While I normally approve not of "people's choice" awards -- that's what box office is for -- I do find the European Film Awards a curious beast worth noting each year. They have variety by way of scattershot film culture, there being no unifying "Hollywood" to control them. This year their People's Choice Awards -- which you can vote on and enter for a chance to win a trip to the awards in Berlin -- offers up an odd collection of Camp Comedy (France's star-laden Potiche), Royalty Porn (The UK's Oscar winner The King's Speech), Meta History (Spain's Even The Rain), Message Movie (Denmark's Oscar Winner In a Better World), Neeson-y Thriller (the international Unknown), Fish Out of Water Comedy (Italy's Welcome to the South), Ensemble Drama (France's star-laden Little White Lies), and even Animated Family Film (Germany's Animals United).
Go and vote...
...as long as you're not planning to help The King's Speech win yet more statues. Cinema-Gods help us all.
Meanwhile the Oscar Foreign Film submissions continue...
Anne Sewitsky’s debut Happy, Happy (Sykt lykkelig) which we've previously discussed (I heart the trailer) will represent the land of the midnight sun in this year's Oscar race. Previous awards under its belt include the Sundance Festival's World Cinema Jury Prize Dramatic which, if you'll recall, is the same prize that the great Australian feature Animal Kingdom got its first big boost from in 2010. Joachim Trier's Oslo August 31st is the loser in this Oscar scenario but here's hoping that both films get stateside distribution.
Bela Tarr's The Turin Horse will represent daring Hungary in this year's Oscar race. Hungary nearly always competes for Most Atypical Submitted Film which is bad for their nominatability but great for proof of variety in that odd annual Oscar survey of what's happening in international cinema. This one will need a helping hand from that special committee that Oscar dreamt up to basically force critical darlings on to the nominated shortlist. The new system obviously paid off last year for Greece's Dogtooth. Cinema Underground tells it like so...
Not since Alexander Sokurov’s The Second Circle have I watched a movie that felt so much more like physical endurance than an active intellectual and emotional experience... The Turin Horse is a punishing film. The people in it are ugly and often cruel. Their lives are repetitive and arduous. There is little plot, little action, little change of scenery, but there are plenty of long, long takes in which no words are spoken.
And that's from a somewhat positive review.