Isabel Coixet, the Spanish director of My life without me, Things I never told you, The bookstore And It’s snowing in Benidormwill be honored by the European Film Academy with this year’s European Achievement in World Cinema Award for her life’s work.
Coixet has had an impressive career in what might be called pan-Atlantic cinema, making mostly English-language features with international casts but with a strongly European sensibility. It followed her promising 1989 debut Demasiado viejo para morir joven (which won Best New Director at the Goya Awards in Spain) with the American-shot drama Things I never told you, starring Andrew McCarthy and Lili Taylor. The film premiered in Berlin, a popular base for Coixet, with whom he returned to the German festival in 2003 My life without me, a romantic drama starring Sarah Polley as a young mother diagnosed with terminal cancer who decides to live out her final days with as much passion as possible. The film, which won the German Arthouse Cinema Prize and was nominated twice for the European Film Prize, was Coixet’s international breakthrough.
Coixet teamed up with Polley again The Secret Life of Words, starring Tim Robbins, premiered at the 2005 Venice Film Festival and earned an EFA nomination for Polley, who plays a hearing-impaired factory worker who cares for an injured oil rig worker (Robbins) who has temporarily lost his sight received best actress. The film was a big winner at Spain’s Goya Awards, taking home the awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Coixet’s list of high-profile collaborators is long and includes Penélope Cruz and Ben Kingsley, the stars of her 2008 feature film elegyan adaptation of Phillip Roth’s novella The dying animal; Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne and Rinko Kikuchi in the historical drama Endless night; and Emily Mortimer and Bill Nighy, who star in their 2018 Penelope Fitzgerald adaptation The bookstore.
Coixet recently returned to Spain to film the black-and-white historical drama Elisa & Marcela (2019) for Netflix and the romantic feature One Lovewhich premiered in San Sebastian this year.
Coixet will be honored on December 9th at the 36th European Film Awards in Berlin.