Prize prospect for Europe’s filmmakers

Ten titles announced in Karlovy Vary for Lux competition

by Richard Mowe

Border by Iranian-Danish director Ali Abbasi
Border by Iranian-Danish director Ali Abbasi Photo: Meta Spark&Kärnfilm AB 2018
With themes ranging from immigration, populism, nationalism, the environment and globalisation, to justice, gender and diversity, the films chose by the Lux Film Prize selection panel cover a range of issues and preoccupations prevalent in Europe.

More than 50 titles were considered, spanning the best of contemporary European cinema. Ten titles were chosen to go through to the final round in November when the winner will be announced.

The selection, announced at a ceremony in the Belle Epoque salon of the Grand Hotel Pupp, comprised: Border by Ali Abbasi, an Iranian director based in Denmark who deals with the question of ethical borders, as well as the gender of the two protagonists, and their human (or not) nature. It won the best film title in Un Certain Regard section in Cannes.

Donbass by Sergei Loznitsa , set in the eastern region of Ukraine, reveals a region ravaged by violence and the deep degradation on every aspect of civil society.

Girl, a first film by Lukas Dhont makes an original, tender and extraordinary exploration of gender through the eyes of 15-year-old Lara. It received critical plaudits and a Fipresci prize at Cannes as well as the Queer Palm award.

Happy As Lazzaro by Alice Rohrwacher switches between a magical world and a realist fable that portrays a modern Italy floating between corruption, social critique and surrealism. It was rewarded in Cannes with a screenwriting accolade.

Through the story of a young man who loses his face when he falls into the body of Christ, Mug by Małgorzata Szumowska evokes a Polish society resistant to change, while Styx by Wolfgang Fischer creates a claustrophobic atmosphere in open waters, where some sail freely and others drown. This topical and sobering tale of morality critiques the state of a terrifying and polarised world.

The Other Side Of Everything by Mila Turajlić, a documentary, crosses not only the walls of an apartment in Belgrade, but confronts the history of an entire country and society in its fight against nationalism and struggle for democracy.

Another documentary, The Silence of Others, by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, sheds light on the epic struggle of those who suffered under the Spanish, 40-year dictatorship of General Franco and continue to seek justice today.

U - July 22 by Erik Poppe deals with a massacre that took place on the island of Utøya while Benedikt Erlingsson’s second feature film Women at War takes a joyful, inventive, energetic approach to a feminist saga of a woman who will do anything to protect the country she loves.

The selection was revealed by Evelyne Gebhardt, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Helga Trüpel, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, Martina Dlabajová, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control, Michaela Sojdrova and Bogdan Wenta, Members of the Committee on Culture and Education and Doris Pack, Coordinator of the Lux Film Prize.

The Audience Mention goes to Sami Blood by Amanda Kernell, which received the highest number of votes from audiences across Europe The lucky voter randomly selected from among all the participants and invited to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to announce the Audience Mention award is Sinziana-Maria Jurau from Romania.

The three films that will take part in the Lux Film Prize Competition will be selected and announced at the Giornate degli Autori press conference in Rome at the end of July.

These films will compete to be the winner of the 2018 Lux Film Prize and will become the core of the 2018 Lux Film Days.

In order to support the European film industry and help the most significant European (co-)productions to circulate beyond their national market, the European Parliament initiative subtitles the three competing films into the 24 official languages of the European Union and screens them in all 28 EU countries during the Lux Film Days.

The overall 2018 winner will be announced on 14 November in Strasbourg. The winning film will also be made available for the visually and hearing-impaired, and promoted by the European Parliament.

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