22 October, 2008

LUX Cinema Prize: Winner announced

And, guess what? Our man (James Drew) got it wrong, of course, a fact that will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever read any of his Oscars predictions...

The film Le Silence de Lorna (2008), by Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, is the winner of the European Parliament LUX Cinema Prize 2008. EP President, Hans-Gert Pöttering handed over the trophy to Luc Dardennne in a ceremony in front of MEPs and representatives of the three competing films in the final on 22 October. The aim of the LUX Prize is to facilitate the circulation of European films within Europe.

In awarding the prize, Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering said: "The European Parliament has always recognised the pivotal role culture plays in our society and the award of the second LUX Prize reflects this. One of the objectives of the prize is to experience cultural and language differences within the EU. With this year's winner, a major social issue affecting Europe can be brought to cinemas in all European countries."

Director Luc Dardenne said, on receiving the prize: "We don't see enough of each other's films in different countries of the European Union. I think this prize is the first step in remedying this problem."

The stated aim of the LUX Prize, awarded for the first time in 2007, is to break down the language barriers that prevent European films from circulating in the EU and give a boost to cinematic work within the Union. The winner of the LUX Prize will have his film subtitled in the EU's 23 languages and one copy will be produced per member state in 35mm format. The prize also includes an adaptation for the deaf and hard of hearing, and eventually an adaptation for the blind and visually impaired.

Le Silence de Lorna was selected by the MEPs, with Delta (2008) (Kornél Mundruczo) and Občan Havel (2008) (our man's nomination and personal favourite) (Miroslav Janek and Pavel Koutecky) its competitors for the big prize.

The three films were part of a ten-strong official selection, chosen by a 17-member independent panel drawn from the highest levels of the cinema profession - producers, distributors, cinema operators, festival directors and critics.

And our 'pundit' says: Yah, boo, sucks - les freres Dardennes win yet another award they don't quite deserve. That's not to say Le Silence de Lorna wasn't well made or worth watching but, as far as entertainment value is concerned (as well as adhering to the remit of the competition), Občan Havel beats it hands down. Nothing like grace in defeat, is there? See you next year...

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