Joe’s Film Corner: Woman At War – The LUX Film Prize Winner 2018

Iceland seems to be getting quite the reputation for itself in recent years. Its national football team have proven that through passion and dedication you can attain results, despite having a population of under 350,000. It seems to be no different when it comes to art, as the Icelandic fable-esque Woman At War took home the LUX Film Prize this year. The film follows a woman in her fifties, Halla, who declares war on the local aluminium industry in order to prevent it from destroying the country she loves.

For those that don’t know about the LUX Prize, it was started in 2007 by the European Parliament, with the purpose being to illuminate public debate on European integration, and to give European films more of a voice. The three finalists’ films will be subtitled in all 24 European languages and distributed throughout the union, and like this the European Parliament uses cinema as a means of breaking down borders. In the past, the prize has seen critically acclaimed films such as Toni Erdmann and Ida in its selection. The three films competing this year all raised important issues that we as Europeans face, but it was Erlingsson’s that came out on top, with Serbia’s The Other Side of Everything being the runner up.

Upon collecting the award, director Erlingsson had this to say:

“I feel honoured to be in the temple of power. I feel like a politician and I believe that all politicians are storytellers. I have to take up the challenge of the character in my film, so I want to say that you are very brave people. You have taken the decision to fight climate change. You will have to promise less travel, less meat, less luxuries. But to counter this, you can promise more love, more art, more theatre, more sex, more films. That is the narrative that you are facing. If you succeed, we may be able to argue about the rest. I just want to say, as we say in Iceland; Namaste, thank you”

Erlingsson’s picture is now in pole position to be distributed throughout Europe and possibly all over the world, and will even screen at Spazzju Kreattiv in Valletta on the 8th and 9th of December. The two other films in the competition, Styx and The Other Side of Everything, will also be screening on the 8th of December. Despite Erlingsson taking the top prize, all three films selected as finalists are fantastic in their own right, and each one sheds light on some issues which some might even see as taboo.

The competition over, I’m left to digest the entire experience and the one resounding thought I have in my head is the fact that it is incredible that a prize such as this exists for European filmmakers. The fact that the European Parliament gives these films a platform to get out there and get their message across shows that there is a real importance given to art, and especially cinema. I’ll end this by saying that all three of these films deserve wide recognition, and given the fact that the LUX Prize gains more and more significance, I have no doubt that they will find their audience in all European countries.

My final comment goes out to Maltese audiences, and it is simply this. Go see these films. Support European cinema by choosing Woman At War over Aquaman this December. You won’t regret it.

Joe Paolella

LUX Film Prize and 28 Times Cinema Ambassador, aspiring filmmaker, and lover of all things cinema. Joe specializes in writing film reviews, as well as spreading the good word about the importance of European cinema, and cinema as a whole.

Joe Paolella

LUX Film Prize and 28 Times Cinema Ambassador, aspiring filmmaker, and lover of all things cinema. Joe specializes in writing film reviews, as well as spreading the good word about the importance of European cinema, and cinema as a whole.