Anatomy of a Fall sweeps the 2023 European Film Awards

Justine Triet's Palme d'Or winner might have been snubbed by the French Academy Award selectors, but the European Film Academy was much more receptive.


Hannah Strong


It was a busy night for Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall at the European Film Awards, which returned to Berlin for its 2023 ceremony. While snubbed by the French selection committee for the Best International Feature Oscar in favour of Trần Anh Hùng’s The Taste of Things, Anatomy of a Fall resonated more with the rest of the continent, and Triet has some nice new trophies for her cabinet.

The film picked up Best Director for Justine Triet, Best Actress for Sandra Hüller (who was also nominated in the same category for The Zone of Interest) Best Screenplay for Triet and her partner and co-writer Arthur Harari, Best Editing for Laurene Sénéchal, and the big award of the night, Best Film, presented to the team by Stellan Skarsgård and Ariane Labed.

A single film dominating the EFAs does tend to be the norm – last year the bigger winner was Triangle of Sadness, and in 2020 it was Another Round.

Speaking of Another Round – Mads Mikkelsen beat out Josh O’Connor, Thomas Schubert, Jussi Vatanen and Christian Friedel to win Best Actor for his performance as Captain Ludvig Kahlen in Nikolaj Arcel’s historical drama The Promised Land. This is his second EFA win, and his fifth nomination, making him the most nominated actor in the award’s history.

Meanwhile, Anna Hints’ Smoke Sauna Sisterhood took home Best Documentary, and the European Discovery Award – voted for by FIPRESCI – went to Molly Manning Walker for How to Have Sex. Pablo Burger’s silent animated film Robot Dreams won Best Animated Feature.

The EFA’s annual special prizes were awarded to an eclectic group, with Catalan filmmaker Isabel Coixet receiving the European Achievement in World Cinema award, and Béla Tarr honoured by the EFA President and Board. European Film Academy president Agnieszka Holland also presented Vanessa Redgrave with a Lifetime Achievement award. While Redgrave couldn’t be in Berlin, she was presented with the award by her daughter Joely Richardson at her home in a touching video message. “You seem to channel the elements almost like a seer,” Richardson said of her mother’s phenomenal acting talent.

The Promised Land and JA Bayona’s Society of the Snow also picked up two craft awards apiece, with cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk and costume designer Kicki Ilander recognised for the former, and Ana Lōpez-Puigcerver, Belēn Lōpez-Puigcerver, David Martí and Montse Ribé (make-up and hair) and Félix Bergés and Laura Pedro (visual effects) for the latter.

Joining the craft winners were Markus Binder for his Club Zero score, Johnnie Burn and Tarn Willers for their sound design work on The Zone Of Interest, and production designer Emita Frigato for Alice Rohrwacher’s sublime La Chimera.

Best European Short went to the Austrian film Hardly Working, which has a novel concept: shot entirely within Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II, the film follows a raft of NPCs within the game to question the role and ethics of work in the digital age.

In a novel move, three members of the European Film Club – an initiative aimed at engaging young people with European cinema – presented the European Young Audience Award to Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper, which was voted for by the teenage members of the European Film Club. Regan gave a sweet acceptance speech live via Zoom – and called up Molly Manning Walker, who was in the audience for How to Have Sex and served as DoP on Scrapper, to come up and collect the award for her.

There were several oblique references to the current conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine during the ceremony, which was hosted by German actress Britta Steffenhagen. Maria Schrader elected to read out Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s ‘The Place Where We Are Right’ before presenting Justine Triet with her Best Director award.

Published 9 Dec 2023

Tags: European Film Awards

Suggested For You

Anatomy of a Fall review – Sandra Hüller is one of the finest to ever do it

By David Jenkins

A woman has to stand trial after her husband dies in suspicious circumstances in Justine Triet's compelling courtroom drama.


The Zone of Interest – first-look review

By Hannah Strong

Jonathan Glazer returns with his first film in nine years – an austere, chilling depiction of a German family maintaining normalcy in close proximity to the Holocaust.

Triangle of Sadness wins big at the European Film Awards

By Hannah Strong

Hosted in Reykjavík, the 35th edition of the European Film Awards saw top honours for Ruben Östlund's satirical drama.

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.