flore Masson, Olivier Afonso & Antoine Mancini - Titane [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
film profile
]
(France)

European Original Score
Nils Petter Molvær & Peter Brötzmann - Great Freedom

European Sound
Gisle Tveito & Gustaf Berger - The Innocents [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eskil Vogt
film profile
]
(Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Finland/France/UK)

European Visual Effects
Peter Hjorth & Fredrik Nord - Lamb [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valdimar Jóhannsson
film profile
]
 (Iceland/Sweden/Poland)

European Innovative Storytelling Award
Steve McQueen - Small Axe (UK)

European Achievement in World Cinema Award
Susanne Bier

Lifetime Achievement Award
Marta Mészáros

European University Film Award
Flee - Jonas Poher Rasmussen

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