Michael wins Max Ophüls Prize
by Bénédicte Prot
Michael [+see also:
film profile], the debut directorial feature by highly sought-after Austrian casting director and occasional actor Markus Schleinzer, won the prestigious Max Ophüls Prize in Saarbrücken. For the past 33 years, the award has honoured promising talents of German-speaking cinema to see many of them go on to become renowned directors.
Schleinzer’s film, which screened in competition at Cannes in May (see review) and was rewarded at the Zagreb Festival and the Viennale, describes the daily life of a paedophile and the young victim he is holding at his home. The jury at the 33rd Max Ophüls Festival (January 16-22) praised the director’s "art of ellipsis and courage". Michael also earned the Best Actor Award for Michael Fuith.
A special mention was awarded to Samuel Schwarz and Julian M. Grünthal’s Swiss film Mary & Johnny [+see also:
film profile], a "fast-paced, harsh and anarchistic film that is close to the feelings of a generation that is searching for itself" where "the director and the actors translate, with virtuosity, a literary classic into a young and unique cinematic language".
The second special mention went to German helmer Christian Schwochow’s Cracks In The Shell [+see also:
film profile], which scooped double honours at Karlovy Vary (see review). The jury described the directing as "extraordinary" and the actors as "spectacular", particularly young Danish actress Stine Fischer Christensen.
The Saar Minister-President Award went to Sarah Judith Mettke’s German film Transpapa, Best Documentary to Sobo Swobodnik’s Austrian title The Pope Is Not A Jeansboy, Best Screenplay to Lars Blumers’s French film Mike [+see also:
film profile] and the Audience Award to Felix Stienz’s Puppe, Icke und der Dicke. Best Actress was awarded to newcomer Peri Baumeister for her performance in Taboo – The Soul Is A Stranger On Earth by Germany’s Christoph Stark.
Other prize-winners include Linus de Paoli’s visionary German title Dr. Ketel (Interfilm Award) and Finnish-born director Kirsi Marie Liimatainen’s Festung (Young Jury Prize).
(Translated from French)
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