Romanian abortion drama tops European Film Awards
Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu, the stark Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days was named the Best European Film of 2007 at the 20th European Film Awards ceremony, held on Dec. 1 at the Arena Berlin.
Mungiu, whose film was awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or earlier this year, was also voted Best European Director.
Fatih Akin was the Best European Screenwriter for the psychological drama The Edge of Heaven, featuring a handful of intertwining stories set in both Germany and Turkey, in both the present and the past – in addition to the presence of veteran Hanna Schygulla. See further below the full list of 2007 European Film Award winners and nominations.
Helen Mirren (once again) named Best Actress
Curiously, next year’s possible Best Actress Oscar winner, La Vie en Rose star Marion Cotillard, was one of this year’s European Film Award losers, while last year’s Best European Actress winner, Volver star Penélope Cruz, was one of the Best Actress Oscar losers earlier this year. Helen Mirren was to blame in both instances.
About nine months after scoring the 2007 Best Actress Oscar, absentee Helen Mirren was chosen Best European Actress for her performance as a crowd-pleasing version of British Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears’ real-life-inspired drama The Queen, also featuring Michael Sheen as disgraced U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair.
How could that be? Besides the fact that movies open at different dates in different parts of the planet, the European Film Academy – unlike the Beverly Hills-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – doesn’t follow the calendar year for its nominations. Hence, several late 2006 releases can be found in the running this year.
More European Film Award winners: Sasson Gabai & ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’
The European Film Awards’ Best Actor was Sasson Gabai for Eran Kolirin’s comedy-drama The Band’s Visit – winner of the European Discovery award, the top pick of Israel’s 2007 Ophir Awards, and that country’s original submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (Due to an excess of English-language dialogue, The Band’s Visit eventually had to be replaced by Josef Cedar’s Beaufort.)
As an American, Forest Whitaker was, however absurdly, ineligible for the Best (European) Actor award for his acclaimed performance as former Uganda dictator Idi Amin Dada in Kevin Macdonald’s 2006 drama The Last King of Scotland, which received five euronominations: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (James McAvoy, who was all but ignored across the Atlantic), Best Cinematographer (Anthony Dod Mantle), and Best Composer (Alex Heffes). Macdonald’s film failed to win any trophies.
On the other hand, Tom Tykwer’s period thriller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer won two awards: for cinematographer Frank Griebe and, in the generic Prix d’Excellence (crafts) category, for production designer Uli Hanisch.
Alexandre Desplat was the Best European Composer for The Queen, while Rithy Panh’s Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers, about female prostitution, was the Best European Documentary.
Veterans Jeanne Moreau & Liv Ullmann among attendees
In attendance at the Berlin ceremony were veterans Liv Ullmann (The Emigrants, Face to Face), Jeanne Moreau (The Lovers, La Notte), and Wim Wenders (The American Friend, Wings of Desire), among others. Actors Emmanuelle Béart and Jan Josef Liefers hosted the event.
Speaking of veterans:
- Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira (A Divina Comédia, The Convent, The Fifth Empire), who’ll be turning 99 next Dec. 11, received the European Film Academy’s Honorary Award.
- Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, best known for his collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Fox and His Friends, Despair, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Lili Marleen) and Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, The Departed), was honored with the European Achievement in World Cinema Award.
- French New Wave icon Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Contempt, Alphaville, La Chinoise, Weekend) was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
There’s more: Alain Resnais’ ensemble drama Private Fears in Public Places was the International Film Critics’ FIPRESCI winner. Among the 85-year-old filmmaker’s best-known efforts are: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), Last Year at Marienbad (1962), The War Is Over (1966), Providence (1977), and Mon Oncle d’Amérique (1980).
And finally, the Audience Award for Best European Film went to Giuseppe Tornatore’s mystery thriller The Unknown Woman, starring Best European Actress nominee Kseniya Rappoport as the titular Ukrainian ex-prostitute now working as a nanny at the home of a well-to-do Italian family.
The 2007 European Film Award nominations had been announced at the Seville Film Festival on Nov. 3.
European Film Awards: Winners & nominations
* 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days / 4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile, Romania.
Directed by Cristian Mungiu.
The Edge of Heaven / Auf der Anderen Seite, Germany / Turkey.
Directed by Fatih Akin.
The Last King of Scotland, U.K.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald.
La Vie en Rose / La Môme, France / Czech Republic / U.K.
Directed by Olivier Dahan.
Directed by Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud.
The Queen, U.K. / France / Italy.
Directed by Stephen Frears.
Fatih Akin, The Edge of Heaven.
Roy Andersson, You, the Living / Du levande.
Stephen Frears, The Queen.
Kevin Macdonald, The Last King of Scotland.
* Cristian Mungiu, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
Giuseppe Tornatore, The Unknown Woman.
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose.
Marianne Faithfull, Irina Palm.
