European Film Awards: finalists highlight Europe’s diversity


The 34th edition of the European Film Awards will be presented on Saturday in Berlin, during a virtual ceremony which rewards the best of European cinema.

Two weeks ago, the ceremony was reformatted as a “remote live event” with no studio audiences and only contestants present, as Germany grapples with increasing COVID-19 cases, this which led the federal government to ban the unvaccinated from non-essential businesses and events.

The nominees were announced in Seville a month ago – the films, coming from all over Europe, had already been selected at major festivals, even at the Oscars, and awarded.

“This is the wonderful thing about our unique award: the European Film Awards, is that we can really give a glimpse of all the different voices that are in Europe from East to West, South and South. North, younger and more experienced filmmakers, “Matthijs Wouter Knol, director of the European Film Academy, told Euronews.

“Anyone can participate in the European Film Awards and I think that’s the fantastic beauty of the awards we can give each year – that we can make that visible and we can honor and give more visibility to all these different voices. in Europe, ”Knol continued.

The selection of films in this year’s competition reflects the diversity of talent within Europe. He features voices like the one from Scandinavia in ‘Compartment N ° 6’, a Finnish film shot in Russia.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes, Juho Kuosmanen’s “Compartment N ° 6” tells the story of a young Finn who escapes an enigmatic love affair in Moscow by boarding a train bound for the arctic port of Murmansk and is forced to share the long drive and a tiny sleeping car with a Russian miner.

The unexpected encounter leads the occupants of Compartment 6 to confront the truth about their own desire for human connection.

Julia Ducournau’s powerful and bloody thriller ‘Titanium’ is also one of the runners in the competition.

The film, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, follows the story of Alexia, a runaway serial killer who was in a car accident when she was younger and now lives with a titanium plate inserted into her head.

The film’s main actor, Vincent Lindon, was nominated for the award for best European actor.

“European directors have really grown up, and even compared to Americans, there is a plethora of great directors. I’m not going to start by naming them, but we go from Lars von Trier to Pedro Almodóvar, passing by Paolo Sorrentino, etc.” Lindon told Euronews.

But one of this year’s favorites is Sorrentino’s near-autobiographical film “Hand of God” produced by Netflix.

Described as one of the Italian director’s most personal films, the plot follows the story of a boy, Fabietto Schisa, set in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s.

“The Hand of God” is a story full of unexpected joys, like the arrival of football legend Diego Maradona, and an equally unexpected tragedy.

Fate plays its part, joy and tragedy intertwine, and Fabietto’s future is set in motion.

Sorrentino returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story, a story of destiny and family, sport and cinema, love and loss.

Another close candidate, the Franco-British film ‘The Father’, by Florian Zeller, which has already won two Oscars including that of best actor for Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins.

Anthony is 80, mischievous, lives alone in a spirit of challenge and rejects the caregivers his daughter, Anne, encouragingly introduces.

Yet help also becomes a necessity for Anne as she can no longer make daily visits and Anthony’s grip on reality crumbles.

“The Father” warmly embraces real life, through a loving reflection on the vibrant human condition.

Finally, an outsider from Bosnia, “Quo Vadis, Aida? »By Jamisla Zbanic. looks back on the Srebrenica massacre during the Balkan war in 1995.

Aida is a translator for the United Nations in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Serbian army takes control of the city, his family are among the thousands of citizens seeking refuge in the UN camp.

As the initiator of the negotiations, Aida has access to crucial information that she must interpret. She is then torn between the various decisions that she will have to make for her family and people: rescue or death?

Last year’s European Film Awards were also held as a virtual event, due to the coronavirus pandemic.