Square: Cannes Fest Palme d’Or Winner Sweeps European Film Awards

Cannes’s Palme d’Or winner The Square, directed by Ruben Ostlund scoop best European film, comedy, script, director, and actor at the 30th European Film Awards ceremony which took place December 9, in Berlin.

Road to Gold:

The Square is Sweden’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

“We wanted to say something important, but we also wanted it to be entertaining and exciting – I think it’s part of a European approach,” said Ostlund upon receiving the prize for best European Comedy.

The Swedish helmer cited “Toni Erdmann,” last year’s big winner at the European Film Awards, as another film which uses comedy to say something meaningful about humankind and society.

Robin Campillo’s critically-acclaimed “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” the winner of Cannes’s Grand Jury Prize, took home best editing out of several nominations.

Alexandra Borbely (“On Body and Soul”) won best actress, beating out French stars Isabelle Huppert (“Happy End”) and Juliette Binoche (“Bright Sunshine In”), as well as Florence Pugh (“Lady Macbeth”) Paula Beer (“Frantz”).

The European Discovery Award went to William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth,” while the EFA People’s Choice Award was given to Maria Shrader’s “Stefan Zweig – Farewell to Europe.”

Rise of Populism

The European Film Awards ceremony was politically-charged. Wim Wenders, who presides the European Film Academy, addressed the persistent rise of populism across the continent in his speech.

“It is the oldest and worst European disease. How could it possibly creep back in our present times? How could these populist (politicians) with their lies threaten to kill our proudest dreams?,” said Wenders on stage.

“When I look at Europe, I still see a great promise with a touch of utopia. Europe is still a save haven. Europe is not a problem, Europe is a solution. Let’s defend it with all our convictions,” added Wenders.

The #Metoo movement was also discussed during ceremony by Rebecca O’Brien, the British producer of Ken Loach, along with other prominent female figures of the European industry.

“We have to listen and learn from the people we work with. The fire started in our industry and if we’re clever there is nothing to stop us too from leading by example and turning the world the right way up again. Come on Ladies!” said O’Brien.

O’Brien also suggested the launch of a “sort of help line” so that people could find a “safe haven” for complaints.

Julie Delpy

There was lifetime tribute to Julie Delpy, who received the European Achievement in World Cinema for her rich and diverse career in front and behind the camera.

Delpy said her biggest achievement had been “to survive in this business for 30-something years.” She then declared that she was launching a lottery this evening to raise 600,000 euros to gap finance her next film by December 15.  She is willing to have breakfast tomorrow with whoever would put money in her film and would even auction roles in order to lure potential investors. Delpy said the initial financiers pulled out of the projects three weeks before pre-production because they were afraid of “emotional” female directors like her.

Delpy’s frequent collaborator and co-star, Ethan Hawke, delivered a moving speech via a recorded video, telling the award-winning filmmaker and actress that he had never met anyone like her.

“You have done everything you dreamed of.(…) You’ve never taken a ‘no’ for an answer, your voice as a writer is completely original and authentic. Your work as an actor is always blistering, intense and beautiful,” said Hawke. “It’s been an absolute privilege to work with you three times as actor and writer and it’s thrilling to watch you as a filmmaker.”