Norwegian political satire “Power Play” proved unbeatable at Canneseries, just like its headstrong protagonist, picking up awards for best series and music.
The show, focusing on Norway’s first female Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and starting out in the 1970s, turned out to be a timely proposition, as noted by showrunner Johan Fasting, who co-wrote with Silje Storstein and Kristin Grue.
“It’s hard to persevere in politics, especially for women. We wanted to go behind the scenes of social democracy as well, see how it has dissolved and turned into what we have today. It felt like the right time to look at the mechanisms of power,” he told Variety earlier this week.
While the show delves into local politics, its youthful “punk” attitude and humor, which already drew early comparisons to the works of Armando Iannucci, seems to have paid off, seducing jurors Lior Raz, Zabou Breitman, Shirine Boutella, Stewart Copeland and Daryl McCormack.
Broadcast by NRK /NDR and produced by Motlys and Novemberfilm, it stars Kathrine Thorborg Johansen.
It wasn’t the only winner, however, with one audience’s favorite, South Korea’s “Bargain,” from CJ ENM – created by Seung-Min Byun – prized for its witty screenplay written by Woo-Sung Jeon, Byeong-Yun Choi and Jae-Min Kwak, taking in sex work, organ trafficking and earthquakes just in its very first minutes.
Full of surprises, bouts of violence and black humor, with one of its characters narrowly escaping death in nothing but his underwear and a pair of stolen rubber boots, it could become another hit from the country that still seems unstoppable.
Israel also made its presence known, with “Carthago” and “Corduroy” bringing home the special interpretation award for “Carthago’s” key cast and a gong for best performance, the latter going to Dar Zuzovsky, cast as a young woman dealing in “Corduroy” with sex, drugs and the horror of being blocked on a dating app in Tel Aviv, all the while sporting glittery makeup worth of “Euphoria.”
“Corduroy’s” creator, Hadas Ben Aroya, has been already gaining recognition on the festival circuit thanks to emotionally twisted drama “People That Are Not Me,” shown in Locarno. The show is produced by Movieplus Productions and Banijay.
“Carthago,” based on a true story of a prison camp in Africa and set during WWII, was also appreciated by a younger audience, which gave it the High School Award for best series. It was created by Reshef Levi, drawing on painful experiences of his own father, Tomer Shani and Yannets Levi.
The documentary jury – including Asif Kapadia, Mélissa Theuriau and Nathalie Marchak – opted for Belgium’s “Draw for Change!” by Vincent Coen and Guillaume Vandenberghe, about female cartoonists in Mexico, U.S, Russia, India, Syria, and Egypt.
“The Left-Handed Son,” an intense and unpredictable troubled mother-son relationship drama set in the native Seville of screenwriter-turned-director Rafael Cobos (“The Plague,” “Marshland”), triumphed in Canneseries’ short format competition.
Sarah Michelle Gellar also picked up a Canal+ Icon Award, delivering a suitably glamorous ending to the event which embraced bigger productions as well, from “Silo” to gasp-inducing “Dead Ringers” with Rachel Weisz playing twins, and a new take on “Fatal Attraction.”
Earlier during the day, Gellar delivered a masterclass in a packed Lumière auditorium.
“I love television and we are experiencing a renaissance right now. It’s what made me want to come back and work again,” she said. Currently, Gellar stars in Paramount+ supernatural teen drama “Wolf Pack.” But for the audience waiting in line for an hour, she still is, and always will be, Buffy Summers.
Full list of awards:
LONG FORM COMPETITION
“Power Play,” Norway
Woo-Sung Jeon, Byeong-Yun Choi and Jae-Min Kwak for “Bargain,” South Korea
Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim, Andrea Louise Horstad, Kristoffer Lo and Eivind Helgerød for “Power Play”
Special Interpretation Award
Dar Zuzovsky for “Corduroy,” Israel
SHORT FORM COMPETITION
Best Short Form Series
“The Left-Handed Son,” Spain
“Draw for Change!,” Belgium
HIGH SCHOOL AND STUDENT AWARDS
High School Award for Best Series
Student Award for Best Short Form Series
“Thin Air,” Canada
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