Paolo Sorrentino's Youth took three top awards at the 28th European Film Awards in Berlin on Saturday, winning best European film, director and actor for Michael Caine.
The drama, which premiered in Cannes and was the evening's favorite, centers on a retired orchestra conductor (Caine) contemplating the indignities of growing old during his stay at a posh Swiss resort with his old friend (Harvey Keitel). It was Sorrentino's second major win at the European Film Awards. His drama The Great Beauty swept the awards in 2013, winning five awards, including picture, director and actor.
Accepting his award, Caine quipped,"In 50 years I've never won an award in Europe and tonight I've won two."
Caine also became only the third recipient of the Honorary Award of the European Film Academy President and Board, which the Academy previously bestowed on founding member Manoel de Oliveira and Michel Piccoli.
Charlotte Rampling took the actress prize for Andrew Haigh's drama 45 Years, about a married couple about to celebrate their 45th anniversary when they are suddenly shaken by a letter that arrives for the husband. Rampling was also honoured with the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Roy Andersson's quirky and episodic Golden Lion-winning A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, the final part of a trilogy on the human condition, was named best comedy.
Asif Kapadia's Amy, an intimate look at late singer Amy Winehouse," won the documentary award, while Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou took the screenplay prize for The Lobster, the darkly comic fantasy starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.
Tomm Moore's Song of the Sea, about a young Irish boy and his little sister who can turn into a seal, picked up the animated feature film award.
The People's Choice Award went to Alberto Rodriguez's 1980-set Spanish crime drama Marshland.
Christoph Waltz picked up the European Achievement in World Cinema for his international contribution to film. Italian producer and distributor Andrea Occhipinti of Rome-based Lucky Red was awarded the Prix Eurimages.
The ceremony took time midway through the show to call attention to the plight of Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov. Speaking on behalf of the European Film Academy, German actor Daniel Bruhl offered support for the filmmaker, who is serving a 20-year sentence in Russia for his opposition to Russia's annexation of Crimea. The Academy has asked Nikita Mikhalkov, president of Russia's association of filmmakers, to join in the international protest and help the Ukrainian filmmaker.
Some 900 guests attended the awards ceremony at Berlin's Haus der Berliner Festspiele, most of whom headed over to the glitzy aftershow party at the nearby Sofitel Berlin Kurfurstendamm.
Youth opens in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day.
Like European film?
The full list of European Film Award winners follows.
Best European Film
Best European Actress
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Best European Actor
Michael Caine, Youth
Best European Director
Paolo Sorrentino, Youth
People's Choice Award 2015
Best European Comedy
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Best European Documentary
European Achievement in World Cinema (Honorary Award)
Fipresci Prize - Best European Discovery
Best European Animated Feature
Song of the Sea
Honorary Award of the EFA President and Board
Best European Short
Best European Screenwriter
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster
Best European Cinematographer
Martin Gschlacht, Goodnight Mommy
Best European Editor
Jacek Drosio, Body
Best European Composer
Cat's Eyes, The Duke of Burgundy
Best European Production Designer
Sylvie Olive, The Brand New Testament
Best European Costume Designer
Sarah Blenkinsop, The Lobster
Best European Sound Designer
Vasco Pimentel and Miguel Martins, Arabian Nights