Those who love world cinema, beyond the vastness of Hollywood alone, are always eager to learn about the winners at prestigious film festivals. These award shows give a glimpse as to the best of the best when it comes to world cinema, and are a great help to build your watchlist of movies. One such film festival that recently concluded is the Berlin International Film Festival. It is one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals, with a long and rich history attached to it, held annually every February. The 66th Berlin International Film Festival concluded today, and had Meryl Streep presiding over the Jury. Well the winners are out, and the big ones are…
Golden Bear – Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rosi
This is the award given to the best film. This year it was handed to the documentary Fire at Sea by Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi. The documentary has been shot on Italy’s Lampedusa island and showcases the ordeal of migrants making the sea crossing to Europe in harsh conditions, contrasting their lives with the everyday life of the people of Lampedusa. It’s a moving piece of film-making and in Meryl Streep’s own words – It’s a daring hybrid of captured footage and deliberate storytelling that allows us to consider what documentary can do. It is urgent, imaginative and necessary filmmaking.
Silver Bear for Best Director – Mia Hansen-Løve for Things to Come
The French drama movie Things to Come, based on a screenplay by Mia Hansen-Løve herself, got her a Silver Bear for her work as a director. Starring Isabelle Huppert in the lead role, the movie follows the character of a philosophy teacher who soldiers through the death of her mother, getting fired from her job, and dealing with a husband who is leaving her. As the Guardian‘s Henry Barnes summed it – ‘Things to Come’ is a smart, earnest undertaking: an exploration of the insecurity that can hit any of us, at any age, when we start to question the life we’ve built.
Silver Bear for Best Actress – Trine Dyrholm for The Commune
Veteran Danish actress Trine Dyrholm won the Silver Bear for her performance in the Danish movie The Commune directed by Thomas Vinterberg. The movie revolves around a local television newsreader, played by Dyrholm, who is married to a university lecturer, played by Ulrich Thomsen; the couple go ahead with a daring experiment where they invite various friends and professional acquaintances to move in with them in their new gigantic home, but that marks the beginning of the fracturing of their relationship. As Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian puts it – An emotional and intensely focused lead performance from Trine Dyrholm carries this movie.
Silver Bear for Best Actor – Majd Mastoura for Hedi
Actor Majd Mastoura plays the titular character in the Tunisian drama film Hedi for which he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor. The movie is essentially a love story, but the script probes deeper, drawing contradictions between Tunisia of the past and the one now after the uprisings. This contradiction is displayed in the form of Hedi’s personality, a young man with no gumption, who meets a free-spirited woman and is forced to make a choice on how he wants his life to be. As Jay Weissberg of The Variety points out – Tunisian cinema is on a roll this season, and ‘Hedi’ has the maturity to successfully work the arthouse niche internationally.
The complete list of awards can be seen here.