CULTURE

Romanian movie wins at European Film Awards

Currently playing at Greek theaters, Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s «4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days» won the best film prize on Saturday at the 20th annual European Film Awards in Berlin. The low-budget production, a harrowing film about illegal abortion in communist-era Romania, had already taken the top award earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival. «I’m very honored by the award,» said Mungiu, who also took the best director award for the film. In «4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,» Laura Vasiliu and Anamaria Marinca play roommates Gabita and Otilia, who take the steps necessary to arrange for Gabita to have an illegal abortion with the stony-faced and abusive Mr Bebe. Once they place themselves under his care, the two girls are also placed at his mercy. Mungiu has won over the Greek public in the past, receiving the Audience Award at the 2002 Thessaloniki International Film Festival for his «Occident,» a drama that was also nominated for a Golden Alexander at the same competition. Among the other 17 awards presented at the European Film Awards in Berlin, German director Fatih Akin’s «The Edge of Heaven» won best screenplay. Akin wrote and directed the film, a German-Turkish cross-cultural tale of loss, mourning and forgiveness, and a follow-up to his critically acclaimed «Head On,» which won the Berlin festival’s top prize in 2004. «The Edge of Heaven» was also screened at the opening of the Balkan Survey section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival last month. The film was a big favorite at Cannes, and took the prize for the best screenplay there as well. Helen Mirren won best actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in «The Queen» – for which she had already won an Oscar – while Sasson Gabai won best actor for his work in «The Band’s Visit.» French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard was honored by the European Film Academy with a lifetime achievement award. (AP, Kathimerini)