2023 edition kicked off at European Film Awards

2023 edition kicked off at European Film Awards

The five finalists have been announced in Reykjavík during the European Film Awards ceremony on December 10.

The 35th European Film Awards took place this Saturday, 10 December, at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík. After two years of virtual ceremonies due to Covid-related constraints, the biggest celebration of European cinema returned to a physical format in 2022, welcoming guests and nominees at the Icelandic capital, from where the ceremony was broadcasted live to the whole world. Once again, this special occasion was chosen as the official kick-off for the LUX Audience Award, whose third edition is presented by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy, with the collaboration of the European Commission and Europa Cinemas.

For the first time this year, five films will be competing for the prestigious pan-European award, instead of the usual three, in order to better showcase the diversity of European cinema, and to attract a bigger and more diverse audience. During the ceremony, presented by Icelandic artists Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir and Hugleikur Dagsson, the nominated films were revealed through a series of clips shown in between awards. This year’s shortlisted titles are Alcarràs by Carla Simón (Spain, Italy), Burning Days by Emin Alper (Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece), Close by Lukas Dhont (Belgium, France, Netherlands), Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund (Sweden, Germany, France, Turkey, Greece, Denmark, United Kingdom, United States) and Will-o’-the-Wisp by João Pedro Rodrigues (Portugal, France).

Carla Simón’s recent Golden Bear winner, Alcarràs, which was nominated in two categories at the European Film Awards (Best European Film and Screenwriter), is a gentle yet powerful film about a family forced to abandon the orchard they have been tending for years in the Catalonian countryside, portraying the harsh reality of a disappearing world. The film has been selected as the Spanish candidate for Best International Feature Film at the 2023 Oscars. The Catalonian director was part of the LUX Official Selection in 2017 with her equally endearing first feature, Summer 1993.

In Burning Days, by acclaimed Turkish filmmaker Emin Alper, a young idealist lawyer is appointed local prosecutor in a small rural town. After a seemingly warm welcome, the protagonist experiences a series of tense encounters that lead him to confront the corruption and bigotry of the local authorities, in the midst of a severe water crisis. With his latest film, which had its world premiere at the Un Certain Regard section of the 75th Cannes Film Festival, and won Best Editing at the European Film Awards, Alper delivers a strong social critique that resonates with the rise of populism in the world.

After its successful premiere in Cannes’ main competition this year, where it won the prestigious Grand Prix, Close, the sophomore feature by Belgian director Lukas Dhont, was in the running for four statuettes at the European Film Awards (Best Film, Director, Screenwriter and Actor for its young protagonist, Eden Dambrine). Following its acclaimed first feature, Girl — which was part of the LUX Official Selection in 2018 — Dhont presents another moving coming-of-age story focused on boyhood friendship, which has been selected to represent Belgium at the 2023 Oscars.

Triangle of Sadness, by Ruben Östlund, emerged as the undisputable winner of the 35th European Film Awards, winning in all four categories it was nominated for (Best European Film, Director, Screenwriter and Actor for Zlatko Burić). The two-time Palme d'Or-winning Swedish director — whose previous film, Play, was part of the LUX Official Selection in 2011 — offers another witty social satire about the ills of capitalism, featuring a memorable ensemble cast consisting of actors from different nationalities, and which received the top prize at Cannes earlier this year.

João Pedro RodriguesWill-o’-the-Wisp, which premiered in the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes, rounds up the list of nominees. In just 67 minutes, the Portuguese director — a true reference in modern queer cinema — skilfully crafts a unique musical comedy about a young prince who decides to become a fireman. With this short and funny piece of work, Rodrigues displays a series of timely reflections on the legacy of colonialism, the climate crisis and the persistence of the monarchy, through the love story of two young men challenging the status quo.

Selected by a panel of experts drawn from the European film industry (including filmmakers, festival programmers, exhibitors and young cinephiles from the 27 Times Cinema project), these five compelling films stand as perfect examples of the unchanging goal of the project: to celebrate, support and promote films that deal with current social and political issues affecting European citizens.

All five films will be subtitled in the 24 official EU languages to enhance their circulation, touring the continent over the upcoming months. European audiences are encouraged to watch and rate the films (five stars ‘excellent’ to one star ‘poor’) until 12 June 2023. As in previous editions, the recipient of the award will be determined by the public and by the Members of the European Parliament (each party representing 50% of the votes). Eventually, one of them will follow in the footsteps of Jasmila Žbanić’s powerful drama Quo vadis, Aida?, which emerged as the most appreciated work last year. The winner will be announced during the Plenary Session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 14 June 2023. Among the people taking part in the rating process, ten lucky winners will be invited to attend the ceremony, while other contestants will get a chance to win a set of prizes from the nominated films.

The rating platform is already available on the LUX Award official website.