ANATOMY OF A FALL Dominates the European Film Awards 2023

Contributor; Slovakia (@martykudlac)
ANATOMY OF A FALL Dominates the European Film Awards 2023

The 2023 European Film Awards, held in Berlin, began with a poignant acknowledgment of the current global unrest.

The ceremony, a hallmark event in celebrating European cinema, notably highlighted the diverse backgrounds of its academy members, including those from Ukraine, Israel, and Palestine. Academy President Agnieszka Holland brought attention to the often-overlooked Armenia-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, emphasizing the film community's awareness of global issues.

This theme of solidarity and peace resonated throughout the evening, culminating in a powerful gesture by renowned German actress Sandra Hüller, who initiated a moment of silence and called for a collective projection of peace, underlining the event's commitment to global harmony amidst turmoil.

Sandra Hüller has garnered significant acclaim, earning a nomination for Best European Actress for her roles in two notable films: Justine Triet's Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest. The evening, however, was largely defined by Triet’s riveting court crime drama.

Anatomy of a Fall achieved a remarkable sweep at the awards, claiming five accolades, including Best European Film and Best Actress. Triet herself was honored with the Best European Director award.

Furthering the film's success, Triet and her collaborator in both career and life, Arthur Harari, jointly received the Best European Screenwriter award. During their acceptance, Triet and Harari offered insights into the creative process behind the film, humorously recounting their experiences of writing during the COVID-19 lockdowns. They shared anecdote of their cabin fever situation, adding a light-hearted note by confirming they both emerged from the lockdown unscathed.

Justine Triet.jpeg

In the technical categories of the awards, Laurent Sénéchal stood out, earning the European Editing Award for his work on Anatomy of a Fall. The Zone of Interest also garnered recognition, securing the Best European Sound Award. This award was jointly received by Johnnie Burn and Tarn Willers for their masterful creation of a haunting soundscape, which chillingly evoked the unseen horrors behind the fence of Auschwitz.

One of the evening's most unexpected developments was the overlooking of other acclaimed films in the major categories. Notably, Agnieszka Holland’s intense refugee drama Green Border and Aki Kaurismäki’s peculiar rom-com Fallen Leaves did not secure any awards in the main categories, despite being strong contenders.

Estonian filmmaker Anna Hints captivated the European Film Awards with her win for Best European Documentary for Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, an evocative exploration of sisterhood and trauma, set in a steam sauna. In a departure from the traditional acceptance speech, Hints energized the audience by leading them in a thank-you song, a tribute to global sisterhood and a call for peace.

During the post-ceremony press conference, Hints revealed the extensive journey of the documentary, shot over six years. Emphasizing the film's intimate nature, she explained that she and her producer chose to seek participants' consent only after showing them the rough cut, a decision that, while risky, proved successful.

The film, having made its world premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival, has since gained international acclaim and was released in multiple territories. Further, Hints teased her next venture: a foray into fiction feature filmmaking.

Anna Hints.jpeg

Mads Mikkelsen earned the title of Best European Actor for his compelling portrayal of Captain Ludvig Kahlen in Nikolaj Arcel's period drama The Promised Land. The film, set in historical Denmark, follows the impoverished captain's ambitious quest to transform the stark, unforgiving Danish heath into a thriving colony under the king’s name.

Alongside Mikkelsen's accolade, The Promised Land also received recognition for its visual excellence, securing awards for Best European Cinematography and Best European Costume Design. These honors highlight the film's achievement in bringing a vivid historical era to life through its visual storytelling.

Pablo Berger's Robot Dreams was named Best European Animated Feature Film. The film, a silent and nostalgia-tinged tale of a dog and a robot, stood out in its category. Upon receiving the award, an elated Berger took to the stage and invited his producer to join him, expressing gratitude to her and animators across Europe. In his remarks, Berger repeated the phrase "Animation is not a genre" three times, reflecting the sentiment famously expressed by Guillermo del Toro.

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The European Discovery - Prix Fipresci award was presented to Molly Manning Walker for her teen drama How to Have Sex. Walker's film offers a unique take on the trope of losing virginity during a holiday, transforming it into a rowdy but raw drama that explores consent and body autonomy. In a post-ceremony press conference, Manning disclosed plans for the film to be incorporated into an educational campaign about consent in schools.

Additionally, Charlotte Regan's Scrapper, a film on which Manning served as Director of Photography, received the European Young Audience Award. This dual recognition highlights the emerging talent in the British female filmmaking community. Manning also praised Regan for her approach to creating a safe, respectful, and non-toxic environment on set.

To a big extent, the night has been not only celebration of the European cinema, but women in the European film industry.

The full list of winners of the European Film Awards 2023

European Film
(ANATOMIE D'UNE CHUTE) directed by Justine Triet, produced by Marie-Ange Luciani & David Thion (France)

European Documentary
SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD (SAVVUSANNA SÕSARAD) directed by Anna Hints (Estonia, France, Iceland)

European Director
Justine Triet for ANATOMY OF A FALL

European Actress
Sandra Hüller in ANATOMY OF A FALL

European Actor
Mads Mikkelsen in THE PROMISED LAND

European Screenwriter
Justine Triet & Arthur Harari for ANATOMY OF A FALL

European Discovery – Prix FIPRESCI
HOW TO HAVE SEX directed by Molly Manning Walker (United Kingdom, Greece)

European Animated Feature Film
directed by Pablo Berger (Spain, France)

European Short Film
HARDLY WORKING directed by Total Refusal: Susanna Flock, Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner and Michael Stumpf (Austria)

European Young Audience Award
SCRAPPER directed by Charlotte Regan (United Kingdom)

European Cinematography
Rasmus Videbæk for THE PROMISED LAND (Denmark, Germany, Sweden)

European Editing
Laurent Sénéchal for ANATOMY OF A FALL

European Production Design
Emita Frigato for LA CHIMERA

European Costume Design
Kicki Ilander for THE PROMISED LAND

European Make-up & Hair
Ana López-Puigcerver, Belén López-Puigcerver, David Martí, Montse Ribé for THE SOCIETY OF THE SNOW (Spain)

European Original Score
Markus Binder for CLUB ZERO (Austria, UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Qatar)

European Sound
Johnnie Burn, Tarn Willers for THE ZONE OF INTEREST (UK, Poland, USA)

European Visual Effects
Félix Bergés, Laura Pedro for THE SOCIETY OF THE SNOW

European Lifetime Achievement
Vanessa Redgrave

European Achievement in World Cinema
Isabel Coixet

Eurimages Co-Production Award
Uljana Kim

Honorary Award of the EFA President and Board
Béla Tarr

European University Film Award

European Sustainability Award – Prix Film4Climate
Guler Sabanci

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European Film Awards 2023

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