Who will win big at this year's European Film Awards?
The European Film Academy has added a further 21 features to its shortlist for the 2023 European Film Awards, including Cannes premiering films The Zone of Interest, La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Taste of Things) and Club Zero, as well as Venice Competition titles The Green Border, Woman of..., Holly and Io Capitano (Me, Captain).
The shortlist for the 36th European Film Awards now comprises 40 features.
A total of 31 European countries represented, reflecting the strength and diversity of features from European filmmakers. The European Film Academy said that more than 40% of all selected films are directed by women.
The first 19 titles titles in the running for the 2023 European Film Awards were unveiled in August and included Cannes titles How To Have Sex, The Old Oak and Firebrand.
Amongst our favourites here at Euronews Culture are Kuolleet lehdet (Fallen Leaves), Aki Kaurismäki's morose yet uplifting romance which welcomes all newcomers to the master of droll's oeuvre to what Finnish feelgood feels like; Christian Petzold's terrfic, Berlinale-premiering Roter Himmel (Afire), which made it onto our list of the Top Films of 2023 (So Far); Nikolaj Arcel's Bastarden(The Promised Land), in which the ever-masterful Mads Mikkelsen plays an impoverished 18th century captain on a mission to conquer the harsh heath; and Justine Triet's Palme d'Or winner, L'anatomie d'une chute (Anatomy of a Fall), an Alpine murder-mystery that doubles as a captivating courtroom drama.
However, for our money, there are two titles which already stand as strong frontrunners for Best Film at this year’s European Film Awards: Jonathan Glazer’s profoundly distrubing and ambitious Holocaust film The Zone of Interest (click here for our Cannes review), and Agnieszka Holland’s powerful immigration drama Zielona Granica (The Green Border), an emotionally devastating wake-up call for EU nations and their inaction with regards to the horrors on the edge of Europe. (Click here for our Venice review.)
The Zone of Interest went home from Cannes with the Grand Prix and the FIPRESCI Prize, while The Green Border won Venice’s Special Jury Prize. The latter and has been courting controversy – with a huge political backlash against the film from the Polish government.
Stanisław Żaryn, the government plenipotentiary for the security of the Polish information space, accused the director of being “out of touch with reality” and making “insinuations that are used to attack Poland, Poles and the government”.
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro lashed out at Holland online, comparing the movie, and its depiction of Polish border guards, to “ Nazi propaganda .”
The Federation of European Screen Directors (FERA) joined several European filmmakers coming out in support of Agnieszka Holland. In an open letter, FERA said it was “full of admiration” for Holland for her “strength and courage in the face of the appalling attacks against her and the film in Poland. We stand squarely behind Agnieszka.”
The Federation said its members “fully endorse” the European Film Academy (EFA), which also condemned Zibro’s comments and praised Holland for “speaking out against injustice and oppression.”
The political backlash has not deterred Polish spectators from going to cinemas to see The Green Border, even though some theatres have been subjected to protests by neofascist groups. Polish distributor Kino Świat said earlier this week that the film, which launched theatrically on 22 September, had drawn 137,000 spectators on its opening weekend which is the best result for a Polish film in 2023.
It was also recently announced that the film is headed to the Vatican, following its selection for its 27th Tertio Millenio Film Festival in November. The Polish director will also receive the festival’s Special Fuoricampo Prize in the Vatican Library on 13 November, ahead of the screening in the presence of top Vatican representatives.
The annual Fuoricampo prize is assigned to a film that has “explored themes linked to the deepest meaning of life and shaken consciences”, according to the festival the organizers. The Tertio Millenio Film Festival was founded by the Polish Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła, who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 and later canonized as Pope Saint John Paul in 2014.
The 4,600 members of the European Film Academy watch the selected films and vote on the nominations. Based on their votes the nominations in the feature film categories ‘European Film’, ‘Director’, ‘Actor’, ‘Actress’ and ‘Screenwriter’ will be made public on 7 November 2023.
The winners will be announced at the European Film Awards ceremony in Berlin on 9 December 2023.
Here are the additional titles:
- Animal - Sofia Exarchou (Greece/Austria/Bulgaria/Romania/Cyprus)
- Blaga's Lessons - Stephan Komandarev (Bulgaria/Germany)
- Club Zero - Jessica Hausner (Austria/UK/Germany/France/Denmark/Qatar)
- Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World - Radu Jude (Romania/Luxembourg/France/Croatia)
- Excursion - Una Gunjak (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia/Serbia/France/Norway/Qatar)
- Explanation for Everything - Gábor Reisz (Hungary/Slovakia)
- Green Border - Agnieszka Holland (Poland/France/Czech Republic/Belgium)
- Holly - Fien Troch (Belgium/Luxembourg/Netherlands/France)
- Housekeeping for Beginners - Goran Stolevski (North Macedonia/Croatia/Serbia/Poland/Kosovo)
- Me, Captain - Matteo Garrone (Italy/Belgium)
- Paradise Is Burning - Mika Gustafson (Sweden/Italy/Finland/Denmark)
- Society of the Snow - JA Bayona (Spain)
- Stepne - Maryna Vroda (Ukraine/Germany/Poland/Slovakia)
- Sweet Dreams - Ena Sendijarević (Netherlands/Sweden/France/Indonesia)
- Tatami - Guy Nattiv, Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Georgia/USA)
- The Taste of Things - Tran Anh Hung (France)
- The Promised Land - Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark/Germany/Sweden)
- The Universal Theory - Timm Kröger (Germany/Austria/Switzerland)
- The Vanishing Soldier - Dani Rosenberg (Israel)
- The Zone of Interest - Jonathan Glazer (UK/Poland/USA)
- Woman of... - Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert (Poland/Sweden)
The previously-selected titles:
20,000 Species of Bees - Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren (Spain)
Afire - Christian Petzold (Germany)
Anatomy of a Fall - Justine Triet (France)
Behind the Haystacks - Asimina Proedrou (Greece/Germany)
Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry - Elene Naveriani (Switzerland/Georgia)
Close Your Eyes - Víctor Erice (Spain/Argentina)
Fallen Leaves – Aki Kaurismäki (Finland/Germany)
Femme - Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping (UK)
Firebrand - Karim Aïnouz (UK)
How To Have Sex - Molly Manning Walker (UK/Greece)
Kidnapped - Marco Bellocchio (Italy/France/Germany)
La Chimera - Alice Rohrwacher (Italy/France/Switzerland)
Safe Place - Juraj Lerotic (Croatia/Slovenia)
Slow - Marija Kavtaradze (Lithuania/Spain)
The Animal Kingdom - Thomas Cailley (France)
The Goldman Case - Cédric Kahn (France)
The Happiest Man in the World - Teona Strugar Mitevska (North Macedonia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Belgium/Slovenia/Croatia/Denmark)
The Old Oak - Ken Loach (UK/France/Belgium)
The Teachers' Lounge - Ilker Çatak (Germany)
The 36th European Film Awards take place in Berlin on 9 December. The****European Film Academy will present the actress Dame Vanessa Redgrave with the European Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding body of work.