Sex tape satire "Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn", a Luxembourgish co-production, won the 71st Berlin film festival's Golden Bear top prize Friday.
Directed by Radu Jude, the film skewers pandemic-era social hypocrisy, telling the story of a Romanian teacher whose home pornography video winds up on the internet.
Israeli director Nadav Lapid announced the award, saying the movie had the "rare and essential quality of a lasting artwork".
'Bad Luck Banging' was co-produced by Luxembourg's Paul Thiltges Distributions, marking the first victory for a Luxembourg-produced film at the prestigious Berlinale.
The film will be shown at Kinepolis on 10 March as part of the 11th edition of the Luxembourg City Film Festival, and will be available online from 11 March.
It's not the only success for the Grand Duchy's TV and film sector in recent weeks - Luxembourgish crime series Capitani has proved a stunning success on Netflix, recently reaching #1 in five countries.
© Copyright Silviu Ghetie for microFILM / Paul Thiltges Luxembourg
"Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn", part of Romania's vaunted new wave of cinema, makes the case that corruption, pettiness and discrimination are more obscene than graphic sex.
Opening with an extremely real-looking hardcore porn video, it was perhaps the most daring of this year's films in competition.
The clip is taken from a home movie the teacher, Emi, shot with her husband that makes its way from PornHub to the mobile phones of her colleagues, students and their parents.
With disputes over social distancing and mask wearing already jacking up tensions and exposing social divisions, Emi fights to save her job and her reputation.
The showdown reaches a farcical climax The Hollywood Reporter called "worthy of vintage John Waters".
© Silviu Ghetie for microFILM / Paul Thiltges Distributions
"Many of the things that Emi's accused of are things that I was accused of in online comments regarding my previous films," Jude told AFP in a Zoom interview from Bucharest during the festival.
He revamped the premise of the film to incorporate coronavirus, which he said had created more "aggressiveness" in Romanian society.
Rather than push back production, "my take was to do it as soon as possible and adapt to what is around", including casting anti-vaxxers in minor roles and choosing coronavirus masks like "costumes" for his characters.
"I wanted it to feel contemporary and if there's this pandemic going now why not include it in the film," he said.
First gender-neutral acting prize
The Berlinale, which was held entirely online, also awarded its first-ever "gender neutral" best acting prize to Germany's Maren Eggert for her performance in the sci-fi comedy "I'm Your Man".
In the film by "Unorthodox" director Maria Schrader, Eggert is a museum researcher who signs up to test a humanoid robot, played by British actor Dan Stevens from "Downton Abbey", as a romantic partner.
The runner-up best film gong went to Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi whose "Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy" is made up of three stories of women looking for connection in modern Japan.
Maria Speth's German documentary "Mr Bachmann and His Class", about an empathetic teacher on the cusp of retirement who takes his pupils from a range of immigrant backgrounds under his wing, claimed the third-place jury prize.
Hungary's Denes Nagy clinched best director for "Natural Light", a harrowing drama about an atrocity committed by Hungarian soldiers in the Soviet Union during World War II.
Prolific South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo, who won the Berlinale's best director prize last year, was awarded best screenplay for "Introduction" about young lovers and their feuding families which was set partly in Berlin.
The Berlinale jury was made up of six previous Golden Bear winners including last year's laureate, dissident Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, who claimed the prize for "There Is No Evil", about capital punishment.
Five of the members saw the films in person in the German capital in a specially reserved cinema, while Rasoulof watched from Tehran under house arrest.
The festival's organisers hopes to hold a gala awards ceremony in June if pandemic conditions permit.