Breaking long-standing taboos, a comedy poking fun at Jewish life in Germany won the German Film Prize on Friday. The country's equivalent of the Oscars was for the first time awarded by a 600-member academy.
Dani Levy won two 'Lolas' for Best Director and Best Film
The film "Alles auf Zucker" (Go for Zucker) won six "Lola" awards including best film, best director and best actor. The movie breaks new ground in German cinema by taking a light-hearted look at Jewish life in Germany. It chronicles the travails of a German-Jewish gambler played by actor Henry Hübchen.
"I just beat Hitler!" said Hübchen after winning the best actor award ahead of Bruno Ganz, who was nominated for an acclaimed performance as the Nazi dictator in the Oscar-nominated movie "Der Untergang" (Downfall).
"Alles auf Zucker" only cost just 1.5 million euros but has made three times that at the box office. The German Film Prize, sponsored by the German government, are worth a total 2.85 million euros ($3.6 million), making them among the most lucrative film awards worldwide.
It was the first year that the awards were allocated by a new 600-member German Film Academy, modelled on the academy that is responsible for Hollywood's Oscars.
Best actress went to Julia Jentsch for "Sophie Scholl". The only other film with more than one prize was "Rhythm is it!", featuring Sir Simon Rattle, director of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra. It won the best documentary and best editing prizes.
But "Alles auf Zucker" was the night's big winner. The movie eschews political correctness to make fun of the differences between both Jews and gentiles, as well as east and west Germans. "I think this film was a sort of liberation for a lot of people," director Dani Levy told Reuters. "People tell me how relieved they are after seeing the movie about Jews that they are free to laugh about. I'm happy audiences enjoy it."
Though he now lives in Berlin, the 47-year-old Jewish Levy was born in Switzerland after his mother fled the German capital in 1939. Making his film took Levy four years because many in the German film industry were leery of backing a comedy with such topic matter.