Carice van Houten, Black Book / Zwartboek.
Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
* Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Kseniya Rappoport, The Unknown Woman / La Sconosciuta.
* Sasson Gabai, The Band’s Visit / Bikur Hatizmoret.
Elio Germano, My Brother Is an Only Child / Mio fratello è figlio unico.
James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland.
Miki Manojlovic, Irina Palm.
Michel Piccoli, Belle Toujours.
Ben Whishaw, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer / Das Parfum – Die Geschichte eines Mörders.
* Fatih Akin, The Edge of Heaven.
Eran Kolirin, The Band’s Visit.
Peter Morgan, The Queen.
Cristian Mungiu, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
Anthony Dod Mantle, The Last King of Scotland.
* Frank Griebe, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
Mikhail Krichman, Banishment / Izgnanie.
Fabio Zamarion, The Unknown Woman.
European Film Academy Prix d’Excellence
* Uli Hanisch (Production Design), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
Annette Focks, Jörg Höhne, Robin Pohle & Andreas Ruft (Sound), Four Minutes / Vier Minuten.
Didier Lavergne (Make-Up), La Vie en Rose.
Francesca Sartori (Costume Design), Captain Alatriste / Alatriste.
Lucia Zucchetti (Film Editing), The Queen.
* Alexandre Desplat, The Queen.
Alex Heffes, The Last King of Scotland.
Dejan Pejovic, Gucha.
Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
European Documentary – Prix Arte
To the Limit / Am Limit, Pepe Danquart, Germany / Austria.
Belarusian Waltz, Andrzej Fidyk, Norway.
Forever, Heddy Honigmann, The Netherlands.
Echoes of Home / Heimatklänge, Stefan Schwietert, Switzerland / Germany.
* Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers / Le Papier ne peut pas envelopper la braise, Rithy Panh, France.
9 Star Hotel / Malon 9 Kohavim, Ido Haar, Israel.
The Champagne Spy / Meragel Hashampaniya, Nadav Schirman, Israel / Germany.
Where Is the Love in the Palmgrove? / Où est l’amour dans la palmeraie?, Jérôme Le Maire, Belgium.
Divorce Albanian Style / Razvod po Albanski, Adela Peeva, Bulgaria.
The Monastery, Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Denmark.
European Short Film
The nominees are Prix UIP winners in film festivals held in each of the cities listed below.
Ghent: Kwiz, Renaud Callebaut, Belgium.
Valladolid: Le Dîner, Cécile Vernant, France.
Angers: Adjustment, Ian Mackinnon, U.K.
Rotterdam: Amin, David Dusa, France / Germany / The Netherlands.
Berlin: Rotten Apple, Ralitza Petrova, U.K.
Tampere: Dreams and Desires: Family Ties, Joanna Quinn, U.K.
Cracow: Dad, Daniel Mulloy, U.K.
Grimstad: Tommy, Ole Giæver, Norway.
Vila do Conde: Plot Point, Nicolas Provost, Belgium.
Edinburgh: Soft, Simon Ellis, U.K.
Sarajevo: Tokyo Jim, Jamie Rafn, U.K.
* Venezia: Alumbramiento, Eduardo Chapero-Jackson, Spain.
Prix UIP Drama: Salvador, Abdelatif Hwidar, Spain.
* The Band’s Visit, Eran Kolirin, Israel.
Control, Anton Corbijn, U.K.
Counterparts / Gegenüber, Jan Bonny, Germany.
A Man’s Fear of God / Takva, Özer Kiziltan, Turkey / Germany.
Critics Award – Prix FIPRESCI
Private Fears in Public Places / Coeurs, Alain Resnais.
European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
European Achievement in World Cinema
Manoel de Oliveira.
Margaret Ménégoz & Dr. Veit Heiduschka.
The People’s Choice Award for Best European Film
2 Days in Paris, Julie Delpy.
12:08 East of Bucharest, Corneliu Porumboiu.
Captain Alatriste, Agustín Díaz Yanes.
Black Book, Paul Verhoeven.
I Served the King of England, Jiri Menzel.
The Last King of Scotland, Kevin Macdonald.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Tom Tykwer.
The Queen, Stephen Frears.
Reprise, Joachim Trier.
* The Unknown Woman, Giuseppe Tornatore.
La Vie en Rose, Olivier Dahan.
European Film Awards website.
Cristian Mungiu, Jean-Marc Barr, Viviane Reding, Sasson Gabai, Fatih Akin, Michael Ballhaus, Sabine Azéma, André Dussollier, Jörn Donner, Manoel de Oliveira, Jeanne Moreau, and Liv Ullmann European Film Awards ceremony images: Franziska Krug / ActionPress.
“European Film Awards: Veterans Jeanne Moreau & Liv Ullmann + Alain Resnais & Helen Mirren” last updated in April 2018.