Tomorrow at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the 2017 Lux Film Prize will be awarded to one of three European films shortlisted this year.
This is the tenth year of the Lux Film Prize, which aims to cast a spotlight on European films that get to the heart of important social and political issues in our public debate. Previous winners of the prize include films that have gone on to international acclaim, such as Toni Erdmann (2016), Mustang (2015) and Ida (2014).
From an official selection of ten, the three finalists for the Lux prize were subtitled in the 24 official languages and are being screened in the 28 countries of the EU. Members of the European Parliament have had an opportunity to see and vote on the finalists, with the result being announced tomorrow at a prize giving ceremony in Strasbourg. This year’s finalists are a strong group, each film deserving of the prize.
Robin Campillo’s 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) recounts the story of the ACT UP, an AIDs advocacy group in Paris in the 1990s as they fight against pharmaceutical companies and general indifference and a relationship formed between a newcomer to the group and an established radical member. 120 BPM has already been selected to be France’s entry in the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film.
Sámi Blood focuses on the teenage memories of Elle-Marja, a Sámi girl who encounters discrimination and prejudice when she attempts to break away from her reindeer-breeding, pastoral family in 1930s Sweden. It is a first feature from director Amanda Kernell, who went in search of Sámi actors and discovered the main actress and her real life sister, Lene Cecilia and Mia Erika Sparrok, who deliver remarkable performances.
Western is a German-Bulgarian-Austrian coproduction that plays with the genre in the title while telling a story about tensions and friendships that develop between German labourers settled on the outskirts of a Bulgarian village. A brooding cowboy figure leads the cast of mostly non-actors who attempt to understand each other through a language barrier and cultural differences in Valeska Grisebach’s second feature after 2006’s Longing.
For us here in Ireland, two of the Lux finaliasts are playing at the Cork Film Festival on Friday 17th of November, Sámi Blood at 3.45 and Western at 6.30. Both screenings are sponsored by the European Parliament so tickets are free but do require advanced booking. 120 BPM will have three screenings at the IFI as part of its French Film Festival. All three of these films are well worth a watch, demonstrating excellence in European cinema and representing key social issues resonant with our times.
Learn more about the Lux Film Prize on their website.