The 76th Venice International Film Festival announced that Greek-born French director Costa-Gavras will be the recipient of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2019 award. The award, dedicated to a personality who has made a particularly original contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema.
The award ceremony for Costa-Gavras will take place on Saturday, August 31, before the world premiere screening Out of Competition of the new film he wrote and directed, Adults in the Room which stars Christos Loulis, Alexandros Bourdoumis, and Ulrich Tukur.
With regards to this acknowledgement, the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera has stated: “there are many reasons why Costa-Gavras deserves to be counted among today’s great directors, but there is one reason in particular.”
He added that “Costa-Gavras can turn politics into a fascinating topic, a subject like any other, not just for the initiated and already convinced few, but as well for the greater public, using every means at cinema’s disposal to touch the greatest number of spectators possible.”
“This director, reserved yet determined, has always held that all movies are political. This not only enables him to dodge the label of political director, which has always been attached to him – often in a polemical and reductive manner – but also to claim a peaceful and sincerely democratic faith in a type of mainstream cinema that makes the viewer reflect and question, and also sparks deep emotions,” Barbera said.
His new film follows a universal theme: a story of people trapped in an inhuman network of power. The circle of the Eurogroup meetings, who impose on Greece the austerity, where humanity and compassion are utterly disregarded. A claustrophobic trap with no way out, exerting pressures on the protagonists which finally divide them. A tragedy in the Ancient Greek sense. Yet, the characters are not good or evil but driven by the consequences of their conception of what it is right to do. A tragedy for our very modern time. Adults in the Room is based on the book Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment, by Yanis Varoufakis.
The award is named after Jaeger-LeCoultre who is a sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival for the fifteenth year in a row, and the Glory to the Filmmaker prize for the twelfth year in a row.
The prize has been awarded in past years to Takeshi Kitano (2007), Abbas Kiarostami (2008), Agnès Varda (2008), Sylvester Stallone (2009), Mani Ratnam (2010), Al Pacino (2011), Spike Lee (2012), Ettore Scola (2013), James Franco (2014), Brian De Palma (2015), Amir Naderi (2016), Stephen Frears (2017), and Zhang Yimou (2018).
Costa-Gavras was born in 1933 in Loutra-Iraias in Greece. When he was 22 years old, he left Greece as an economic migrant to study in Paris. He enrolled at the Sorbonne University before being admitted to the National Institute of Film (IDHEC). After graduating he worked as Assistant Director alongside eminent French directors René Clair, René Clement, Henri Verneuil, Jacques Demy, Marcel Ophüls, Jean Giono and Jean Becker. In 1965 he directed his first feature film, Compartiment tueurs. His subsequent films were huge successes: Z won two Oscars in 1969, two awards at the Cannes Film Festival and dozens of more awards.