Toni Erdmann won this year’s Lux Film Prize for its original way of depicting a father desperately trying to become closer to his daughter while at the same time portraying the cut-throat realities of major international corporations. “Films like Toni Erdmann only exist thanks to national and European subsidies because they give you a certain freedom,” said director Maren Ade after receiving the prize in Parliament today.
She also added: “I don’t know if there is European cinema, but I am happy that I am a European film maker because I can be German and part of something bigger at the same time.”
About the film
Toni Erdmann tells the story of a father who tries to connect to his daughter who is living as an expat in Bucharest and in the process turns her life upside down. His jokes and mockery not only disturb her, but also question the values of today’s high-performing, efficiency-driven big business.
The film is both a comedy and drama. In our interview Ade explained: “The father is being funny but actually out of desperation."
The director said she did not want to send out an outright political message about the globalised world we live in: “I think sometimes it can be stronger when you don’t judge and you don’t give an answer. That is why I focused on the personal story of the characters.”
You can find out more on her inspiration and intentions by watching the video above and on Facebook.
Awarding the Lux Film Prize on 23 November in plenary, President Martin Schulz said: “The three films shortlisted this year remind us that what unites us as European is much stronger than the things that divide us.”
10 years of supporting European cinema
Over the last ten years the Lux Prize has contributed to the promotion of 100 European films. It does so by paying the costs of subtitling in the EU's 24 languages for each of the three films on the final shortlist. In addition the winning film is adapted for the visually and hearing impaired and receives support for international promotion.
Ade, who won this year's Lux Prize, said: “Being among the finalists was already like a prize because the film gets subtitled and goes to the 28 EU countries and that is the biggest pleasure for a film maker."
Your own Lux Prize
MEPs might have picked their winner, but the story is far from over. Toni Erdmann and the other two finalists that were competing for the prize - À peine j´ouvre les yeux and Ma vie de Courgette - are still being screened in cinemas across Europe thanks to the Lux Film Days.
You also enjoy the opportunity to choose your favourite, which could lead to you being selected to announce the winner of the Public Mention Prize at the international film festival in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic next year.