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« 7 Days 'til Oscar: Costume Design | Main | 8 Days 'til Oscar: The Visual Wonders »
Saturday
Feb162013

Berlin Announces Its Winners.

 

Jose here. The Berlin Film Festival came to its end a few hours ago and the big winners came from Romania and Bosnia. Călin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose won the prestigious Golden Bear, while Danis Tanovic's An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker picked up the Jury Grand Prix as well as the Best Actor award for Nazif Mujic.

The winners as selected by the jury headlined by Wong Kar-wai were:

  • Golden Bear: Child's Pose by Călin Peter Netzer
  • Jury Grand Prix: An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker by Danis Tanović

    Tanović's movie has a real life family recreate an event that almost cost them their son's life. Not only does this sound like an interesting project but it also shows a two year trend in the festival where real life people dramatizing events have taken the main prizes. Last year's Golden Bear winner, Caesar Must Die (which is great and just opened in NYC!) had real life inmates put on a Shakespeare play. Tanović has also had a great record with awards, remember his No Man's Land upset Amélie for the Oscar twelve years ago? We might be in the presence of the first Oscar-y movie of 2013...

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in Prince Avalanche

  • Silver Bear for Best Director: David Gordon Green for Prince Avalanche
  • Silver Bear for Best Actress: Paulina García for Gloria

    García keeps on perpetuating the fantastic renaissance of Chilean cinema. Chile is having a great year so far, with No (which just opened in the US) being perhaps the only movie that could give Amour a run for its money in the Oscar race. Incidentally Pablo Larraín, who directed No is listed as a producer for Gloria.
     
  • Silver Bear for Best Actor: Nazif Mujić for An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker

A still from Closed Curtain.

  • Silver Bear for Best Script: Jafar Panahi for Closed Curtain

    Panahi, who is still banned from film making, shot this in his own beach house and once again managed to smuggle the film out of Iran! Just two years ago, his brilliant This Is Not a Film (which was shamefully left out of the Oscar documentary race) caused a commotion in Cannes after it arrived via birthday cake! Is it just me or is Panahi's life much more interesting/politically inspiring than Argo? Sigh.
  • Award for an outstanding artistic contribution: Vic and Flo Saw a Bear by Denis Côté
  • Teddy Award: W imię... by Małgośka Szumowska (the Teddy, an LGBT-focused award, is chosen by an independent jury)

    On an interesting note, the Special Award winner - Vic and Flo Saw a Bear- also features lead characters who are gay, yet the movie wasn't featured in any of the Teddy selections. Makes for an interesting question on how different jury members vote for different things and spread out the wealth.

  • Special Mentions:
    • Promised Land by Gus Van Sant (whatever happened to this movie Stateside?)
    • Layla Fourie by Pia Marais

In recent years, more than ever before, we've seen an overlap of Berlin and Oscar, particularly in the Foreign Language category. Just last year Berlin gave awards to War Witch and A Royal Affair, both of which ended up being nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year. Which of these movies are you dying to see? Have you kept up with Tanovic's work after his Oscar win?

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Reader Comments (7)

Emile Hirsch sure looks like Jack Black.

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

".... Is it just me or is Panahi's life much more interesting/politically inspiring than Argo? Sigh."

Nope, you are not alone. Something about making Tony Mendez the center character always felt amiss and I am sure if we all got a look at Mendez's CIA file, something interesting would have been found that never made it to the screen. Either have it be about John Chambers working with the CIA and just specify this episode (this is a selfish choice because I just want a John Goodman vehicle) or make it about the embassy workers dealing with living in hiding and then having to go along with the CIA (an agency that dropped the ball on Iran and no matter how you slice it were partially to blame for their situation).

People mention Affleck majoring in Middle Eastern studies in college when talking about Argo and it being a smart film but his cultural knowledge of the Iranian film industry has never been brought up- which for a film about that country falling for a fake movie seems odd. I would love to know what he thinks of Panahi, Kiarostami, Farhadi, and the censorship all of them deal with. You would think it would have been a great opportunity and had sealed Affleck's 'good guy' status talking about those artists who, unlike him, do not have the privilege of using FOIA to get a lot of the information he did to make a film. It seems the only zeitgeist-y thing the Argo people talked about were the embassy and consulate protests in September vis a vis the Embassy raid in the film that really has little to do with the film beyond story catalyst. Oddly little if nothing at all about Iranian relations.

