Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Love is All" picks up Best Dutch film award

The box-office hit comedy "Love is All/Alles is Liefde" picked up the Best Film award at the 2008 Golden Calves ceremony (Dutch national film awards) on the last day of the Netherlands Film Festival. Over a million visitors saw the film last year, which also earned the Best Director Golden Calf for Joram Lürsen. The script is by Kim van Kooten.

Robert Jan Westdijk’s "In Real Life" won awards in the categories of Best Cinematography and Best Editing, while Mijke de Jong’s "Katia’s Sister" was awarded Golden Calves for Best Supporting Actress (Olga Louzgina), and Best Screenplay, for Jan Eilander and Jolein Laarman. Paula van der Oest’s "Tiramisu" won Best Actress honours for Anneke Blok and Best Score for Michiel Borstlap.

The acting awards for men went to Robert de Hoog for his role as a Jewish skinhead in "Skin" and Ton Kas for his supporting role in the political satire "Vox Populi". The Audience Award went to "Mafrika" from Paul Ruven.

Local heroes
I often pick out winners at the festivals around Europe, and looking back at them, it still surprises me how few of them break through outside their home territories. Scandinavia has a thriving local cinema that simply does not travel for the moment. The region of Flanders in Belgium has the same problem. In fact, it's worse. Even though they share a language with the Netherlands (Dutch), the two show very little interest in each others' movies.

This is clearly a huge handicap to the development of Europe's industry. Going back a decade or so, the French cinema used to produce movies of a large scale that were released globally. They often called on Italian or Polish directors for ambitious projects. They have scaled back considerably since then, despite a healthy flow of successes such as "Amélie Poulain", "La vie en rose" or the "Taxi" franchise.

Every five years or so, someone tries to set up a larger European company with global ambitions. But they seem to hit a glass ceiling every so often. It has also regularly been said that the type of project being produced in Europe (such as "Love is All") are films with in-built limitations in terms of mass appeal.

Until something changes - in either the development or the distribution - most of these local heroes seem to be condemned to being just that.

This article is featured on the Carnival of Cinema.

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