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Corsage directed by Marie Kreutzer, Award Winners of 66th BFI London Film Festival
Vicky Krieps in Corsage directed by Marie Kreutzer

Corsage directed by Marie Kreutzer wins Best Film Award at the 66th BFI London Film Festival. Marie Kreutzer said: “I want to say thank you to the members of the jury for choosing our film and giving us this beautiful award. For me this award, which is an award for the film, is not only my award it belongs to all of us. The most beautiful thing about my job is to collaborate with so many great creatives and artists and create something together day by day without knowing how it will turn out. For all of us I’m so happy that it turned out so well and that people love the film so much. This award is for everyone on my team. It’s hard to find the right words right now, I’m happy!”

Other competition awards went to 1976 by Manuela Martelli for Sutherland Award in First Feature Competition, All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen, wins Grierson Award in Documentary Competition, As Mine Exactly by Charlie Shackleton, won Immersive Art and XR Award and I Have No Legs, and I Must Run by Yue Li, wins Short Film Award in Short Film Competition.

The winning films explore a fascinating breadth of themes and stories, from an irreverent Austrian empress to an unsettling thriller about life during Pinochet’s brutal coup and the tale of two brothers caring for the birds of pollution ravaged Delhi.

The Audience Awards went to Blue Bag Life by Lisa Selby, Rebecca Hirsch Lloyd-Evans, Alex Fry, for Audience Award – Feature, and Dop Out by Ade Femzo, wins Audience Award – Short.

Complete list of winners of 2022 BFI London Film Festival.

CORSAGE – Marie Kreutzer, Official Competition (Best Film Award) Christmas, 1877. Empress Elizabeth of Austria (Vicky Krieps) is turning 40. Renowned for her beauty, she undertakes daily privations to ensure she fits her wasp-waist corset and keeps her picture-perfect looks. Suffocating in the stuffy Hapsburg court, she finds herself incapable of continuing to conform to the decorative role that is expected of her, instead carrying out desperate acts of rebellion. With echoes of Spencer and Marie Antoinette, Kreutzer delivers a refreshing take on one woman’s emancipation. Taking liberties with history and adding some fabulous anachronisms (including an evocative soundtrack by Camille), Corsage finds a perfect balance between melancholy understatement and liberating punkish attitude. Krieps is sublime, the depth and nuances of her performance underpinning her character’s complexity. (It won her the Best Actress award in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.) The Empress doesn’t care about being like-able and Krieps interprets her eccentricity and impulsiveness with great verve.

1976 – Manuela Martelli, First Feature Competition (Sutherland Award) Carmen is overseeing renovations to the family’s summer beach home when she witnesses a forced disappearance. Visited by the local priest, she finds her understanding of the present shift as a climate of uncertainty and paranoia increasingly takes over her life. Can she be sure she is not being watched? As Pinochet is heard on a TV broadcast justifying his brutal presidential approach, so Carmen finds her daily existence governed by an increasing sense of fear. Former actor Martelli (Machuca, Two Shots Fired) delivers a taut thriller about the ways in which a dictatorship exerts its influence, all grounded in an outstanding performance by Aline Küppenheim as the chain-smoking, pill-popping Carmen, whose elegant, composed exterior masks secrets and discontents.

ALL THAT BREATHES – Shaunak Sen, Documentary Competition (Grierson Award) Nadeem and Saud rescue injured kites and vultures – considered impure because they eat carrion – which struggle to survive in Delhi’s contaminated environment. An overcrowded, garbage-strewn street in a middle-class neighborhood of Delhi might seem an improbable backdrop for a profound meditation on the relationship between humans and nature. But within this world, Sen constructs a dreamscape that is as magnificent as it is inclusive. From sweeping shots of kites in flight to following scurrying rats and swarms of flies, All That Breathes makes a moving case for no living creature being too insignificant or unworthy of attention, love and care.

AS MINE EXACTLY – Charlie Shackleton, Immersive Art and XR Competition Blending virtual reality, performance and film, documentarian Shackleton reaches for nothing short of a new genre as he shares his deeply personal story with one visitor at a time. Using fragments of original footage and images from his childhood, he revisits memories with his mother that shaped his young teenage life, streaming them live into a VR headset. In a fully immersive experience, Shackleton (Beyond Clueless, The Afterlight) narrates the story live. The result has tremendous intimacy and emotional impact.

I HAVE NO LEGS, AND I MUST RUN – Yue Li, Short Film Competition (Short Film Award) A major athlete has an injury and a talented new recruit raises the specter of jealousy.

BLUE BAG LIFE – Lisa Selby, Rebecca Hirsch Lloyd-Evans, Alex Fry, wins Audience Award – Feature Blue heroin ‘baggies’ symbolize a lifetime of rejection for Lisa. Since childhood, the narcotic has been an intrusive and destructive presence, through her relationship with her addict mother and partner. When her mother dies and her partner’s relapse leads to his incarceration, Lisa embarks on a cinematic pilgrimage of self-discovery and salvation. Through it, she becomes determined that the indelible mark addiction has left upon her will be transformed into something positive. Blue Bag Life is a raw yet deeply moving journey through the world of addiction. Unflinching in its portrayal of the darkness addicts enter into, as well as the stigma that accompanies it, Selby’s film is nevertheless an emotionally resonant love story that champions hope over despair.

DROP OUT – Ade Femzo, wins Audience Award – Short No matter how he looks at it, Tobi knows his good, hard-working African mother is not about to let him be a drop-out, despite how successful he is on these streets.

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