‘4 Months’ takes BBC award

Posted by · 3:02 pm · January 31st, 2009

The BBC Four World Cinema Award is an endearingly unassuming, low-fi ceremony — so unassuming and low-fi, in fact, I’d forgotten it took place until I happened upon the TV broadcast earlier this evening. (It seems nesting on a Saturday night has the odd advantage.)

It’s a simple enough prize. UK critics elect a shortlist of the five outstanding foreign-language releases of the year, upon which a jury of industry figures convenes to choose to best of them. The award is now in its sixth year: previous winners include “Belleville Rendezvous,” “The Return,” “Downfall,” “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” This year’s list, heavy on 2007 films that only received a UK release last year, went as follows:

“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (WINNER)
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“The Orphanage”

Jury head John Hurt said the verdict was unanimous. Not a very surprising, or very arguable, result — though with a list of that calibre, it’s hard to go wrong. (Only “The Orphanage,” I think, is a little out of its depth here.) By the way, can you spot what the five shortlisted films have in common? Yep, all were either snubbed or ineligible for the foreign-language Oscar. Make of that what you will.

Meanwhile, Werner Herzog picked up a lifetime achievement award and gave one of the most eloquent speeches I’ve heard all season. I know he doesn’t really have a shot in hell, but I’d sure love to see him on the Oscar stage. (EDIT: If you’re interested, you can watch the ceremony here.)

→ 8 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

8 responses so far

  • 1 1-31-2009 at 3:27 pm

    Patrick said...

    What will it take for the Academy to take notice and overhaul the antiquated process it has in place? I just don’t get it.

  • 2 1-31-2009 at 3:52 pm

    James D. said...

    Great pick. 4 Months is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

  • 3 1-31-2009 at 5:36 pm

    michael mckay said...

    Guy, I’m a huge Herzog fan…could you give a brief summary of what Herzog said in his speech…I’d be very interested to know.

  • 4 1-31-2009 at 5:56 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Michael: It’s not that he said anything particularly unusual in the context of such occasions — he just said it with real class and sincerity. Anyway, it seems you can watch the ceremony here (it’s about an hour long, and the Herzog tribute is about halfway through):


  • 5 1-31-2009 at 7:02 pm

    James D. said...

    Guy, that link you are giving does not work for us Americans.

  • 6 1-31-2009 at 8:17 pm

    Matt said...

    And since Let The Right One In wasn’t on that list (should’ve been and shoul’ve won, clearly) then The Orphanage, actually, is the one that deserved the win. 4 Months was weak and overhyped beyond belief.

  • 7 2-01-2009 at 1:00 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    James: Sorry, I can only do so much!

    Matt: “Let the Right One In” wasn’t released in the UK in 2008, so it wasn’t eligible.

  • 8 2-01-2009 at 6:57 am

    Simone said...

    It’s great that ‘4 months…’ won, it was a brilliant film that really resonated with me. Also, I’m proud of the fact that I have seen 4 of the 5 movies nominated – I have yet to see Gomorrah, like most Americans. I will see it though.