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German comedy Toni Erdmann has won the film of the year honor voted on by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI).
The film, from director Maren Ade, beat out titles such as Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson and Anomalisa, by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman, for the FIPRESCI Gran Prix 2016.
Ade is the first female director to win the honor, which has been awarded annually since 1999 and gone to such filmmakers as Pedro Almodovar, Michael Haneke, George Miller, Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater and Jean-Luc Godard.
Toni Erdmann stars Sandra Huller as an ambitious businesswoman whose career path is thrown off course when her father, a tireless practical joker (played by German theater star Peter Simonischek) pays her an unannounced visit as his alter ego Toni Erdmann, a wacky “consultant and life coach.”
The film premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was a critical favorite, though it did not win any awards.
“I feel extremely honored to be chosen by the people who have seen the most films over the years,” said Ade in a statement, thanking the critics “for giving Toni Erdmann such a great start in Cannes.”
Sony Pictures Classics picked up Toni Erdmann for North America and Latin America shortly after its Cannes debut. The film will have its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month and is set for a Dec. 25 release in the U.S.
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