China film takes Berlin nod

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"Tuya's Marriage," by Chinese director Wang Quan'an, was the surprise winner of this year's Golden Bear for Best Film at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival.

The Golden and Silver Bears were presented Saturday night at a gala ceremony at the Berlinale Palast.

The story of a Mongolian shepherd forced by encroaching industrialization to abandon the steeps for the city, "Marriage" stars Yu Nan. It was picked from among 22 In Competition films in what most observers called the best Berlinale lineup in years.

Accepting the trophy from jury president Paul Schrader, Wang said he couldn't imagine a better gift for Chinese New Year.

"When I started making films, my teacher said film should show people's dreams," he said. "This film made my dreams come true."

German actress Nina Hoss won the Best Actress Silver Bear for her bravura performance as an East German woman trying to escape unemployment and a violent husband by fleeing to the West in Christian Petzold's well-received "Yella."

"I was sure it was going to go to Marianne Faithfull," said a clearly surprised Hoss, referring to the British pop icon who was widely tipped to win for her performance in "Irina Palm" as a woman who turns to a job in a sex club to pay her grandson's hospital bills.

Another surprise was the Best Actor Silver Bear, which went to Argentina's Julio Chavez for his role in Ariel Rotter's "The Other."

Chavez's subdued performance as a man who takes on a new identity after his father dies and his wife becomes pregnant won over this year's jury, which included actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Willem Dafoe, Hiam Abbass and Mario Adorf, producer Nansun Shi and film editor Molly Malene Stensgaard.
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