Veteran British director gave a masterclass at the Cinémathèque on Saturday afternoon with film critic Michel Ciment. Leigh was given a lifetime achievement award by Luxembourg City Film Festival.
Photo: Mike Zenari
The last two days of the Luxembourg City Film Festival were dominated by two British directors, Richard Billingham and Mike Leigh.
Two directors from the UK were given prizes at the Luxembourg City Film Festival awards ceremony on Saturday evening--one having completed his debut feature film, the other being honoured for a body of work stretching back five decades. To paraphrase Colin Welland after "Chariots Of Fire" won the best original screenplay Oscar in 1982, it seems like the British had arrived.
The international jury awarded the Grand Prix by Orange to Richard Billingham’s “Ray & Liz”, citing its “integrity” that “incites strong emotions in the audience and confronts them with our human condition that is harsh, but needs to be faced.” The jury also said it was an “artistically radical film”--Billingham is better known as a photographer--that was “profound, authentic and compassionate”. Read Delano’s preview here.
The festival’s special guest Mike Leigh was given a Lifetime Achievement award. Earlier in the day, the veteran British director had given a masterclass at the Cinémathèque and he returned there on Sunday to present a screening of his latest film, “Peterloo”.
While the Grand Prix award may have been a surprise, the Documentary Award by BGL BNP Paribas went to a film that was a favourite among many festival goers, “Selfie” by Agostino Ferrente. The documentary jury said they chose the film for “its deep respect for the characters, its honest and creative film form. For its beautiful way to portray friendship in a complex and violent male environment.” Via the medium of the iPhone, two teenage friends, Alessandro and Pietro, record their own lives in the mafia-dominated Traiano neighbourhood of Naples. The background to the story is the tragedy of 16-year Davide Bifolco, who died after being shot by a policeman who mistook him for a fugitive.
Other awards handed out at Saturday’s ceremony included the Critics Award going to “The Realm” by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, the Audience Award going to “Birds Of Passage” (which also received a special mention from the press jury).