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« The Razzies Are Coming, The Razzies Are Coming | Main | Interview: Oscar Nominee Arianne Phillips »
Saturday
Feb182012

Leigh, Farhadi, Jake & Jury Name Berlinale Winners

Remember a couple of days ago when we shared the video of Jake Gyllenhaal handing Meryl Streep her Honoary Golden Bear in Berlin for a stellar career? Apparently he's making a habit of handing over Best Actress prizes. Here he is at the closing night ceremony with Best Actress winner Rachel Mwanza.

This 14 year old Congolese actress played a child soldier in a brutal sounding movie called War Witch.

MAIN PRIZES
The jury this year was headed by the brilliant Mike Leigh. The jury included Jake Gyllenhaal, Anton Corbijn, Charlotte Gainsbourg, François Ozon, Boualem Sansal, Barbara Sukowa and last year's Golden Bear recipient Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) who will now presumably have to jump on a Berlin to Los Angeles flight to prepare for the Oscars.

Prizes, Gay Films and a Possible Danish Oscar Submissions after the jump

The winner this year was the Italian documentary Caesar Must Die about a group of maximum security prisoners rehearsing for a performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Golden Bear  Caesar Must Die Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Silver Bear Grand Prize Just The Wind by Bence Fliegauf is about the murder of a gypsy family in a Hungarian village. Another family living in the aftermath of the moblike violence tries to escape.
Silver Bear Best Director Christian Petzold for Barbara, a movie about a female doctor in East Germany in 1980 whose lover in the west tries to help her escape.
Silver Bear Best Actress Rachel Mwanza plays a child soldier in an African civil war drama War Witch.

Folsgaard & Mikkelsen in "A Royal Affair". Danish Oscar submission 2012?

Silver Bear Best Actor Mikkel Boe Folsgaard won for playing an insane Danish king in the 18th century in A Royal Affair but it is top billed Mads Mikkelsen, his physician, who is having the affair. With Folsgaard's queen. I'd watch out for this film as a possibility for Denmark's submission for next year's Oscars. A lavish costume drama with a recognizable star, festival awards, and fine reviews from a country the foreign film committee is already fond of? It has to be a possibility.
Silver Bear Best Screenplay Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg for A Royal Affair
Alfred Bauer Prize Tabu by Miguel Gomes
Special Mention Sister Ursula Meier

Miscellania
Berlinale has a ton of juries and you rarely find them all listed in one place -- even IndieWire skips prizes in their listing. So if you're interested in what films won over the child and teenage juries, a Berlinale tradition, click over. (A here's a large index of all the independent prizes.) It's always been interesting to me that countries outside the US have such a richer tradition of making films for minors than we do. Hollywood makes a lot of movies aimed at kids but few about the experience of childhood or being a teenager really if you stop to think about it. We lack sophisticating enough thinking about childhood and adolescent journies is my guess so our kids movies are usually animated films about anthropomorphic animals or watered down to personality free inoffensiveness. All that said, a film from the USA did win the children's jury over. It's called Arcadia (pictured left) and stars John Hawkes as a father on a road trip to California with his kids.

The winner from the teenage jury was Night of Silence a Turkis film from Reis Celik about an arranged marriage between a very young bride and her much older husband and the blood feud their wedding is supposed to end.

 There are a lot of little mini juries handing out additional prizes. One of the short film winners was a Canadian documentary short called The Man That Got Away  (pictured left) by Trevor Anderson which bills itself as a musical about the director's uncle, who his family almost forgot to tell him about. Another film which kept cropping up in the awardage was Kauwboy from Boudewijn Koole which won Best First Feature.

 The audience prizes, which at most festivals are voted on with those little slips of paper where you check the boxes, like instant-grading. So films with instant impact fare best since you're grading on the spot. The winners were Parada (The Parade) by Srdjan Dragojevic (Serbia, Republic of Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia), Diaz - Don't Clean Up This Blood Daniele Vicari (Italy, Romania, France)
 and Xingu by Cao Hamburger (Brazil)

Teddy Awards
The queer films get a separate jury. I can't say that I approve of their top prize but then maybe it was slim pickings in that category? I saw Keep The Lights On recently here in New York and though I was very pleased to see my girl Paprika Steen in a cameo as the protagonist's sister, the entire film felt very much like a shapeless diary, a series of repetitive events (it's loosely autobiographical from my understanding). You really have to shape your story if addiction is a prime focus because the beats of that particulary subgenre are deathly familiar.

Teddy Feature Keep The Lights On Ira Sachs
Teddy Documentary Call Me Kuchu Malika Zouhall-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright
Teddy Short Film Loxoro Claudia Llosa
Teddy Jury Prize Jaures Vincent Dieutre
Special Teddy Mario Montez and Ulrike Ottinger

Have you ever been to Berlinale? I've always wanted to go.

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Reader Comments (1)

I've never been to the Berlinale, but my sister lives now in Berlin, so I hope one year I will be able to go there. Up til then, I watch at least the opening gala and the award presentaion ceremony on television. They had an interview with Mikkel Boe Folsgaard after he won the Silver Bear; he is still in film/theater school and this was his first movie. Quite a beginning!

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne
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