Members of the European Parliament will vote for a winner from three European films shortlisted this week for the institutions’ Lux film prize.
Parliament Vice-President Gianni Pitella and Silvia Costa, an MEP on the culture committee, made the announcement at the Venice International Film Festival in Rome on 23 July after a panel of notable members of the European film industry cut the candidates down to just three finalists.
The Parliament awards the Lux prize ever year to films showcasing the “richness, diversity and excellence of European cinema”. It selects a broad, multilingual range of films, with directors coming from across the European Union.
This year’s selection panel included Francesca Feder, the director of last year’s winner ‘Shun Li and the Poet’, Director of ARTE Cinema Olivier Père and Sight and Sound and Independent on Sunday film critic Jonathan Romney.
‘Miele’ ('Honey'), a French and Italian co-production directed by Valeria Golino (of ‘Rain Man’ and ‘Hot Shots!’ fame), ‘The Selfish Giant’, a British film by Clio Barnard, and Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen’s ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ were the three deemed a cut above the rest of the films in this year’s 10-strong official selection.
Marisella Rossetti, a Parliament film and culture spokesperson, singled out ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ as a key contender but remained coy over the film’s plot and themes ahead of its release.
“I don’t want to unveil the details of that film but it will touch a lot of people in Europe,” Rossetti told EurActiv.
All the films will hit the silver screen in all EU countries from mid-October to December this year. They will be subtitled in all European official languages.
The Parliament describes ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ as an “intense melodrama, full of passion and music”, as it charts the love affair between Elise and Didier and their torment as they deal with the declining health of their six-year-old child.
“It is love at first sight, in spite of major differences”, the Parliament says in its synopsis. “The Broken Circle Breakdown examines how love can conquer fate, and sometimes not”, a perhaps thinly-veiled lesson for the crisis-hit European public at whom the prize is aimed.
But Rossetti described as "superficial" potential analysis that the film was about ‘overcoming a crisis together’.
“Things are more difficult than to link it in a direct way to European themes,” she said. “These are all European and worldwide themes: immigration, integration, working class problems and so on”.
“The aim of the Lux prize is also to debate the reason why the films are in the list. European themes are big but it’s more universal.”
MEPs will vote for a winner in December.
The European Parliament's Lux Prize began in 2007. The stated aim of Lux, 'light' in Latin, was to spur public debate about European issues such as integration and to facilitate the diffusion of European films in the European Union.
The films must meet a number of criteria for them to be eligible for selection, including being fiction or documentary (including animated), have a minimum length 60 minutes, have been produced or co-produced in an EU country or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. They must also illustrate the universality of European values and the continent's diversity of culture.
Members of the European Parliament have the final vote to decide the prizewinner.
- December 2013: MEPs to vote for winner of Lux 2013