After having stopped by some of the main festivals in Europe, such as the Zagreb Film Festival, the Leiden Film Festival and the Viennale (read the news), the LUX FILM DAYS are continuing their tour across the continent. The three LUX Prize 2014 finalists, Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, Rok Biček’s Class Enemy and Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, have enlightened audiences with their insightful takes on three different European identities, ranging from the Mediterranean sun to the Northern Lights.
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival welcomed the films to the southern corner of the continent from 4-6 November. A rough total of 1,000 viewers attended the three screenings. After the screening of Girlhood, the festival hosted a press conference introducing the LUX Prize, which saw the attendance of EPIO press office head in Greece Leonidas Antonakopoulos, former MEP Chrysoula Paliadeli, film critic and industry professional Michel Demopoulos and Girlhood’s lead actress, Karidja Touré.
“We strive to support open public debate – by definition, the initiative cultivates this dialogue and communication between countries,” expressed Antonakopoulos, as he talked about the objective of the LUX Prize. In order to achieve this, in Demopoulos’ words, “The LUX team has now expanded to include critics, distributors, directors and actors, who are replaced by other industry professionals after having served some time as members of the selection panel.” On the other hand, Paliadeli added her point of view: “After I got elected for the European Parliament, I immediately realised that this prize is part of an arsenal that uses culture to support the idea of Europe, through an institution run by industry experts.” She continued by pointing out that the initiative “also activates MEPs, who ordinarily do not follow developments in the arts or cinema”. It seemed entirely appropriate to address all of these topics after the audience had watched Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, a film born in the streets and stemming from modern European (and French, in particular) society. Lead actress Touré, one of the film’s cast and selected from among ordinary people in the Parisian suburbs, stressed: “It was a wonderful experience being part of a film that deals with adolescence and friendship.”
Not too far from Greece, another country bathed in the Mediterranean sun, Malta, welcomed the three films at screenings in its capital. La Valletta’s historic St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity cinema hosted the screenings from 5-9 November, drawing in a significant number of attendees, who were attracted by the quality of the films and their spotlight on European diversity.
On their journey northwards, the LUX FILM DAYS also stopped by the International Film Festival Bratislava, where the three films were screened to an eager audience, comprising more than 400 viewers, from 8-12 November. The films were accompanied by special presentations, with MEP Anna Zabroska in attendance to introduce Girlhood, and MEP Eduard Kukan and Bratislava’s EPIO press office head, to introduce Class Enemy.
Lastly, up in the cold northern climes of the continent, the Stockholm Film Festival welcomed the three films from 6-15 November. In fact, Girlhood, selected in the Official Competition, was the big winner at the festival, taking home the Bronze Horse for Best Film. Céline Sciamma’s movie managed to become one of the gathering’s main assets, from its first screening in front of more than 250 viewers to the successful Q&A and face-to-face held on 9 November, which saw the presence of Sciamma herself, along with Swedish Film Institute and LUX Selection Panel member Per Eriksson.
Photo: Thessaloniki International Film Festival