The Square wins big at European Film Awards

Ruben Östlund wins in directing and screenwriting categories

by Jennie Kermode

Quintuple European Film Awards winner The Square
Quintuple European Film Awards winner The Square

This year's European Film Awards were presented in Berlin tonight by the European Film Academy and EFA Productions. They represent the highest achievements in European cinema. Academy president Wim Wenders attended the event to speak about the importance of European filmmakers supporting each other, and of his belief in the European ideal. "Our raw materials are the emotions that the Europe of bureaucrats is missing," he said.

European Film Academy president Wim Wenders
European Film Academy president Wim Wenders Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Best European Short Film was up first and was won by Juanjo Giménez's Timecode, which had to compete with 14 other contenders, all of which enjoyed great success at film festivals this year. All the other filmmakers in the category were present, along with numerous luminaries from across the continent.

Best European Animated Feature Film went to Loving Vincent, the continent's first oil painted film, which explores the life of Vincent Van Gogh. The filmmakers spoke of their excitement at the fact that their small project had done so well, and described Van Gogh as a true citizen of Europe who exemplifies the importance of free movement between countries.

Ai Weiwei attended the event to express his concerns about Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who was imprisoned in Russia three years ago for alleged terrorist offences. The Chinese dissident is considered a major contender in other awards this season for his documentary on refugees, Human Flow, which is currently in UK cinemas.

The winner of the awards for Best European Director and Best European Screenwriter was Ruben Östlund for The Square. Östlund thanked the actors who brought it to life. One of them was Best European Actor winner Claes Bang, and the film picked up a fourth award soon afterwards - Best European Comedy.

Best European Short Film award winner Timecode
Best European Short Film award winner Timecode

The Best European Actress award was won by Hungary's Alexandra Borbély for Golden Bear winner On Body And Soul. She wept openly as she expressed her thanks to director Ildikó Enyedi.

Best European Documentary went to Polish film Communion, by Anna Zamecka, which looks at a teenager's attempt to bring her fractured family back together by organising a celebration for her brother's Holy Communion. The director thanked the Polish Film Institute for refraining from setting any conditions and supporting her in making the film exactly as she wanted to.

Maria Schrader's Stefan Zweig - Farewell To Europe won the European People's Choice award, with the youth version going to Fatih Akin's Goodbye Berlin.

The FIPRESCI prize for European Discovery was won by Lady Macbeth, whose director, William Oldroyd, discussed the film in depth with us earlier this year. "I come from a country so stupid to want to leave Europe. Sorry to cause so much trouble," said Stephen Frears, presenting the award.

Best European Film 2018 is - you guessed it - The Square!

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