Despite the high quality of films in competition, Saturday’s Felix Awards ceremony was a somber affair. The looming threat of subsidy cuts if the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade passes GATT have led European moviemakers to fear for their livelihoods.
The atmosphere at the event at the Babelsberg Studios had little in common with its supposed rival, the Oscars.
The Felix for best film went to “Urga,” the first such honor for a country from the former Soviet Union. Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, “Urga” also won the Golden Lion at Venice in 1991.
Best Young European Film prize went to Sally Potter’s “Orlando.””Benny’s Video,” by Austria’s Michael Haneke, won the critics’ award, a new prize given by an independent jury of Euro film crix.
For his role in Claude Sautet’s “Un Coeur en hiver,” Daniel Auteuil was named best actor, while Maia Morgenstern won best actress for “Balanta,” directed by fellow Romanian Lucian Pintilie.
Actors Fanny Ardant and Otto Sander co-emceed the event, which for the first time in its history could find no TV station to broadcast the show live.
In addition to a lengthy ovation and moving speech by Louis Malle, 81 -year-old director Michelangelo Antonioni received a lifetime achievement award.