The Lux Award, a film prize awarded by the European Parliament, unveiled the five finalists for its 2024 honor at the Venice Film Festival on Friday.
On the Adamant, Nicolas Philibert’s French documentary about a unique psychiatric treatment center based on a barge anchored on the Seine in Paris, won the Golden Bear in Berlin for best film. The mental health care facility caters to its patients’ creative needs providing an outlet for their artistic expression.
Another non-fiction feature, Smoke Sauna Sisterhood by Estonian director Anna Hints, also made this year’s shortlist. It won this year’s directing honor for Hints in the world cinema documentary category at Sundance. The film tells the story of a group of women that gather in the safe darkness of a smoke sauna to share their innermost thoughts and secrets. It is Estonia’s official Oscar entry for 2024 in the best international feature category.
Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s 20,000 Species of Bees, another Berlin title— it won the best performance Silver Bear for Sofía Otero, who plays its protagonist Lucía, an eight-year-old child experiencing gender dysmorphia —is up for this year’s Lux Award, as is Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves, another laconic romance from the Finnish master, which took the Jury Prize in Cannes.
Closing out the five-film shortlist is Ilker Çatak’s The Teachers’ Lounge, which premiered in Berlin and is Germany’s entry for best international feature for the 2024 Oscar race.
The finalists were chosen by a Lux panel of film experts from across Europe. The Lux Award was set up in 2007 to help distribute EU films with high artistic quality that reflect cultural diversity in Europe and beyond and touch on what are considered the prime values of the EU, including human dignity, equality, non-discrimination, inclusion, tolerance, justice and solidarity
European cinema-goers and members of the European Parliament now have until March 2024 to vote on this year’s winner, with each group —European public and MEPs —accounting for 50 percent of the final result.