One of the most sought-after prizes at this year’s European Film Awards, held this Saturday in Berlin, is European director of the year.
Here’s a look at the six nominees.
Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round)
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Thomas Vinterberg is one of Denmark’s most important, award-winning, and internationally celebrated directors.
His international breakthrough came in 1998 with Festen – the first Dogme 95-film – and it earned him several international awards, including the Cannes Jury Prize.
In 2012, Vinterberg won acclaim for Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated drama The Hunt, which also earned Mads Mikkelsen the best actor gong at Cannes.
He is nominated at the 2020 European Film Awards for Another Round, a festive film about love and friendship but also about the euphoria and hangovers that alcohol can cause.
Agnieszka Holland (Charlatan)
Agnieszka Holland was born in Warsaw and has directed and/or written over 30 films in her illustrious career.
Her film Fever won the Polish Film Festival. It also earned Barbara Grabowska the best actress gong at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1981.
Europa Europa, a historical war drama that came out in 1990, won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.
Darkness, in 2011, saw Holland notch up a third Oscar nomination.
Her latest film, Charlatan, is inspired by the true story of herbalist Jan Mikolasek, who dedicated his life to caring for the sick in spite of the immense obstacles he faced in his private and public life. As in most of her films, the characters cross the history of the 20th century and of Europe.
Jan Komasa (Corpus Christi)
Polish director Jan Komasa is one of the new names in European cinema to watch.
His nomination at the 2020 European Film Awards is for Corpus Christi, a thriller that takes a modern look at Poland.
Komasa studied directing at the Łódź Film School. His short film Nice To See You world-premiered at Cannes’ Cinefondation competition, where it won third prize. His feature film debut, Suicide Room, premiered in the Panorama section of the Berlinale and attracted over 800,000 viewers in Polish cinemas.
Maria Sødahl (Hope)
Born in Trondheim in 1965, Maria Sødahl graduated as a director from the Danish Film School in 1993. She has made several shorts and documentaries before her first fiction feature, the award-winning Limbo in 2010.
A nine-year gap separates Sødahl’s breakthrough feature and Hope, a sensitive and honest drama based on the Norwegian director’s own experiences. It portrays a woman who learns that she has only a few months to live because of a tumour. Her whole life is called into question, her relationship, family and work.
Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden)
Pietro Marcello made his first short films in 2003, Carta and Scampia. In 2005 he made the documentary La Baracca, which won the public prize at Videopolis. That year he also collaborated as a volunteer with an NGO in the Ivory Coast to create the documentary Grand Bassan.
He is nominated at this weekend’s awards for Martin Eden. He revisits Jack London’s masterpiece and places it in Naples last century.
François Ozon (Eté 85)
François Ozon was born in Paris in 1967. With a master’s degree in cinema, he entered the famous French school of cinema, La Fémis, in 1990. Since then, he has been shooting many movies in super-8, video, 16mm and 35mm.
Many of his features films has been selected at international festivals. In 2019, By The Grace of God won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale.
François Ozon has already tackled many genres, periods and styles in his films. In Eté 85, he returns to his adolescence, adapting a cult novel and the love story between a teenager and a boy. A fair and dazzling film.
Journalist name • Frédéric Ponsard