European Film Awards 2011

As Europe is convulsed by economic and political traumas, its cinematic life seems remarkably robust.

The films nominated by the European Film Academy reflect the wide spectrum of talent at work across the continent. From Wim Wender’s 3D docu about choreographer Pina Bausch, “Pina,” to Michel Hazanavicius’ black-and-white silent movie homage to 1920s Hollywood, “The Artist,” there seems a willingness to innovate and take commercial and creative risks.

In subject matter, too, the nominated pics travel the gamut from films about a pontiff (“We Have a Pope”) to pics about abandoned children (“The Kid With a Bike,” “Le Havre”) and a psychopathic teen (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”).

“What is suggested by these EFA nominations is that you can’t talk about only one kind of European film,” says Spanish producer Antonio Saura, who is a member of the European Film Academy board.

Marion Doring, director of the academy, agrees. “These films show what we are concerned about in Europe, but in very different ways. The artistic languages are very different.”

Although some academy members are concerned about threats to film funding in Europe, the crop of recent pics suggests the business is in robust health. “It is an incredibly rich year. Judging from the list of nominations, European cinema seems to be in very good shape,” Doring says.

Not everyone is happy with the selection. “These nominations mark a dangerous trend: They are all films by established filmmakers,” says Enrique Gonzalez Macho, founder of Spanish exhibitor-distributor Alta Films and prexy of the Spanish Film Academy. “There are new auteurs in Europe, but it is difficult for them to climb the ladder.”

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