And as for Berlinale, I do not want to get too excited but I really want David Gordon Green to return to solid ground with Prince Avalanche.

Promised Land really did come and go. I think people forget that without the Bourne franchises that Damon has really never been that great of a draw and that the film had a distinctly political point of view that was very topical (fracking) that can make critics and audiences go cold even if they agree with the message. GVS is hardly a subtle filmmaker either and when I saw John Krasinski get such a prominent role in addition to a writing credit I couldn't help but think, 'Dang. That's a drop off from Ben. Was Casey unavailable too?'

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Many thanks for the report, Jose! And about that "renaissance of Chilean cinema" that you mentioned, besides this award to Paulina García and the Oscar nomination for "No", don't forget the recent best director award in the World Cinema Competition a few weeks ago at Sundance, to Sebastián Silva (the same filmmaker of "The Maid", also awarded in Sundance and nominated for a Golden Globe) for the chilean film "Crystal Fairy".

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

"We might be in the presence of the first Oscar-y movie of 2013..."

Or we might not. Please. Enough about Ampass.A Bosnian film with an interesting sounding premise and no previous buzz just picked up a major prize at a world-class European film festival. That is a story in itself. Nobody mentioned Ampass. Nobody needed to mention Ampass. We do not need Oscar talk to legitimise every movie-related event every month of the year. Film festivals in themselves are a much more important event. Enough about the damn Oscars already!

Sorry to get hysterical, but exhausted as I am with Oscars 2012 - I'm just not yet psychologically ready to deal with Oscars 2013. In between these two vacuous celebrations of the year's finest achievements in pandering to Academy-voters, I really would like to have some time where people on movie blogs can just talk about movies.

But -- That aside, your report was certainly very much appreciated and it cheers my heart to see the Romanian New Wave (or whatever they may call it) still going strong eight years after Death of Mr Lazarescu. And while it's frustrating that next to nobody saw it fit to review the film before it won a prize, I am very glad that it did, because now I might have a chance to see it. And it features the great Luminita Gheorghiou. Happy times.'

Meantime, back to Tanovic. I saw the film he made after No Man's Land: "Enfer/Hell" starring Emmannuelle Beart back in 2005, and based on a script written by Kieslowski - who wrote it as part of a planned trilogy which also encompassed the script for "Heaven", which Tom Tykwer eventually made with Cate Blanchett.

Anyway - Tanovic's take on Kieslowski felt very anti-Kieslowskian: unsubtle, ponderous, hollowly miserablist, bereft of insight. It's actually the kind of French film that your cousins in the outer suburbs think every French film is like.

But hopefully, on home turf, Tanovic will have returned to form. I'm looking forward to his film, and also to "Gloria", which had very strong reviews and evidently a bravura lead performance.

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Philip -oh wow he does. I don't think Hirsch is aging well.

Goran -- you have a point but it IS Oscar week so it's harder now than ever to not mention it. I'm excited to see Gloria and also glad that the Romanian cinema is still thriving... I probably should have seen more of them but the ones I've seen were strong.

JOel -- and he had a second film at that festival too.

February 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Either have it be about John Chambers working with the CIA and just specify this episode (this is a selfish choice because I just want a John Goodman vehicle) or make it about the embassy workers dealing with living in hiding and then having to go along with the CIA (an agency that dropped the ball on Iran and no matter how you slice it were partially to blame for their situation).

ABSOLUTELY. I remember finding the scenes at the amabassador's place distinctly fascinating and though a terrific black box drama (stage or screen) could have been made out of that.

I'm glad Panahi's presence on the world stage has been magnified. Wish it didn't take house arrest to do it. But everyone, if you haven't, go see Offside. Magnificent movie.

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I would love to see Child's Pose, but it will never open at a theater near me. I'll wait for the DVD in a year... :(

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

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