Special Report: European Film Awards, Rome, ITALY 2002

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
At the European Film Awards held on December 6 in Rome, Pedro Almodovar from Spain was the grand slam winner taking home awards for best film, best director, and best screenplay. His newest creation Talk to Her (Hable con ella) is a melodrama about a man obsessed with a younger dancer who gets into an accident and lies comatose in the hospital. Her admirer becomes her attendant and dubious healer. A parallel story concerns a man who falls in love with a wounded bullfighter who winds up in the same hospital comatose. You have probably seen the production still – or soon will: two women with sun glasses in wheel chairs, seemingly asleep with their attendants standing over them. Almodovar’s imagery and story telling surpasses any of his previous films, but his consciousness about women seems to be still dormant.

Sergio Castellitto took home the best actor award for Bella Martha (Mostly Martha) now playing in San Francisco & L'Ora di Religione (My Mother's Smile, Italy). The ensemble cast of eight actresses who star in Francois Ozon’s 8 Women (France), received the best actress award, although none of them came to Rome: including Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Fanny Ardant, and Virginie Ledoyen, who starred in The Beach with Leonardo DeCaprio. The films is an enchanting magical mystery with sublime fashion and décor.

The European People’s Choice Awards voted Pedro Almodovar as best director, Javier Cámara, the attendant in Talk to Her and Best European Actress Kate Winslet, for Iris.
For European Achievement in World Cinema 2002 the award went to actress Victoria Abril (Spain), star of several Almodovar films. She first received recognition for his smash hit Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Atame!) with Antonio Banderas in 1990.
The European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award 2002 went to screenwriter Tonino Guerra (Italy) who has written screenplays for Vittorio de Sica, Federico Fellini, and the Taviani brothers. With Michelangelo Antonioni he wrote L’avventura and Blow-up where he received an Oscar nomination.

Although Pedro Almodovar claims he does not represent European Film December 7 was his night. He paid homage to Victoria Abril and to Tonino Guerra adding that he would like to work with both the screenwriter and Ingmar Bergman in the future.
Still despite the awards that were created to compete with the American Oscars European film does not experience the same box office vitality. In the case of Spain, according to Almodovar, there are production problems and television does not buy domestic films. All in all it seems that Europe has problems launching film as a popular art outshadowed by the style of American film. As Europe unites currency and economy the distinct cultural heritage of nation states that for centuries have fought for independence remains. So it is not an easy task for European film production to unite on the market. Still this award show attempts to produce this spirit, a spirit that grows with each year.

For Movie Magazine International this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm Sweden.

More Information:
European Film Awards, Rome, ITALY 2002