Davide Abbatescianni reports from the 2018 Lux Prize, where Benedikt Erlingsson’s eco-drama Woman at War was selected as the winner. Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx earned second place, and Mila Turajlic’s The Other Side of Everything came in third. The European Parliament LUX prize casts an annual spotlight on films that go to the heart of the European public debate.


The second day of the annual Lux Prize, the prestigious award assigned by the MEPs in a plenary voting session, has seen the triumph of Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson’s feature film Woman at War. The film event kicked off yesterday with an intense media roundtable hosted by the Head of the Media Services Unit Raffaella De Marte, in presence of EP Vice-President Evelyne Gebhardt, Eurimages’ representative Susan Newman-Baudais and the three competing directors.

During the round table, all the speakers agreed on the importance of European film narrations in opening wider reflections on our founding values, the increasing need to share more European success stories and the urgency to build stronger ties with the cultural industries to guarantee social cohesion.

Today, after a quick presentation of the three competing films, EP President Antonio Tajani repeatedly highlighted the role of Lux Prize in expressing European values and touched upon the topics of nationalism and climate change. Speaking about all the selected films, he stated: “the lead characters are women who are resolute, determined, strong and, overall, in pole position when it comes to changing the order of things.” Finally, he addressed the importance of the film sector in creating job opportunities and mentioned the recipient of this year’s Sakharov Prize, the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, currently imprisoned in Russian Federation.

The winning film, Woman at War, was announced as a ‘primus inter pares’ (‘first among equals’). The prize was collected by a delegation formed by the director and producers Marianne Slot and Carine Leblanc. Erlingsson welcomed the prize and stated: I feel very honoured to be here in the temple of the power of legislation. I feel like a politician, and I think politicians are also storytellers. In fact, you are also very brave because you are taking on the real challenges of fighting against climate change. Climate change will be the focus of all politics in the future.”

Erlingsson’s drama revolves around the story of Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir), an environmental activist who tries to reconcile her dangerous attempts to sabotage her country’s electricity grid with the upcoming adoption of a child from a Ukrainian orphanage. Woman at War is Iceland’s Oscars bid and garnered a number of accolades, such as the Nordic Council Film Prize, the SACD Award in the Cannes Critics’ Week and the Art Cinema Award at Hamburg Film Festival. Produced by French firm Slot Machine and Icelandic outfit Gulldrengurinn in cooperation with Solar Media Entertainment (Ukraine), Köggull SF (Iceland) and Vintage Picture (Iceland), Woman at War will keep travelling Europe with the other runners-up through the LUX Film Days and special screenings.

The full calendar of the screenings is available here: https://luxprize.eu/agenda-2018


Davide Abbatescianni



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