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Unless I'm very much mistaken, this might qualify as the first official longlist of the awards season. (Don't get too excited -- you might not have any energy left by January.) The nominations for the European Film Awards -- effectively the Oscars of European cinema -- won't be announced until November 3, but we now know exactly what pool of eligible films they'll be drawn from.
Since voting from the vast selection of European films to play in theaters and at festivals over the past year would be impractical -- especially given that no two country's release schedules are alike -- the European Film Academy instead narrows the field using a system in some ways similar to that of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The 20 countries with the most EFA members each elect one film to represent their country in the awards. Then, over 20 further films -- some from other countries, some overlooked by the national committees -- are added to the list by a panel of EFA board members and invited industry experts.
The final longlist totals 47 films from 31 different countries. Using this list, the EFA's 2700 members will now vote for the nominees in nine categories. Two other categories, for Best Documentary and Best Animated Film, are determined by smaller panels. Indeed, this year's EFA nominees for Best Animated Film have already been announced: Spain's "Wrinkles," the Czech Republic's "Alois Nebel" and the UK's "The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists!."
Most of the titles below will fall away in the process. It doesn't take great clairvoyant powers, meanwhile, to guess some of those that will stick around. If you're thinking of putting your money on anything but "Amour" for the Best Film prize, I'd gently suggest otherwise; these awards can be as predictable in their own way as the Oscars.
The longlist offers few surprises, with most of the big prizewinners and critical favorites from the festival circuit present and correct. From Cannes, we have "Amour," "Rust and Bone," "The Hunt" and "Beyond the Hills," among others; from Berlin, Golden Bear winner "Caesar Must Die," as well as "Tabu," "Barbara" and "Sister"; from last year's Venice fest, Golden Lion winner "Faust," "Alps," "Carnage" and the British duo of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "Shame." (Sad to say, Ken Loach's "The Angels' Share" is the only UK film from 2012 to make the list. The points to a comedown from last year's banner year for British cinema -- though Peter Strickland's remarkable anti-horror film "Berberian Sound Studio" really ought to be here.)
The vagaries of international distribution mean that several of the films here may feel like last year's news, and the EFA don't seem to have any hard and fast restrictions when it comes to dates. Eyebrows were raised last year when Cannes Grand Prix winner "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" didn't make the cut; lest we think it had been snubbed, it shows up in this year's longlist instead.
A similar outcome could await some of the most surprising omissions from this year's list. France, for example, is represented by "Rust and Bone," "Carnage" and recent Oscar submission "The Intouchables" -- but Leos Carax's Cannes critics' darling "Holy Motors" is nowhere to be seen, despite it having been released at home back in July. Is it being made to wait, or has it simply been left out? If the latter, the selection committee should take some flak -- particularly when the longlist features such oddities as Finnish Nazis-in-space adventure "Iron Sky."
Those of you who have been paying attention to foreign-language Oscar submissions process will notice 11 of this year's entries (so far) in the mix: Austria's "Amour," Belgium's "Our Children," Bosnia and Herzegovina's "Children of Sarajevo," Bulgaria's "Sneakers," France's "The Intouchables," Germany's "Barbara," Greece's "Unfair World," Hungary's "Just the Wind," The Netherlands' "Kauwboy," Romania's "Beyond the Hills" and Switzerland's "Sister." Expect to some of these titles repeated a few times over the next few months.
As for what might show up alongside "Amour" in the nominees list, the EFA Awards tend to favor higher-profile crossover titles, so I'd expect "The Hunt," "Rust and Bone," "The Intouchables," "Shame" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" to be among those showing up in several categories. Last year's awards, you may remember, were ruled by the Danes and the Brits, with Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" and Susanne Bier's "In a Better World" taking Best Film and Best Director, respectively, with Colin Firth and Tilda Swinton landing the acting prizes.
This year's European Film Award ceremony takes place in Malta on December 1. The full longlist, courtesy of the EFA:
"Alps," Yorgos Lanthimos (Greece)
"Amour," Michael Haneke (Austria/France/Germany)
"The Angels' Share," Ken Loach (UK/France/Belgium/Italy)
"Avalon," Axel Petersen (Sweden)
"Barbara," Christian Petzold (Germany)
"Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu (Romania/France/Belgium)
"Caesar Must Die," Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Italy)
"Carnage," Roman Polanski (France/Germany/Poland/Spain)
"Children of Sarajevo," Aida Begic (Bosnia & Herzegovina/Germany/France/Turkey)
"Combat Girls," David Wnendt (Germany)
"Come As You Are," Geoffrey Enthoven (Belgium)
"Death of a Man in Balkans," Miroslav Momcilovic (Serbia)
"Diaz: Don't Clean Up This Blood," Daniele Vicari (Italy/Romania/France)
"The Door," Istvan Szabo (Hungary/Germany)
"The Dream and the Silence," Jaime Rosales (Spain/France)
"The Exchange," Eran Kolirin (Israel/Germany)
"Faust," Aleksandr Sokurov (Russia)
"Flower Buds," Zdenek Jirasky (Czech Republic)
"Gypsy," Martin Sulik (Czech Republic/Slovakia)
"The Hunt," Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
"In Darkness," Agnieszka Holland (Poland/Germany/Canada)
"In the Fog," Sergei Loznitsa (Russia/Germany/Latvia/The Netherlands/Belarus)
"The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (France)
"Iron Sky," Timo Vuorensola (Finland/Germany/Australia)
"Just the Wind," Benedek Fliegauf (Hungary/Germany/France)
"Kauwboy," Boudewijn Koole (The Netherlands)
"Li and the Poet," Andrea Segre (Italy/France)
"Naked Harbour," Aku Louhimies (Finland)
"Once Upon a Time in Anatolia," Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey)
"Once Upon a Time There Lived a Simple Woman," Andrey Smirvov (Russia)
"Our Children," Joachim Lafosse (Belgium/France/Switzerland/Luxembourg)
"The Parade," Srjan Dragojevi (Serbia)
"Paradise: Love," Ulrich Seidl (Austria/Germany/France)
"Policeman," Nadav Lapid (Israel)
"Rose," Wojciech Smarzowski (Poland)
"A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark)
"Rust and Bone," Jacques Audiard (France)
"Shame," Steve McQueen (UK)
"Sister," Ursula Meier (Switzerland/France)
"The Sleeping Voice," Benito Zambrano (Spain)
"Sneakers," Ivan Vladimirov and Valery Yordanov (Bulgaria)
"Sons of Norway," Jens Lien (Norway/France/Denmark/Sweden)
"Tabu," Miguel Gomes (Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France)
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Tomas Alfredson (UK/France/Germany)
"Unfair World," Filippos Tsitos (Greece/Germany)
"Unit 7," Alberto Rodriguez (Spain)
"The Woman Who Brushed Off Her Tears," Teona Strugar Mitevska (Macedonia/Belgium/Slovenia/Germany)
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